How to Build a Smart Website:
An Introduction

Spoiler: It starts way before design

Over the next several weeks, we are going to lay out a process that will put you squarely on the road to a high-performing, smart website.

First, it is important to understand our philosophy about smart websites. Because while the technology and analytics are necessary—and they can be an obstacle if you are using outdated or hard-to-use platforms—a smart website, at its core, emerges from the focus and clear strategy of the people behind the site. Technology then follows suit.

We believe that a website is smart when it is a vehicle for your content marketing. The term "content marketing" is jargon, so let me break that down for you.

Content marketing simply means growing an engaged audience that trusts you because you have consistently offering valuable content that enriches their lives in some way. This kind of marketing builds trust and provides a solid foundation for selling your quality product/service with fewer barriers to overcome.

Content marketing is also, in my opinion, the slower but surer way to market. Yes, the payoff takes a little more time. But aren’t the best things in life worked and sweated over? If you want consistent, long-term growth and results, it's the way to go.

Now that we've laid out the philosophy behind Magnified Web's websites, here's a bird's eye view of what matters when building a site.

What goes into a smart website?

To keep this manageable, we have simplified things a bit. But here are the basics:

  • A clear understanding of the target audience that drives messaging.
  • Measurable, time-bound goals for the website.
  • Site development that follows a prescribed process from sitemap to content to wireframe, and finally design.
  • Built over time to best serve the needs and goals of the organization.
  • Imagery that matches the language, tone, and feel of the site.
  • Blog (ideally customized) or some other vehicle for growing and teaching your audience.
  • Readable and easy-on-the-eye with the layout.
  • Built on an easy-to-use content management system (Think: WordPress) that allows for quick, on-the-fly changes.
  • Analytics that give you insight into what works.

We’ll lay all of this, and more, out for you over the next several weeks. Be sure to follow along whether you have a website that isn’t performing as well as it could or if you’re about to tackle the building of a new site.

Tackle this one step at a time

Lest this overwhelm you, please know that we will break this down for you week by week. In fact, maybe you need only focus on two or three of these elements in short bursts over the next couple months. Not everything has to be done at once.

If you want to get our weekly updates directly in your inbox, then subscribe below! We’d love for you to come on this journey with us! We’d especially love feedback from you on what is resonating with you.

Also, feel free to bookmark this page! I’ll be posting a link to the weekly posts below!

A list of posts in this series:


April Mann

April Mann used to be co-owner and Digital Marketing Strategist for Magnified Web. Now she currently works at ESRI as a Web Content Specialist. Get more from April on the Magnified Web blog.

April Mann, Co-owner of Magnified Web
April Mann, Co-owner of Magnified Web

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