How do you go about finding a good Web strategist? There are certain things to look for in order to insure you don’t hire a lemon. A Web strategist is first and foremost acquainted with Internet marketing. Therefore, a good “Web Strategist” is likely also a good “Web Marketing Strategist.”
Most good Web strategists specialize in a certain niche of the Internet industry and they are also proficient in areas that are related to that niche. For example, they may specialize in Web design and also be familiar with marketing and programming. With experience, this combination of skills contributes to their ability to provide you with a good strategy for the Web. Or perhaps they specialize in programming and also have skills in design and marketing. This is also a combination that could provide you with a good strategy for the Web. But I believe you will find that the best Web strategists are specialized in marketing and then are also proficient in design and programming. I think that those equipped this way offer the best combination for a true Web Strategist, as Web Strategies are ultimately about how to make more money online. Keep in mind that there are three main areas which are Programming, Design and Marketing. Beware of anyone claiming expertise in all three areas as there really is not enough time in a career to master all three. It is better to find someone who admits they are a master of one of these fields with a good understanding of the other two fields. They are probably telling the truth, whereas the consultant who claims to be an expert in all three fields is likely more concerned with getting money from you that they are with helping you make more money.
Regardless of what the strategist specializes in they should ultimately be proficient and have experience/training/toolsets geared toward the following: search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) such as Adwords and Facebook Advertising, HTML, CSS, operation of a WYSIWYG web editor, site usability, conversion metrics, Web analytics, graphics and design, information architecture (IA), social media setup/integration/promotion, especially with social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn, submissions and link building, social networking in groups and forums, news, blogging, search marketing best practices and clearly know the difference between white-hat and black-hat promotion techniques. A good Web strategist knows how each of these matters work and more importantly is how these all work together for success.
If you properly vet them before you hire them don’t worry about the price, just know it is not cheap, as putting all these together in the right way is no easy task and is certainly worth more that you’d hope to pay for, that is, when it is done right. I’d like to wrap this post up with a quote from Ayn Rand: “If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, just wait until you’ve hired an amateur.”
Good luck in your quest to find a great Web strategist to work with you. Once you do, you’ll know it for certain.