“I need a website.”

Most conversations with potential clients start this way.

And when I first started out, I agreed with them and would happily start talking pages, design, plugins etc.

As I've grown my business, I've learned that there is so much more to marketing online than just ‘having a website.'

The days of ‘if you build it, they will come,' are long over. If you want to successfully market yourself online, you need a digital marketing strategy, and your website should be one piece of that strategy.

In my business development mastermind, I learned about the hierarchy of web needs.[1] (Sadly, I didn't learn to spell hierarchy without having to look it up).

Here's a run down of the five levels of website needs.


Level one hierarchy of web needs: a functional site

You've got a site and it's good enough that you're not embarrassed to hand out your business card for fear that people might visit. It loads reasonably fast, has no, or few errors.


Level two hierarchy of web needs: A reliable, well designed, up-to-date site

Your site has an up-to-date design, is mobile friendly and is built on a content management system that makes it easy to update and maintain. Google analytics is installed and you can view the basic traffic data.


Level three hierarchy of web needs: Understand your audience

Your site is optimized based on the needs and priorities of your *customers.* You're adding regular quality content that is relevant to your audience and using that content to capture leads and build an email list you can convert to paying customers.

Once you understand this, it will be immediately obvious when you visit a site, whether it's company focused or customer focused. Consider the following potential headers:




One is clearly focused on their potential customer's biggest pain and immediately telling the viewer how they will solve it.


Level four hierarchy of web needs: Attaction

Now that you have a clear message based on your audience's needs, you can begin to leverage lead magnets, devise a content marketing strategy, leverage paid traffic and develop your social media strategy. A lead magnet offers your visitors something of value in return for permission to communicate with them (list building). Content marketing strategy is thinking not in terms of ‘needing a blog,' but in terms of what valuable information can I share with my audience?


Five levels of the website needs hierarchy
A fully optimized online marketing strategy includes all five levels.

Now you're taking advantage of the foundation you've built to take your marketing to the next level. Everything is tested, measured and then refined to improve conversions. You have clear data and know the ROI your online marketing efforts bring.

What level are you at? Now that you understand the power of online marketing, you can empower yourself to take a step toward the next level.

Get in touch if I can help you move your business forward.

  1. Thanks to Brent Weaver for introducing me to the hierarchy of needs concept. <img role=

Kronda Adair

Kronda is the CEO of Karvel Digital, a digital marketing agency that helps mission-driven service-based business owners how to use content to sell so they can automate their marketing and scale without burnout. She loves empowering small business owners to not be intimidated by all this tech stuff. She's often covered in cats.