You might have several reasons for considering a website redesign. Perhaps you have a new product or service you wish to promote, perhaps your audience needs and desires have evolved or perhaps your brand or business has simply outgrown the current format. Whatever the reason, there are some basic considerations to think about before you go diving in and that’s what we are going to cover today.
Firstly, if you are considering a website redesign it’s a great time to look broadly not only at your website, but your brand and business too. Too many business owners settle for having a website that does little more than function as an online sales brochure and are missing the mark when it comes to their websites full potential to support their business.
Take a moment to look at your own website. Can you say it sufficiently supports your business and where you want to be heading?
When done correctly, a website redesign can accomplish a few things. Not only will it make your site more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, it can build trust, credibility and become the lead generating machine you need it to be, improving your overall marketing and bottom line as a result.
With proper planning, research, and a little foresight, you can help make your next redesign a huge success – and not to mention, a lot less stressful. If you put in the necessary time and effort to answer think about these things now, you’ll not only save yourself time and money, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition too.
Here are the things you should consider before moving forward with a website redesign.
1 | What has prompted your website redesign?
For a redesign project to be truly successful, you’ll need a solid understanding of why you’re doing a website redesign in the first place (and for whom, but more on this later).
Maybe you’re not getting enough leads, maybe it’s outdated, doesn’t match your brand or what you stand for, your business has evolved, or maybe it IS generating leads, just not the right ones and not quickly enough. Dont be alarmed, this is a good thing!
The reason it is important to identify the shortcomings of the existing site (and why it might not be performing to your expectations), is to ensure you make the changes which will fix that when you rebuild it. Without this, you will only be masking the problem – just with a shiny new look and slightly updated content.
2 | What are your business goals?
Whilst an outdated appearance and content tend to be the more common motivators for a website redesign, it’s important to identify and set clear business goals for your website and communicate these goals to the team building your website. These goals should drive the design and structure of your entire website.
Here are some examples:
- Increase brand reputation and awareness in local area
- Increase sales by 15% in the next year
- Sell 10x product each quarter
- Upsell clients from X product/service to X product/service to create $X additional revenue
- Build passive income stream from X service
- Sign up X new clients at a rate of $X
At the end of the day, your website is one of the most important pieces of your brand collateral and serves a specific purpose to your overall business strategy. It should therefore be designed and developed in a way that is helping you to get there.
3 | Who are your users?
User-centered design is no longer an afterthought, it should be the driving force to your design brief. You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but if it isn’t meeting the needs of your users, then you will have missed the mark completely.
Ask questions like:
- Who is your primary audiences?
- Why and how are they coming to our website?
- What keywords are they using?
- What information are they looking for?
- How do your products or services help to solve the problem your customers have?
- What do they seem to be struggling with on your site?
Getting a grasp on who your web visitors are, their reasons for visiting and what information they are looking for or task they are hoping to achieve can greatly affect the success of your website. Afterall, they are who you create your products and services for in the first place, right?
If there’s a disconnect between how your site is designed and what resonates with your customers, hands down it’s going to be a conversion killer.
4 | Audit your current site
A website redesign is the perfect opportunity to review both your content approach and user experience. An intuitive website with good content is what visitors want, not generic information which can be found on other websites (like your competitors!). By understanding what the user is looking for, what questions they need answered, and how they’ll look for it on your website is the only way to really set yourself up for success.
Start by looking under the hood. Go through your Google Analytics and find out what pages are the most popular, what pages have the highest bounce rates, what pages are being viewed on desktop vs mobile (are your pages designed/optimised for mobile?), what sources are bringing in the most traffic, what keywords are being used or searched for onsite.
Behavior flows are also a great report to provide insight on how website visitors are moving through your site. This data can help point out any common paths to product or service information, as well as any roadblocks. Knowing this can help you open up those roadblocks, or make typical user journeys easier to follow by bringing them to the forefront.
Gathering this data will give you a greater insight into how your audience is using your site, what content is most popular, what might be missing and what can be repurposed, refreshed or what needs to be created from scratch. Remember this – content is what converts, the design should help with the process of converting.
Don’t just take your own word for it either. Recruit some of your peers – friends, family, co-workers, industry peers or perhaps one or two of your key customers of whom you value their input. A fresh set of eyes can do wonders to testing out your user journeys and spotting any potential issues or deadends.
Tip! It’s also a good idea when conducting a site audit to also review your competition for inspiration and to get a view of industry best practices. Understand how your site is stacking up in terms of messaging, structure, visual design, and functionality. Are they doing anything better than you are currently? Or is there anything your site is lacking and you could do better? Taking stock of what is currently in the market will help you ensure your new site will really stand out.
5 | How will my site generate leads
The number one goal you should have for your website is to generate new leads for your business, otherwise what is the point in investing a big chunk of money? Start considering different ways in which your site can help you increase leads or at least improve the quality of these leads, close more deals or get more ROI out of your marketing efforts.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What is one piece of free valuable content you can offer to your potential prospects? This makes for a great Top of Funnel awareness piece that you might promote via a downloadable ebook to capture leads with an initial offer.
- Where do your prospects currently struggle in the sales process? Are there questions you can answer up front that might speed up the sales cycle?
- How many CTA’s need to be on each page? Depending on the length of the sales page, you might strategically position different CTA’s around the page (remember to test and refine).
- Are you selling physical products or virtual downloads? How are they being delivered?
- What information do you need from your customers to qualify a lead?
- How will people continue to follow your business after leaving your site?
- Do you have a content strategy in place that reflects the positioning of your business?
- How will you continuously drive new traffic to your website?
Social media is now a critical part of your marketing. Thinking about your traffic sources should be a vital part of your launch strategy. In the words of Sabri Suby “We’re living in an age where you can have access to millions of prospects within hours”. And it’s absolutely true. Google and Facebook have paved the way for us to have access to millions of online users in the matters of minutes. And the best part? Compared to traditional advertising you can put your best foot forward for a fraction of the price (and measure the ROI!).
Side Note… if you’ve not read Sabri Suby’s book ‘Sell like crazy’ add it to your list. NOW!
Above all, remember to make it easy to convert the customer’s interests in to leads. Create a clear conversion path, with an appropriate call to action and/or information that will lead them closer to the sale. Another tactic you can try is to look at the top performing pages (as found in your site audit) and add forms to the pages that are generating the most traffic.
6 | What does your site require
Last but not least, if you are embarking on a redesign/rebuild now is the time you should be planning for the features and functions that are going to best support the tasks you need your site to perform.
Start by brainstorming a features and functions wishlist. Take note next time you are browsing or visiting a website for information on a problem you are experiencing. Competitors are also a good source to check out, have they got anything in place that you could implement and improve upon?
Features and functions may include:
- Online shopping capability if selling a product or complementary service is part of your future
- Video and Audio (think explainer videos or podcasts)
- Membership capability to restrict content to subscriber levels or paying members
- Downloadable resources
- Surveys if you wish to find out more about your audience
- Online forms perhaps you have a paper based application form you could build online
- Calculators or industry tools
- CRM or other third party software integration (accounting, quoting, POS)
- Case studies or portfolio area to showcase your work
- Blog or News area
- Hosting provider or packages
Once you have your wish list, you may want to use this handy tool to prioritise based on the value the feature or function will add to the overall experience, versus the cost to implement. Your web team should be able to assist you with this.
When briefing your team on a website redesign, be sure to include the following requirements as a mandatory.
- Responsive Design – Ensure your website is responsive across all devices. With mobile’s increasing role in the decision making process, it is essential that your website be mobile-friendly so prospects can browse or find information regardless if they are on a mobile, tablet or desktop. Google will also thank you for it by using the mobile version of your website for ranking and indexing.
- Optimise for SEO – There are many ways to optimise your site for SEO during a website redesign however consider the following as your key foundations.
Well-written page titles, meta descriptions, and permalinks for all of your content
Design content for readability and include headers and subheaders
Target the right keywords on all your pages
Check site loading times and make them as minimal as possible
Ensure 301 redirects on any page URL’s that have changed with the content restructure
- Google Analytics – Install (or transfer your existing) Google Analytics account in order to continue with performance reviews. Take note of your pre-site audit and conduct another in 3 months time to see if there are any improvements or actions.
- Adopt Conversion Optimisation Tactics – Use powerful headlines to wrap your sales pitch in one sentence. Ensure your website is set up to be able to edit and test your headlines and CTA’s. Simplify your navigation so it is easier for people to use your website. The simpler it is, the more likely they will go on to become leads. For more on this, read our post on Web Design Tips to Boost Conversions and User Experience.
- Share the love – Collate and request reviews and testimonials from previous clients and showcase these around your site as a form of social proof.
Remember, your website is the one tool that will work for your business 24 hours a day, every day of the week (and year!). Even when your store or business is closed, your website is open and able to take enquiries from potential prospects and customers. It’s your 24/7 workhorse, your marketing and sales force, your best brand representative, your customer service team and THIS is what you should think of it as.
If you need guidance on the journey to a website redesign or help on using any of the provided templates, get in touch with the team at Digibrand today.