6 Things To Think About Before Doing A Website Redesign

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Maybe you’re not getting enough leads, maybe it’s outdated, doesn’t match your brand or what you stand for, your business has evolved, or maybe it IS generating leads, just not the right ones and not quickly enough.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.

 

Bonus!

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.


Website ‘not secure’? Here’s how to deal with it

Google Chrome browser update (version 68) bought about a new ‘not secure’ warning in the URL address bar. Essentially, this warning is shown wherever you visit an insecure web page. It signifies a lack of security for the connection to that web page - it’s telling you that info sent and received with that web page is unprotected and you run the risk that it could be modified, read and/or stolen.

The ‘not secure’ warning appears on all web pages using the HTTP protocol and where a secure connection is not possible. It does not mean that the website is affected by malware.

Websites have been transitioning to HTTPS (note the S) which is used by millions and millions of websites and does provide security to protect your data while you browse, log on and make online purchases.

If you do see the ‘not secure’ warning on a webpage you own provided over HTTP we suggest enabling the HTTPS protocol for your website. What is it? HTTPS used the SSL/TLS to offer a secure connection which is authenticated and encrypted. You can use this protocol by purchasing an SSL certificate which you then install to enable it on your web server.

We suggest starting out by assessing if your site currently has any support for HTTPS - some have partial support. If partial support exists look into how to deploy HTTPS across your entire website (or by default).

If HTTPS is not deployed at all get assistance about the SSL certificate you will need - this will depend on the number of domain names you operate and other issues such as if your business needs to be validated for additional user trust.

As all the big web browser players - Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Google Chrome move to a user interface that will warn website visitors of insecure web pages it’s important to more to HTTPS - for security and a better user experience.

To get assistance on HTTPS protocol for your website just contact the Digibrand team today.


Google rolls out Mobile First Index

While we’ve been warned since 2016 about this, finally Google is rolling out its Mobile First Index.

What is Mobile First Index?

Mobile-first indexing means Google will use the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking in order to assist primary mobile users find what they are searching for online.

Primary mobile refers to the fact that the majority of people using Google search as doing so from a mobile device. Essentially, soon there will be only one index for search result - so not a mobile-first index and a main index - so Google will begin to look only at the mobile web pages to index the web rather than the desktop version.

What does this mean for websites? Well, you now must have a mobile friendly or mobile responsive website in order to be indexing and ranked by Google.

What is responsive design?

Simply put, it is when a website is responsive - so the layout and/or contents of your website respond or adapt based on the size of the screen on which they are presented. Typically there are four general screen sizes that responsive design are aimed at - widescreen desktop monitor, the smaller or laptop screen, the tablet and the smartphone.

How is this different from adaptive design?

There are three main techniques for serving up mobile content - responsive design, adaptive design (which is also known as dynamic serving) and separate mobile URLs. It’s pretty easy to identify separate mobile URLs by looking at your browser’s address bar however telling adaptive from responsive can be a little trickier.

Adaptive websites detect when the reader is on a mobile device and presents a different HTML accordingly.

Responsive websites will change the layout based on browser window size, regardless of device.

If you’re not sure if your website is adaptive or responsive then you can visit your website on a desktop and see what happens when you resize your browser window. Then you can check and see what is displayed on your mobile device.

When getting your website ready for the mobile first index, here’s a checklist for you:

Refine your visuals

Creativity is great, but don’t try to be super creative and use all the design principles at once. When a user sees too many objects of differing colours and styles on a tiny mobile screen, it can make their head spin. In other words, they simply leave your site. Quality design is never loud. It’s sensible, and it guides the user through your site. Minimalism is the key to a great mobile site.

Reduce redundant content

Though the screen sizes of mobile devices have grown larger, they’re still smaller than laptop or desktop screens. It’s important not to crowd a small screen. The fewer the text and visual elements on a mobile site, the easier it is to navigate.

This is especially important for people on the go — while shopping or glancing at a screen while on the train commute.

Be thumb friendly

What’s the most important action that a user can take on your site? Is it making a purchase? Or liking a post? Or reading a specific text? Make sure that this action can be accomplished with only a thumb.

To accommodate more information on a small screen, some designers mash links and buttons right up against each other. Unfortunately, this often leads to unintended button presses and frustrates your users!

Prioritise and make your most important call to action buttons large enough so that users can click on them without zooming and having to use their pinky.

Speed things up

Mobile users care a lot about a website’s load speed. They get irritated if your pages take more than a few seconds to open. When designing for mobile, keep in mind that some users may have slow internet connections.

Quite often a page’s speed is held back by data-intensive image or video content. Optimising your images will vastly improve your page load time.


Local SEO - how to rank for local searches, SEO basics and tips

If you are a local business and you want to be noticed, not just in person, but in search engines too, then you need to understand Local SEO. Without utilising a Local SEO plan you simply won’t be able to take advantage of local, online demand for your services and product.

What exactly is Local SEO?

It’s a branch of Search Engine Optimisation that specifically deals with SEO for local businesses. And, an effective Local SEO campaign will help your business to appear on page 1 of Google searches - in the Map Pack and Organic Listings.

20 years ago SEO was simple - there really wasn’t much difference between general SEO and Local SEO but times have changed. Now, there are all nuances the exactly and exclusively affect your Local SEO.

If you’re not leveraging Local SEO just imagine all the traffic and potential customers you could be missing out on. And this is why Local SEO is so important - you want locals to be able to find you online, in search results, on Google.

Local SEO isn’t a fad - it’s only set to become more important with the expected, continued rise in mobile device usage.

Now while Local SEO might seem a bit techy, a bit overwhelming it is almost always cheaper and more effective than traditional marketing. And in all honesty - it’s really not that techy at all.

Benefits of Local SEO over traditional marketing:

  • Everything with a Local SEO campaign is trackable - you’ll know exactly what is and isn’t working
  • It requires a lower level of investment to set up and continues to yield returns
  • You can track how much traffic, leads and customers are coming from Local SEO and organic searches

So, how do you get started with Local SEO?

Find the keywords you want to target and rank for - local and longtail keywords

  • Create a unique landing page for each product or service you offer.
  • Write original content that answers people’s questions and links back to your core sales pages.
  • Avoid being spammy and don’t “stuff” your keywords in a repetitive manner all over a page. Google understands synonyms, so vary your language naturally.

Use your keywords for effective onsite optimisation

  • Use keywords in URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, headers and paragraphs (especially the first paragraph).

Proactively work on link building

  • Take advantage of all free social media listings, even if you don’t plan to use that specific platform. Your business should links from the following at the very least: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest.
  • Reach out to other blogs/sites for guest posting.
  • Have you received any media mentions? Make sure other sites link to yours wherever your brand is mentioned.
  • Create accurate, up-to-date info on business directing listings, and be sure to include a link to your website.

Get your Google My Business page up to date and ask for Google reviews

  • Verify your Google My Business page, if you haven’t already.
  • Make sure your Google My Business page contains accurate information. Your business name, address, phone number, main email, hours and website should be standard across the web.

Create, post, and promote unique, high-quality, original content

  • Write good quality content and keep publishing it on a fairly regular basis (at least once per month, but ideally more). Don’t bother just writing filler.
  • All else being equal, a higher word count is better for SEO, so write the most authoritative blog post you can on any topic you’re covering.

Use website analytics to measure your results

  • Make use of free tools like Google Search Console so you can easily tell where you stand and where you can improve.

Have a snappy and mobile responsive website that loads quickly

  • Think Mobile First, Not Just Mobile-Friendly - more than half of all daily Google searches are performed on mobile. That means you can’t afford to neglect the mobile version of your site – in fact, it ought to be a priority.