Should I redesign my website?
I talk to people all the time who ask this seemingly complex question. Yet, my answer is not complex at all, it is very simple: Is your business getting exactly what you want from your website? If the answer is any derivation of “no,” then a website redesign is in order. I don’t look at the design or the layout or any other aspect of the site, all I want to know, is the site producing the results you need?
Essentially, a website is like an employee, and, I’m sure you agree, that it is important to get the most from your employees. If an employee does not do their job, or meet your expectations, you let them go. A website is no different, if your website is not executing on a list of its expectations, then something needs to be changed. Once the fact that the website is not producing the desired results has been established, then there are a number of factors that must be reviewed in creating a new and effective site, but there is one overwhelmingly important task that must be undertaken, but is often minimized, or completely overlooked.
The key is to clearly enunciate what you want the website to do for you. The absolute first step must be to establish what the focus of the website is, and allow that to be the nucleus, and everything must grow from there. I see people creating content, taking pictures of staff, and laying out their new sites without even a whiff of consideration going to the point of the site itself. If this sounds like you, STOP! Gather the individuals in your company who are working on the site, along with any other personnel that are key to the new site, and begin to formulate the goals of your new website.
Start by asking these questions:
1. What is the purpose of the site?
Yes, this is a broad, open-ended question, but consider what would be the ultimate return on the investment on your new site. Do you want to sell more products? Do you have products that you want to sell, but your current site does not get this done? Do you want to convert more visitors to qualified-leads? From this point, spend time creating a specific listing of what you would like the site to accomplish. You will be amazed at how you will probably find that your layout completely changes as your goals for the site come into focus. This is the genesis of a goal driven website, instead of a site thrown online that acts as a static, one-dimensional advertisement for your company.
2. Where is your current site falling short?
As you list your goals for your redesigned website, you will, undoubtedly, begin to see how your current site is falling short. At this point, if you’re not already using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, I urge you to do so—especially before you put up your new site. This will allow you to see how many hits you are getting on your site, what pages are popular and which are not. Also, Google Analytics will give you a “Bounce” number, that indicates the percentage of people that land on your site, and don’t venture any deeper than the page they landed on. Often on poorly designed and ineffective sites this number is very high (above 65%). Using these metrics, you will quickly get a clearer picture of your site’s weaknesses, and you can design accordingly.
3. Who are you talking to?
Having a very clear understanding of who your site visitors are, and speaking directly to them is extremely important. Therefore, while you are creating a list of what you want to accomplish with your site, create an additional list that breaks down who will be landing on your site and what, at the moment they land on your site, you can do to “Silo” them to an interior page that is developed just for their immediate need. What must be remembered here is that focusing your site on your visitors, and who they are is the key to developing a productive website. Don’t’ worry about who you are nearly as much as who THEY are! By listing and breaking down your potential customers into “Buying Personas” will give you the ability to create interior pages that will then properly convert those individuals to highly qualified leads, and ultimately customers.
Some conclusions and steps to follow
Almost all first generation websites, that do little to speak to a company’s buying personas, fail to focus on converting a website’s visitors into qualified leads. Unfortunately, the focus of these websites is to enunciate how they are the solution to your problem and act just as an advertisement. Before undertaking a website redesign, be sure you have a clear understanding on what you are attempting to accomplish with your new site or you will fall into this trap again.
If you are redesigning your site be sure to:
• Clearly enunciate the purposes of your new site.
• Know the weaknesses of your old site.
• List your businesses “Buying Personas.”
• Silo those buying personas from the homepage to interior pages built just for them.
• Create “Calls to Action” on these interior pages to make it easy to convert Visitors to Qualified Leads.
• Use detailed Forms that capture more than just basic information (it makes you look engaged).
• Be sure to add a Blog to your website as it will dramatically help with your SEO and drive more traffic.
For a lot more on website redesign check out our recent post Redesigning Your Company Website? Don’t Forget These 10 Key Aspects
I hope this little bit has helped, please feel welcome to post a comment or question!
Preston Ehrler, Webvantix