A high-quality website is at the heart of any successful web marketing campaign. It’s where you will be directing customers through social media channels, pay per click ads, and other methods of inbound marketing. If your site is clunky, slow, dated, or uninformative, those customers will quickly look elsewhere for the services they need. These potential customers don’t want to have to dig for the information they’re looking for or try to figure out how to navigate a confusing web layout—and they don’t have to, since your competitors are willing to meet those needs if your site can’t. Quite simply, if your website isn’t professional, modern, and efficient, customers will assume that your company isn’t, either. So: how long has it been since your last website redesign project? If the answer is years, you could be losing business.
Redesigning your website does take time, and it is an investment. If you haven’t worked with a web developer before, you might have some initial sticker shock over the cost of a total redesign. However, it’s worth stepping back and understanding the value that a great website will have for the future of your business, as well as the work that goes into creating a website that will stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Start by considering how many people will visit your website and the importance of a professional website. A small website can get upwards of 12,000 visitors per year. By contrast, only about 2,000 people might walk into your brick-and-mortar store. That extra exposure can increase your brand visibility 5 times over. As website clicks increase, so does your brand’s reach. Redesigning your website allows you to maximize that traffic.
Next, consider the way you browse the web. If you’re like most people, you access an enormous amount of web content via your mobile device. To be competitive, a modern website has to work seamlessly on both computers and mobile platforms, so that customers can use it wherever and whenever they choose. Although building a mobile-friendly site can make the design process more challenging, it’s a non-negotiable part of doing business, not to mention a smart investment in your brand recognition.
The time investment required for in the website redesign process can be as much of a concern as the price for many businesses, and it’s true: a full redesign won’t happen overnight. However, the few months spent building a truly efficient website that drives business and builds your brand can pay off quickly once your site is live and the leads start pouring in.
Now that you understand why investing in a website redesign is worthwhile, let’s take a closer look at the process, so you know what to expect.
Step 1: Assess Your Current Website
Taking stock of the current state of your site and your traffic is essential, so you know what is working and what can be improved. During your assessment, answer questions like these:
- Who is visiting your website? (Consider: gender, age, mobile vs. desktop users, geographic location)
- Which pages are being viewed the most? The least?
- Which pages do people frequently navigate away from?
- Which browser is used most often to view your site?
- Is your site currently ranking in organic search? If so, what for?
- How much traffic is your site getting?
- How many leads and conversions are the site generating?
- What are your conversion and bounce rates?
Most of these questions require site analytics tools to answer, and if you aren’t familiar with how to use them, that’s all the more reason to hire a reputable website redesign company to take on your project. Even if you do use analytics tools yourself, it can help to get professional insight on the numbers so that you know exactly where your website could be performing better.
Step 2: Identify Your Future Goals
A new website needs more than a pretty face. Defining the specific goals you want to achieve with your redesign will give your project focus and ensure the new site aligns with your company’s strategies. List the main goals for your website, such as:
- How much new site traffic you’d like to see
- What type of visitors you want to target
- What type of conversions you want to see
- Which keywords you want to rank for
It’s OK for your goals to evolve as your redesign progresses, but anchoring your plan with tangible goals will help you maximize the benefits of your new site launch. At this stage, you need buy-in from the leadership team at your business. Get them engaged in identifying goals and performance indicators, so that you have clarity about the process from the beginning.
Step 3: Create Your Strategy
After you outline your goals, it’s time to do some research to back them up and create your strategy. Keyword research is going to be an essential step in this phase, because you want to know which keywords you can feasibly rank for while still aligning your keywords with your services. Through this research, you may find an unexpected keyword space you can dominate in your industry that can guide your web strategy.
In addition, you might do a little research on your own to explore new web design trends and features, so you can make your website more advanced and functional, as well as unique. Your developer can walk you through some modern tools too, but it’s helpful to build a little background knowledge for yourself, so you can create a clearer vision for what your website will actually look like.
Another critical step in your strategy development is listing pages that should be live at launch and which pages can have more time for development. During the assessment of your site, you likely discovered which pages people visited the most. These pages—or at least the information on these pages, even if it is formatted in a different way—should be available when your site goes live.
When building your strategy, don’t forget to look at your competitors’ sites to see what they are doing well, and what you can improve upon.
Step 4: List Your Needs
Now it’s time to decide if you need elements beyond your website to support your branding efforts. For example, you may be looking at rolling out a new logo with your site or creating an entirely new brand that you’re launching alongside the site. You should also consider website integrations that you may want, such as social media widgets, customer relationship management (CRM) integrations, etc.
During this stage, it’s also helpful to simply assemble the pieces you need for the site. For example, do you need photos of your team members? Arrange a photo shoot. Do you need copywriting or graphic design help? Draw up a list and create a plan to get those elements ready.
Step 5: Implement an Action Plan
Notice there are four steps that happen before anything is produced for your website. Now it’s time to actually plan how your website redesign will go.
Many companies make a critical error when creating an action plan: they try to prioritize everything. When everything is a priority, nothing gets done. The project becomes unwieldy and the end result becomes too difficult to test and analyze effectively, so it’s impossible to make tweaks as you go.
We recommend overcoming this problem by using Growth Driven Design (GDD) in your website redesign rather than the traditional process. GDD works in phases after a launchpad site is created, allowing the site to be built upon over time. This has several advantages. First, your site will be live much sooner than if you try to develop everything before launching. Second, it helps align marketing efforts, because you can roll out phases of a marketing campaign based on when new pages of the site go live after the initial launchpad release. In addition, you will be planning for a continuous process of improvement, so you won’t wind up in the same position you’re in now within a few years. In other words, you will avoid making a huge investment in a new site that only ends up becoming obsolete within a short window of time.
With your action plan, you should note which features and pages have the most urgency, and which should come before others. This will give you a clearer production timeline and reduce the potential time-crunch of trying to get everything ready for your site before a big launch date. Instead, you’ll have several dates where improvements are rolled out, launching your top, mid, and lowest priority pages in a logical order.
Step 6: Create Your Framework
If you are using the GDD method, your primary framework focus should be your launchpad website. This will be a small site with only a few key pages, but it will be the basis for continued future growth. It will establish the framework of your site design, sort of like the scaffolding of a building.
From this scaffolding position, you can pick the parts you like about your design and pinpoint changes you’d like to make. The structure will come together organically, so the entire site works together in a way that is logical and visually appealing. Making tweaks during this stage is much easier than building an entire site and then deciding you want to burn the whole thing down and start again because you don’t like it.
Step 7: Launch Your New Site
Launch day is thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time. You can manage the process by doing quality assurance testing at this stage to see if everything is working as it should. Your QA testing will flag issues early, so you don’t discover a dead link or failing submission form months down the line, when the leads are long gone.
Fortunately, with a GDD approach to web design, uncovering an error at this stage isn’t the end of the world. The multi-stage process of building, adding, and improving is ongoing, so one problem doesn’t set back the timeline for your entire site.
Step 8: Continue to Improve
GDD necessitates a process of planning, building, and learning that will continue to drive the development of your site. This efficient process maximizes the returns you get from your site, ensures you’re on track to meet your goals, and prevents premature aging of your design. Improvements continue through a series of strategies aimed at continuing to build upon your site’s successes.
The first step in improving is learning what your customers are responding to on your site. Pick a few performance metrics, such as lead generation, and then hypothesize about some concrete strategies that could help you improve those metrics. Set a performance goal and implement your hypothesized strategies. For example, if you want to improve conversions, you may hypothesize that changing the language on your site to be more action-oriented will deliver better results.
You can test your hypotheses by using split testing. Using the example above, did changing the language on your site increase your conversion rate and help you reach your metrics goal? By analyzing the data from your split testing, you can learn what design and language resonates with your users. There’s no limit on how often you can use this process to refine your website and build upon your successes. Through these strategies, we’ve seen companies take their conversion rates from industry standards all the way up to 20%. Although 20% conversion is a bit of a unicorn, companies can easily stop settling for average and start seeing meaningful movement in their metrics.
The knowledge you glean from split testing and analyzing your website data isn’t just useful in building your digital presence. Share what you’ve learned with other departments in your company. You can use this knowledge not just to build a better site, but also to build a better business.
Is your business ready for a website action plan? We can help! Nuanced Media is a premier web design agency, and our team is on standby to guide you through a website redesign that meets your business’ goals. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to hear more from our team, or contact us today for more information.