As you know, your website is essentially your company’s digital salesperson. If it’s good at its job, growth opportunity is abundant. If not, your website is the equivalent of a white pages listing, the digital equivalent of saying nothing more than ‘I’m here.” Your website is the digital face you show to the public. It unequivocally creates an impression greater than any part of your business other than you personally. If not, your website is most likely hurting your business reputation, credibility, and ultimately, your bottom line.
You’ve made a decision. It’s time to redesign your website. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be alright……maybe.
The designers and engineers at ConstantPLAN created this website redesign workbook for business owners wanting to redesign their websites. This workbook will help you organize your thoughts on every aspect of design but, more importantly, will help you identify what tools you need to incorporate to make your new site convert business.
We encourage you to download the workbook and follow along as you read this article.
What Does Your Website NEED to Do?
One of the most common conversations we have with small business owners about their sites is how they want it to look. Pretty is easy. Frankly, the majority of web designers can make your site look pretty. But your customers and new visitors are coming for a reason and it isn’t to see pretty. Don’t misunderstand. Pretty is important. People will absolutely leave your website if doesn’t look like it belongs in 2016.
Many businesses are not sure what they need their website to accomplish. When you’re investing in a redesign, it’s important to have several end results in mind before engaging a website designer.
So what does website success look like in your business industry?
- …..don’t say more sales
- The phone ringing?
- Greater brand recognition?
- Transfer of information?
The days of using your business website as a broadcast billboard announcing your existence are over. Website visitors are very sophisticated. If your site doesn’t do something for them the likelihood is that they will leave fairly quickly and never return. Website visitors don’t come to read “about us” pages. In most industries you get one shot to make your impression and hopefully, start a conversation. Businesses often squander digital first impressions and do not understand the negative impact these moments can have.
Who is Your Site Visitor?
Once you know what your website needs to do, it’s time to define who your site visitors will be.
As a marketing consultant, it’s baffling to me how many business owners don’t define their clients demographically. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, how on earth do you expect to sell them your services?
What are the three things that make your potential clients look the same? At worst, you should have a broad definition. Are you marketing to men or women? Are you marketing to younger people or older individuals? At best, you can identify a specific segment or even a number of segments that your product/service appeals to, where these people are, and what appeals to them.
So what do your site visitors want to do?
Before you go any further in the process it is important to answer this question. It isn’t important for you to know how to accomplish the task. Web technology changes very quickly. The tools and solutions that help you achieve website success will be known to your development team. Your first conversation with a website developer should be about what the end result needs to be. Keep your eye on this task throughout the development process and you will be pleased with the outcome and will be rewarded with a website that puts your site visitors’ needs first.
Like strategy, planning is all about the specifics.
Pretty is not necessarily effective. A website designer often doesn’t have deep experience in UX/UI (user experience/ user interface). Building a site that is engineered to convert site visitors to new clients requires specific organization and testing.
What is your marketing strategy?
This is one of the most important points to define in the strategy and planning stages. What will your marketing strategy be?
Your website is one tool in your digital marketing footprint. For most consultancy/ trust businesses it will represent a small fraction of your marketing outreach. Mapping out complete buyer paths from first c0ntact to signed contracts is important to understand where in the process your website fits.
If your number-one goal is building an email list your new website will look vastly different than if you are selling a widget.
Design & Build
When initiating the design of your new website, there are a couple of helpful things to keep in mind.
To Outsource, Or Not to Outsource
If you plan to outsource the work planning the perfect website is fairly pointless if that website doesn’t get built. The following strategies can help ensure your designer starts and stays on the same page throughout the process.
- Agree on visual mockups, structural frameworks that account for your buyer persona and the pathways for converting visitors.
- Agree on timelines for completion. Web designers take on as many clients as possible. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If timelines are established and enforced, you will get your project on time.
- Agree on progress check-ins. Ensure that the progress continues to match your expectations. This will ensure that the website development doesn’t run far afield of what is desired.
There are a lot of all-in-one solutions that don’t require outsourcing or design expertise.
Every year, the barriers for entry into web design are lowered. There are many solutions such as Weebly and SquareSpace that help you develop a new website with hardly any expertise. These can be acceptable solutions for some.
Will this give you the finished product you want? Maybe. UI/UX developers and website development providers are successful for a reason. New tools, functions, and conversion solutions come out every day. A developer worth paying will be able to suggest the website functions and tools to make your new website more effective. The one-size-fits-all platforms may not be as up to date on best practices and functional conversion tools.
The best website developers will give you an honest assessment of what your site requires and if an off-the-shelf solution may suit your needs.
Optimize Your Website
This is where the rubber meets the road. After you’ve built your new website the real work begins. There is no way to know what your website visitors think until they begin to use your website’s functions.
Start with the basics. Evaluate how your site performs in the following areas.
- Is your site coded properly for browser indexability?
- Is the navigation leading your visitors to where you need them to go?
- Do you have analytics tools installed and tracking the important metrics?
- Is your site optimized for all devices? Tablets? Cell phones?
It may take a couple of months for enough data to accumulate to get predictive power. Tracking data such as site visits, new visitors, bounce rates, and time on site may be interesting but may not help you to improve your sites design and effectiveness. As we have discussed, websites have different expectations for successful conversion. The metrics of your website success will be unique to you. You may consider it worthwhile to consult with an analytics provider to ensure that you are tracking the data that impacts the success of your website.
Building a high-performing website is not difficult. You just need a few good tools and a commitment to constantly testing and improving what you have.
Want to get started? Click here download the ConstantPLAN website redesign workbook.