When redesigning a website, it’s easy to get lost in aesthetic minutiae. That’s all fine and well if you have the time, but you can easily lose sight of larger strategic goals if you’re not careful. Site redesigns present a huge opportunity to reposition your brand and increase leads and revenue. Following these simple steps can help you along the way:
Ask yourself: Why are you re-designing your website? If your answer is, “Because it needs a facelift,” dig deeper! The visual design of a website should support a deeper purpose: driving and shaping user behavior, generating leads, helping to grow your business… Figure out what you most want to achieve and don’t lose sight of that goal. Set 3-5 goals for your website redesign, develop a plan to deliver on those goals and commit to not getting lost in design minutiae. If you can accomplish just that you’ll be miles ahead of many of your competitors.
Consider your Audience
It’s not what you (or your CEO) like – it’s what resonates with your audience! This applies to the overall look and feel of the site as well as to the tone of the copy. Start by developing buyer personas for each type of user that will visit your site. Research the style of design, the language and the unique offers that your audience will relate to and structure your site accordingly. Crafting your site with its target audience in mind will increase time-on-site, drive user engagement and generate meaningful website conversions.
Unfortunately, every link can’t be on the top nav bar and every piece of content can’t be on the homepage. For this reason, it’s important to develop a sitemap with a clear content hierarchy.
Begin by creating a list of all the content you’d like to have on your website. Get all of your ideas on paper before you begin organizing it. Next, group together like items and assign them a name (for example, “Company History”, “Mission”, “Team” and “Careers” might get grouped logically under the name, “Company” or “About Us”). For larger groups, consider creating internal hierarchies with secondary and tertiary sub-groups. When you’re done, give yourself a pat on the back: you now have a working sitemap.
Once you know who your audience is and have figured out how to get their attention, you’ll want to encourage them to take action! That’s where Calls-to-Action (otherwise known as CTAs) come into play. Common CTAs encourage users to “Follow,” “Join,” “Download,” “Request Info,” or “Buy Now.” A good CTA will move potential customers further along in the buyer’s journey. With that in mind, place CTAs strategically throughout the site: encourage new audience members to dig deeper into the site and better educate themselves. Once they’ve done this, nudge them towards a deeper interaction via phone or chat, and finally towards making a purchase. Throughout the process, encourage your audience to submit their contact information via web form or email so that you have the ability to take a more proactive role in directing their buyer’s journey.
P.S. You’ll want to track the success of your CTAs, as well as your overall marketing strategy, using tools like Google Analytics. We’ll have more on the ins-and-outs of Google Analytics in a forthcoming blog post.
The load time of a web page now plays an important part in Google’s ranking algorithm. So, if you want your website to rank higher in Google, make it load faster! Carefully place and optimize images and videos, as these data-heavy elements can slow down your page load time. Google has a nifty tool called Google PageSpeed Insights that tests your site and generates suggestions to make it faster.
With mobile devices accounting for more web traffic than desktop computers, a mobile-optimized site is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity! Most websites nowadays are “responsive,” which means they are designed to display correctly on a wide range of devices, including desktops, tablets and smartphones. However, many site owners neglect to test their site on devices other than what they most commonly use. Desktop users often neglect to test their site on smartphones and vice versa. Don’t make this mistake. Take the time to test on as many devices as possible.
If you want more traffic, leads or sales from your website, then plan to do some search engine optimization, or “SEO”. Be sure to research the most popular keyword phrases in your industry and structure your web pages around those keywords. Your selected keyword phrases should be used in page titles, meta descriptions, headers, hyperlinks and website copy. Consider using a long-tail SEO strategy to rank for highly targeted keyphrases.
Now that you’ve created remarkable content, you’ll want people to share it. If you blog or tweet, you can install a website plug-in to show your latest blogs or tweets right on your homepage. Also, be sure to have a sharing widget (such as ShareThis) above or alongside your articles. There are dozens of great plug-ins to help users like, re-tweet and share your content.
Developing a new website is about a lot more than the site’s visual design. By employing a strategic website design strategy using the tactics listed above, you can build a business machine that generates qualified leads and ongoing revenue for your business.