Backward is the new forward! I love doing things in reverse, especially when it comes to building a website. Most businesses already have a website, and many have gone through at least one redesign over the past few years. Typically, they see their current site as producing disappointing business results and/or seek to modernize it with both content and cool new design. With that end result in mind, they ask designers and copywriters to scrap the old stuff and start fresh. I can't think of a bigger mistake.
The mistake many companies make in website redesign projects is assuming the old stuff has no value and throwing it away. By doing so, they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
There is truth in the data. Which pages and blog posts attracted the most visitors and lead conversions, and why? Which organic search phrases generated the most traffic and leads, and which pages did they point to? How did visitors find their way through the site, and which links and calls-to-action were the key arteries for navigation and conversion? How much time did people spend on each page, and which ones caused the highest bounce rates and dwell time? Which landing pages drove the highest number of customer conversions, and how did your leads find them? By doing a careful post-mortem analysis prior to a redesign, you can double down on what worked and avoid the mistakes in the new site.
Armed with the knowledge of how your website both succeeds and fails, you can start planning for the things that have changed since your last update. One of the most important changes has been Google Hummingbird, the algorithm that seeks to match searchers' intent with the most relevant web pages and blog posts for that query. The keyword here is "intent." As Clickz puts it, Hummingbird "aims to understand whether you want a recipe or a restaurant when you search for 'best pizza' by looking at complex signals." This should have a big impact on how you update website messaging, page content, navigation and blog posts for several reasons:
You've analyzed your customers' engagement with your current website, and hopefully you've done your homework on buyer personas and the buyer journey. Now it's time to think and write like a customer. Your entire website should be crafted to appeal to and help your customers find answers to their most important questions. This means taking on the voice they are most comfortable with and providing unique value as often as possible. Your blog posts should not only anticipate buyer interests, but they should also take your buyers to new places. The most clicked search engine responses are those both highly relevant and surprising in that they deliver exactly what the searcher was seeking or provide new information or insights.
Now match your buyers to those searches. Imagine what they are looking for and how they might phrase that query. Having a hard time imagining what they are thinking? Go ask them. Make that a part of your buyer persona interview process.
If you design and populate your website with content that Hummingbird loves, your buyers are more likely to find you via organic search and word of mouth. When they get to your site, they are more likely to stick around and explore. Even if they don't buy from you right away, they are more likely to come back and trust your content, since it delivers what they want. Yes, you want to create an attractive design that meets all kinds of web standards across all platforms and devices, but a site that brings in the right people should be your first priority.
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