Your website is the main way many of your new prospects will interact with your brand. It defines your online identity. But too many businesses are living with a website that doesn’t truly represent what the business is or what stakeholders want it to be.
A website redesign project is a big investment, and one with high stakes. If you put time and money into building a new version of your website that doesn’t meet your goals, you not only waste your money, you also risk losing customers and profits due to the new website’s weaknesses.
And even if your new website is developed with a well thought out strategy backed by research, you won’t know for sure how it will play with your audience until it’s live and put to the test. Even the best websites will benefit from some tweaks based on what the analytics show once it’s up.
That means hiring a designer to make your website look good isn’t good enough. You need to develop a full strategy for your new website’s design, and for making sure you get the most out of it once it’s up.
Before your get into the website redesign process, it’s important you and your team answer a few main questions.
Before you can decide how your website should look, you need to know what you want it to do. The first step to developing a clear and focused website strategy is defining the main goals you want to achieve.
For business websites, defining the main goal is usually easy enough: your website should help you make sales. But most websites will need to consider a number of related goals to get to that point, such as:
When you’re defining your goals, make sure you include all stakeholders in the process. Talk to people in different departments to get a holistic view of what the website needs to do. Marketing isn’t the only department with something at stake here—the website needs to help sales, customer service and even HR do their jobs better. Identify stakeholders in every department and conduct interviews to get input on what each of them recommends for the website.
Use the information from your interviews to clearly develop a list of website goals and the priority level to give each of them. You need a way to check if your new website accomplishes the goals you set out to achieve, so match each goal you set to specific metrics you can measure.
You may feel strongly that your website isn’t doing what you need it to now, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to learn from the website you have. Before your website redesign, do a proper analysis of your current website’s analytics. You may find that certain pages or design elements are working better than you thought, in which case you don’t want to throw them out in your new design.
In addition to your website analytics, look over all the other analytics you have that can tell you something about what your audience responds to, such as your social media and email data. Try to look for trends in the data that tell you:
View the current analytics through the lens of the goals you defined. What areas do you most need to improve to achieve your goals? And what aspects of the current site are actually worth keeping?
To create a better website, use the data you have to craft a website redesign plan that’s based on what you know works for your audience now.
Your website isn’t actually for you, it’s for your potential customers. Everything about its design and messaging should center them. This part can be hard when you have dozens of internal stakeholders vying for their website preferences. Their input does matter, but only insofar as it all adds up to creating a website your target audience will respond to.
Start by defining your user personas. You’ll have an easier time centering your audience in your website design if you can picture who you’re talking to. Buyer personas give you the opportunity to visualize your audience and create an in-depth profile of who they are, what they care about and what they’ll want to accomplish when they visit your website.
Your personas should be based on actual data you have about your customers. The review you did of your analytics should help with this part of the process, but you’ll also benefit from talking to some of your customers directly to fill in more human details. Your business may only have one persona to focus on or, more likely, you may have a few.
Once your personas are completed, consider what your goals for the website are for each distinct persona. What will they each want to learn or find when they visit your website? And what actions do you most want each of them to take?
Considering UX (user experience) is a crucial part of building a website that will work for your users—instead of just checking your boxes. When developing your wireframes and planning the structure of the website, think through an intuitive path for each distinct persona based on what you know about them. Make sure you think through what their experience of the website will be when they visit, and build a website that will be intuitive and helpful to them first and foremost. Remove any distractions or frustrations that keep visitors from completing the buyer’s journey.
Your website is how most people in your target audience will learn about your company and products (if they do at all), so you have to get the messaging right. One of the first steps in creating clear brand messaging is defining your unique value proposition.
A strong, unique value proposition:
Depending on how many personas you have and how different they are, you may want to create unique value propositions for each.
The value proposition itself will be short, but it’s a useful tool for helping shape the rest of your website. When determining the specific pages you need and what the messaging should be on each page, consider how each can be used to support and strengthen visitors’ understanding of your value proposition, as well as how they will contribute to helping you achieve your overall goals.
Marketing today is a two-way conversation. You want your website to clearly communicate to your audience who you are and what you do, but you don’t just want to talk at them. The messaging on your website will ideally be the start of a conversation.
That’s why many business websites today include creative tools for getting the conversation started right there on the site. In addition to including your contact information and web forms, consider giving your visitors a way to communicate with you through the site in real time with live chat windows or chatbots that will answer their questions right away, or with scheduling tools that let them set up a call without having to jump through any hoops.
People today expect easy, immediate access to the businesses they work with. Including real-time communication options on your website is a useful way to show them you can deliver on that and that you care about hearing from them.
All of the goals you defined in the first step depend on people finding your website first. Your site can’t do its job if your audience doesn’t see it to begin with.
A website redesign project that only focuses on what’s on the site itself won’t cut it. Your website redesign project needs to include a long-term strategy for helping people find, visit and interact with your site.
A good strategy will include steps you take from early on in your web design process, as well as some you’ll continue to work on in the months after your website launches, such as:
No matter how much work you put into the website redesign itself, you’ll have more to learn from your audience once you launch. Continue to monitor your analytics to track how well your new website is achieving your defined goals, and look for ways to improve the results as you go.
Creating an all new version of your website won’t be worth anything if your audience never finds it to begin with. And it won’t be worth much if they don’t take the actions you want them to take when they do find it.
For your website redesign to truly accomplish your goals, you need a strategy that both includes the proper research in the beginning to get things right, and that—just as importantly—goes beyond the day you launch so you can keep making it better.
Kuno Creative’s unique website design process takes a holistic approach that goes far beyond just making sure your website looks good to ensure it does everything your business needs it to do. If you know you need a new website but don’t know where to start, our team can get you on track. Contact us today.