We’ve all heard it before: Your website is your best salesperson, 24/7, 365 days a year. Having such an immense sales tool is essential for competing in the online marketplace of 2017. But how can you create a truly powerful website without spending a fortune?
You want to avoid “scope creep,” the dreaded budget expansion that a developer will charge as more and more features are added into the scope of the contract. To avoid the creep, think ahead! These common questions are the tip of the iceberg, but they will get you in the right state of mind to consider the many facets of redesigning a website.
- How will your agency define success?
What is more important to you—aesthetics or functionality? Is the ultimate aim of your site to amaze and delight visitors, or move as much traffic into the sales funnel as possible? Presumably, your answer includes a mixture of these ideals, but taking the initial time to sit down with your team and discuss the overarching goals is the first step to any good website redesign. It’s helpful to use SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Consider the following goal: “We want our redesigned website to grow site traffic and increase sales.” How will you know if you’ve reached that goal or not? A smart goal would be: “After our website redesign, we want an increase in site traffic of 200 visitors/month, and an increase of 10% in lead conversions over the next fiscal quarter.” This quantifies the game plan, and helps to solidify the same objectives so everyone involved can be held accountable at least to some degree.
- What does the competition look like and what are they doing?
When planning your redesign strategy, you can’t just take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror...you need to look out the window too. A few keystrokes can lead you to a plethora of competitor sites. What keywords did you use to get there? How many tabs/features/menus do these sites use? Are there opportunities for engagement, whether that be through video, offers, or social media invitations? Look to differentiate your brand by bridging any content gaps that you come across. You want to take the successful pieces of your competitors’ websites and build on them. If Competitor X has a blog but not a vlog, then consider including both on your site to be a more holistic destination for your potential customers.
- Do you have buyer personas? Who are the website visitors? What do they want, how do they use the website?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your most ideal customer. To create a buyer persona you need to incorporate the demographics, habits, motivations, pain points, and goals of the people most suited to purchase your product or service. Your website should tailor to these people. If your personas tend to be younger, more tech-savvy buyers, then your website must be mobile-friendly. In fact, 61% of mobile visitors will return to Google to find a site that is more easily readable, so taking the time and effort to make your site mobile friendly is simply a necessity. If your ideal customers are older, then keeping your site accessible and easy-to-use is more important. Viewing your website in the eyes of your buyer personas will provide you with insight into how to perfectly design your site for them.
- What is the content strategy?
Every successful website redesign begins with strategy. Strategy and planning always precede implementation and execution—you have to walk before you can run. Who will be in charge of developing a content strategy if you don’t have one? Will it be a single person or a team? If it’s the latter, then set up consistent meetings to keep communication transparent and logistics organized. How are you going to organize and track the content during development? A shared Google Doc is one idea, as a single email thread can become cluttered and overwhelming. Try to document everything you do, and have your team do the same, as this will streamline future redesigns. The trick to content strategy is twofold: telling it and showing it. You want to tell it; that is, you want to produce relevant and quality content that your site traffic will benefit from viewing. But that’s why you also need to show it: the content has to be presented in a way that is both easy to find as well as visually appealing. For design tips, check out our blog post.
- Do you need or have a CRM and, if so, which one?
To be frank, you probably need a CRM. Short for Customer Relationship Management, these are software programs that give you access to a myriad of tools which track your site traffic, lead conversions, current accounts, social media publication, email/blog subscriptions, and so much more. It’s a centralized location for all of your contact data, which can tell you a lot about buyer personas as well as which content is most effective. You can assign tasks to your team, and set reminders to follow up on leads. CRMs allow you to work smarter, and make it easy to streamline your workflows to add transparency across your entire company. Some examples of CRMs include HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, and Zoho. A breakdown of each can be found here.
- Do you currently track website analytics? What metrics are you currently tracking?
As stated in the first paragraph, relying on quantifiable and trackable goals make proving your redesign success real and easy to see. eConsultancy reports that companies with a structured approach for conversion optimization are twice as likely to have seen a large increase in sales as others. And, as stated in the previous paragraph, using a CRM like HubSpot gives you a ton of options when it comes to both automating your workflows as well as tracking metrics that matter to you.
- RSR or ESR?
I’ll be honest...this last one is a "gotcha" question. It’s all about ESR! ESR stands for Evolutionary Site Redesign or as we like to call it "growth driven design," and it represents the incremental, ever-changing philosophy of redesigning your website. Compare that with Revolutionary Site Redesign, which involves dramatic and over-arching changes every 5 years or so. Most companies still tend to have an RSR mentality, but I hope you consider the following two graphs when approaching your redesign strategies in the future.
ESR is an ongoing, persistent process that does more than keep your website looking state-of-the-art...it will keep your site as functional, aesthetic, and effective as possible. Say hello to your new best sales tool.
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