Things to Consider When Planning Website Redesign
You’ve come to the conclusion that you aren’t happy with your website. Now what?
It’s been a long and unfruitful relationship. It’s just not working out and the time has come to say goodbye to your old, clunky, non-performing website. That conclusion may have been easily drawn, but making sure that your money is well spent on a website redesign can seem like a daunting task. Here are a few things to consider when redesigning your business’s website:
When is the best time to think about a website redesign?
The short answer is not during your peak season. It takes time to work through a good website’s design. I’m not just speaking about the aesthetic portion of the site, but the nuts and bolts of the site. You will need time to formulate a plan of action. If you can avoid it, don’t start this project when you’ve got a sales goal to meet in thirty days. Website projects are often not thought about much until a deadline is upon you – this causes added stress and things are very likely to be rushed and the finished product won’t be as good as it could be.
What are your goals?
Make a list of the things you hope your website will do for your business. The obvious answer would be “my goal is to make money”, but try and get as specific as possible. How do you hope to accomplish that with your website? If you aren’t sure how a website should address your goals, a good web design company should work with you in a consultative role that will help you sort out each goal and develop a plan of action that will help meet your goals.
Will your new website be useful to current and future customers?
This is something that you will need to look at from many angles, and if possible, get some input from your current customers as well. If you have analytics from your old website they can also help you to see where people may have gotten lost on your current website. Make a list of things that your customers look for most on your website and be sure that those key elements will be easy to locate on your new website.
Think about your business through the eyes of your potential customers. What might they find helpful? At a minimum, this would include things like your business location, hours and services, but I would suggest taking it a step beyond the basics. What would help your customer, even if they chose not to use your services? The web is a give, give, give and take world. The more you are willing to share without being a schlocky salesperson, the further you will get on the web. You could offer something as simple as a free report or something more complex, such as a blog full of useful tips and ideas. Offering freebies may seem counter-intuitive, however, you will find that the more you give, the more you receive in thankful customers who are pre-sold on your business before they even walk through your door.
Where will the content for your new website come from?
I will be the first to tell you that you should never under-estimate the amount of time it takes to put a good content strategy into action. It is generally not the website planning process that takes the most time, but the actual formulation of content. You know your business best and unless you have an awesome copy-writer who is extremely in tune with your niche, you will need to be very involved in the copywriting process. If you decide to take a hands-off approach, there is a very good chance that your new website will perform no better than your old one.
How will your new website convert visitors into customers?
I’m talking specifically about getting new customers in the door and/or through the checkout. Whether you are strictly an online business or a brick and mortar store, there needs to be specific “calls to action” throughout your website. Whether it be to contact you (lead generation) or to come into your shop and buy something that’s on sale, these calls to action should be easy to find and trackable. Think about how you might track leads generated via your website. Coupons, email marketing sign-ups and lead generation forms are all good ways to track website leads. This step will involve a bit of strategic planning to start, but once your initial plan is developed it becomes strategic tweaking.
Remember that your website should be an ever-evolving investment. If you want a set-it-and-forget-it website, you might bring in a customer here and there, but the best websites will evolve to match the ongoing needs of prospects and draw them into your sales funnel or storefront. In redesigning your business’s website, work with your web designer to think about tomorrow and how your new website will evolve. This will save you the expense of another redesign down the road.