Businesses can change a lot in just a couple of years. 24 months ago, mobile represented about 10% of all internet traffic. Today, it’s jumped to 25%, and Google has rolled out ranking changes that prioritize mobile optimized websites on search engine result pages. Buyers have changed, as well. Today’s website visitor expects a different experience than those of the past.
There’s a risk in frequent redesign, however. They become willy-nilly and lack strategic end-goals. Whether you work with an agency or revamp the site in-house, it’s crucial to make your website a revenue-driving channel and not just another pretty, shiny homepage.
Do Your Research
Before investing time and resources into revamping your website, map out what you want to change and ask yourself why these need to be made. Be careful with redesigns that happen because “I just want it to look more modern” or “I just felt like a change.”
A website should not only look better, but work better as well. Before doing anything, open up your analytics and record your starting position (also known as benchmark) for visits, search rank, conversion rate and other key website metrics. Create a goal and a strategy for how each of these metrics should change as a result of the redesign.
Having clear growth goals will give you an objective framework to measure the effectiveness of the redesign and process for future improvements moving forward.
Another change in buyer behavior over the last two years is the growing expectation of a personalized experience. 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content that has nothing to do with their interest appears.
Groomed by websites such as Netflix, Amazon, and other adaptive websites, visitors seek out content that is specific and relevant to them. Even YouTube can recommend videos that it thinks you may enjoy. A 2013 Monetate/Econsultancy Study found that in-house marketers who personalize Web experiences see on the average, a 19% rise in sales.
Adding a personalization engine and strategy to your next redesign can help address weak conversion rates. Say you run a clothing business and a visitor recently purchased a shirt on your website.
If they visit your website again and see a promotion for the same shirt design, there’s a chance they’ll just ignore it. To attract and keep their attention, you could display related products, like pants or a bag that matches the shirt, to that specific visitor.
The companies that cut through marketing clutter today aren’t the ones with the flashiest ads, but the ones creating a unique and personalized experience.
As noted above, buyers are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to find information online, and companies that don’t optimize their website from screen to screen are losing out.
According to a study conducted by Google, 79% of users who don’t like what they find on a mobile site will go and look for the information they need on another site. This shouldn’t be a surprise; if you walked into a store that was messy, unorganized, and had unhelpful salespeople, you’d probably leave immediately to shop somewhere else that was easier to navigate.
Use responsive design to create a site that adapts to fit a variety of screen sizes and be sure to incorporate behavior patterns of mobile users into your redesign strategy.
As part of your redesign, look to lighten the load on your site and ensure it appears properly on a variety of devices and browsers. In addition to load time, look at the structure of your website. Is it easy to navigate? Is there a clear route from research to purchase?
Mobile visitors in particular are action-oriented and need a clear route between point A and B. Use this redesign as a chance to make your site easier for visitors to move around throughout the sales cycle, instead of making them jump through hoops to become a customer.
Visual design choices are often the first to cross your mind (or your boss’s mind) when it comes to website redesigns, and for good reason: the visual experience of a website is significant.
In addition to that, however, make sure that your next website redesign incorporates functional improvements that reflect the way today’s viewers use your website. The improvements may not be as flashy or noticeable as new images or banding, but they can signify the difference between a good-looking website, versus a high-impact one.
Whether it’s the result of new SEO requirements or shifting brand values, you may have to redesign your site sooner rather than later. But how do you approach this monumental change? Well, it takes a mixture of caution and creativity.
Unleash Your Creativity
Once you’ve verified that you’re pursuing a website redesign for the right reasons, feel free to unleash your creativity and try something new. However, it’s also important that you take a calculated approach to your creativity.
Don’t be afraid to consult with other people and accept constructive criticism. By combining creativity and caution, you can increase your chances of redesigning an effective, high-converting website that attracts and converts leads.
Tips and Tricks for an Effective, High-Returning Redesign
If after reading through these points you believe a redesign is the right solution for your website, you’ll want to proceed with a careful strategy. Here are some specific tips to help you maximize your efforts.
- Gather Lots of Feedback: Next, you need to work on gathering feedback. This includes insights from those within and outside your company. Those within will the company will give you a good idea of what is and isn’t working below the surface, while customers and focus groups can provide feedback regarding visual appearance and functionality.
- Develop a Budget From the Start: You don’t want to get too far along in the process without developing a budget. This allows you to realistically see which issues you’ll be able to tackle, as well as which ones aren’t feasible.
Focus on UX and Functionality
Approximately 40% of all visitors will abandon your website if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s why it’s crucial to put user experience (UX) and functionality as your top priority.
If it doesn’t work to enhance the average user’s interaction with your company, then it shouldn’t exist. Use Google’s PageSpeed tool so you can analyze the site speed and optimize for best results. It’s not to late to prevent people from leaving too soon.