Your company’s website makes up a huge segment of the public face of your company. Like any space, either physical or digital, a business website will need a refresh every so often in order to stay relevant in the marketplace and maintain consumer interest and participation.
Whether it’s time for a change or you’re just considering a redesign, this guide will help you to make the most out of your online renovations.
Determine What Works
A website redesign does not have to mean a complete makeover from the ground up, either in form or function. From general layout to branded elements, take a long look at some of the features on your website that work in your favor. It’s a good idea to explore the entire website from top to bottom, from the home page to email marketing pipelines. Make a comprehensive list of things that seem easy to understand and navigate.
Eliminate What Doesn’t
As you go through your site, make an additional list that details elements that certainly need to go when you determine your new design. Pay special attention to things that may be hidden that should be more prominent, things that might be challenging for new customers to grasp, unattractive layouts, confusing menus, low-quality media or any copy that needs to be tossed out or updated.
It helps to have several sets of eyes during this process, as well as a mindset that would mimic the experience of someone who was visiting your site for the first time with little to no knowledge of who your company is and what you do.
Tailor to Your Audience
A good business website not only lays out relevant company information in a way that is easy to interpret and understand for your audience, but it also lays it all out in a way that will result in more conversions on your end, too. Think about your target audience and research their consumer behavior, especially as it relates to website interaction. Use this information to consider new additions that could bring in more website traffic or increase the number of interactions and transactions once these users find their way to your site.
Set Up a Strategy
Does your entire website need an overhaul or do you just need a little fine-tuning? Before you get started with a design, make a few goals with regard to the final product and your desired outcomes. These goals should include actionable strategies to accomplish both qualitative and quantitative goals. Sit down to determine different plans of action that will refresh both the way your website looks and feels as well as the outcomes you can expect from user interactions with your site.
Research the Competition
When customers visit a website within a specific industry, they come to expect certain elements that unify their experience among different companies–despite their status as competitors. For example, the websites of local HVAC companies may all have several similar features and characteristics despite notable differences, which works in their favor in terms of approach and user-friendliness.
However, it’s still a good idea to find ways to set your company apart from your competition. When you perform research into your competition, take note of ways that your current website is both similar and different in order to find ways you can give yourself an edge within your industry.
Prioritize the User
Your newly redesigned site should accurately reflect your company, your goods and services, your contact information and your brand identity, but the way it functions and appears should also be catered largely to your target audience. A clean, simple and easy user experience should be at the top of your priority list, and other website elements should be infused into that goal rather than the other way around.
Determine where users are having issues, which pages are most valuable, which sections of your site receive the most or the least amount of traffic and other relevant data pieces that could provide good insight into how the average user experiences your website.
In addition to existing insight, look to outside advice that can provide guidance on how to create a better, more user-friendly website for your customers.
Get Your Team Involved
Each department of your company benefits or is hampered by specific aspects of your website. For example, sales representatives may find that a stronger SEO strategy would assist them with quality leads, while your customer support team may recommend clearer verbiage with regard to a common question they receive from support tickets. Schedule a meeting with every department, from security to copywriting, to discuss what they think could be working better for their division when it comes to your website.
Before your new site is launched, it’s wise to make sure it’s functional and effective. It can be helpful to make only small changes at a time and see how they perform rather than launch a complete rehaul of the site all at once. You may also want to consider moderated usability testing sessions that present new website features to persons, whether in-person or remotely, who then provide feedback as to whether it was appealing or effective.
When your new site is live, it may be tempting to sit back for a while to see how it performs. However, technology, consumer behavior, market trends and digital tools are all constantly in flux, so it’s important to stay on top of what your customers want, how they interact with your website and what you may need to shift or change, even right away, to make it work better.
Several analytics tools can do the heavy lifting at this stage, but it’s important to keep an open mind about design and functionality practices, both of which require personal insight and creativity, in case anything does need to change. The better you are at using this data to constantly improve your website, the more likely you are to capture and maintain user attention, which can establish a more captivating public face and boost your company’s success.