Considering a website redesign this year? It’s a great time to invest in a new website; there are more options available to you at a lower expense than ever before.
Technology, and more specifically, open-source platforms, have paved the way for organizations to incorporate complex elements into their websites that would have required thousands of dollars in custom coding in years past.
Now you can focus on creating the best user experience for your visitors, and leading them toward your goals, instead of spending time trying to build custom elements from scratch.
Here are the must-have’s (and a few nice-to-have’s) for your website in 2016, broken down by the internal systems you should have in place and the external elements that your visitors will interact with:
- Clearly Defined Goals
- What is the purpose of your website? Be clear in specifying exactly what you want to achieve, and how you will measure results.
- Do you want to generate direct leads? If so, how many per day/week/month? How will leads be generated? Customizable landing pages with forms are a great start, but also consider the calls-to-action that would lead visitors from a blog post, social media post, or your homepage to the form.
- Are you trying to increase awareness of your company? Be sure to have simple ways for visitors to share your information with others, and for new visitors to find you in online searches.
- Easily Editable CMS (Content Management System)
- In 2016, there is almost no reason to have a website that you can’t edit yourself (or at least edit the majority of text and images).
- Reporting & Analytics
- Google Analytics is the first step for most websites. Install this free tool (be sure to use the same account from your current website if you’re already using it), and monitor traffic sources, top pages, visitor paths, referring links, time on site, # of pages viewed, bounce rates and other important data to determine how your site is performing and where changes should be made. For advanced reporting, you can setup custom goals and events.
- Google Analytics only goes so far, and mostly shows you what’s happening within your website. To see how you’re performing in search engine rankings, or how your social media is drawing in visitors, invest in a more robust tool, such as Hubspot.
- An Excellent User Experience
- Website visitors can be fickle; they know that there are many other websites or companies out there who can also meet their needs, so they are unlikely to put up with a website that feels clunky or out of date, or where information is hard to find.
- Be sure that your messaging and images speak directly to your prospective customers. You’d be surprised at how many websites are written from the perspective of the business, and not the user. Use language that makes sense to your customers, not industry jargon.
- A Clear Path to Follow
- Not only do visitors need to be able to easily find what they’re looking for, they need some guidance in going where you want them to, and doing what you want them to do. Calls to action, lead funnels, and easy-to-navigate menus help visitors find their way to the right information, and help you meet your lead generation goals.
- Strong SEO
- If they can’t find you in a simple online search, they may never make it to your website. There are some very important elements of search engine optimization to pay attention to during a website redesign.
- When developing your sitemap, writing your content, and determining what will be kept, eliminated, or revised from the previous website, it’s crucial to understand how each of these factors plays a role in your search performance.
- Well-Written & Targeted Content
- When was the last time you read through all of the content on your website from the perspective of a prospective customer? Does it still make sense for your products or services? Is it easy for a new visitor to understand?
- Are you speaking to the prospective customer based on where they’re at in the decision making cycle? If not, it’s time to refresh your content.
And a Few Nice-to-Have’s (if you want to really win at this)
- Marketing Automation & CRM Software
- The website redesign phase is a perfect time to incorporate tools such as marketing automation and marketing CRM (customer relationship management) software. Why? Because you’re fully committed to focusing on the user experience, attracting and converting visitors based on your trackable goals, and using targeted content to speak directly to the prospect in order to lead them in and get them to take the next step with you.
- This is also a great time to incorporate automation and CRM software because you’re redesigning many of the pages and elements that would interact with those systems. Ie: you won’t have to build these elements again in the future.
- A Personalized User Experience
- Did you know that you can deliver personalized content and action requests to visitors based on what they’ve done in the past on your website? You can. It’s pretty sweet. Talk to us to learn more about this.
- Bells and Whistles
- Of course you want your new website to look great, and no doubt you’ll be working through rounds of design concepts to make sure that it does. But what about incorporating design or functionality elements that make your visitors remember you, and better than that, share your website with their friends and colleagues. The sky is the limit in web design and functionality, so now is the perfect time to dream up some great new ways to connect with your customers and delight them.
To learn more about the effect of a website redesign on SEO, download our free ebook!