What a Deep-Dish Website Redesign Offers
Website Redesigns that lead to success: The benefits of redesigning your business website are more than just cosmetic.
Making changes to your website’s design, structure, and copy-writing can help to improve usability and profit margins. The other day I ordered a deep dish pizza (had it delivered actually). Boy what a difference after eating thin crust pizzas for the last 10 years. They’re both good, but I’d forgotten just how good pizza can be when there’s more of everything. Let us uncover a few key web design secrets and strategies for a deep-dish website redesign.
Many of today’s websites are thin-crust. From the top view, they look like a website, but when you look at them from the edge, you can see that they have a flat structure, and don’t offer enough good content, or a strong content marketing strategy throughout your website.
How to create a deeper website for your company
How do you create a deep-dish website? You need to start with good planning. The following checklist is what I would recommend.
1. Determine Your Website Redesign Goals
Why do you want to redesign your website? It can’t be just about design. Looking up to date and professional is certainly important, but it’s not a key reason for a redesign. Any experienced agency that designs websites will make yours look fantastic. But few will take the time to make sure the new website supports your business plans.
Focusing on how your website works, who visits it, what questions they have, and what you want them to do is key to your website redesign success.
2. Determine The Goals of Your Website Redesign
Have goals for each of the following web performance indicators:
* Number of visits/visitors
* Bounce rate
* Current SEO rankings for your website’s most important keywords
* Time spent on your website per viewer
* Number of new leads/form submissions
* Total amount of sales generated from your website
Once you determine your goals, create specific success metrics for each one. For example: “to increase site traffic by 100% over the next six months.” Before you engage an creative rebranding agency, it’s best to make sure you have the right ingredients on hand. Start by making a list of how you characterize your company and it relationship to your website.
3. Take a Snapshot of Your Website’s Strengths
Benchmark your current website metrics to determine how to build on your successes
* Which channels drive your best traffic and leads
* How does Social Media contribute to lead generation?
* How much traffic or organic vs paid?
* Which channels brought in sales leads versus website visitors interested in kicking the tires.
4.Take Inventory of Existing Assets Before Redesigning Your Website
Your current website, whatever you may think of it, is an asset:
* Some pages may rank well in Google Search Results
* Your domain has intrinsic value and history
* You may have back links to individual pages that need to be preserved
* Identify which pages are heavily trafficked
Not only do you need to document the assets of your website, you need to have a plan for preserving those assets. Otherwise you risk losing more than you gain.
Keep in mind that many web designers don’t consider this step because they are not marketers; they are graphic designers and coders.
Analyze the competition
Do you ever look at your competitors’ websites? Your audience does. In fact, they may have your website and their website open in separate tabs in their browser.
5. Research Before Your Website Redesign
At the very least, you should do some research on the following:
* Visit your competitors’ websites
* Note their navigation structure
* Try to identify if they are targeting specific audiences
* Document their unique value proposition
* Note what you like, and what you think you can do better
Run your website through a website analytics tool, such as Website Grader (https://marketing.grader.com) or WooRank (woorank.com). Then run each of your competitors through the same analytics tool and compare results.
Put together an action list of what areas you can improve and what you can do differently than your competitors. We will use our refined key web design secrets to help you move ahead.
6. Identify your unique value proposition
A new website will prominently display your marketing strategy with a unique value proposition. This is your chance to shine. Are you a Hawaiian style pizza? Or do you have all the toppings? Or are you a gourmet style pizza, with goat cheese and shallots?
Your value proposition must be defined before you can direct a website redesign. In fact, you may build the whole website around that value proposition. This step defines how the world understands your company. It begins with your website and it can dramatically affect your bounce rates and conversion rates.
Is your value proposition the same for each audience? Or are there subsets of your messaging that address unique audience benefits? What visuals will communicate your value proposition?
Do you want to leave this in the hands of a web developer? You should either work on this with your in-house team, or hire a marketing agency who can provide perspective and experience. Don’t skip this step!
7. Develop Buyer Personas
Your website should be designed for usability and to fulfill the needs of “ plans that appeal to your buyer personas.” A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, based as much as possible on real customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about personal histories, motivations, and concerns.
Here’s how to get started:
Segment by demographics. Research your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers of your products and services. For each different type of buyer, write a detailed description, including a name, job title or role, industry or company info, and demographic info.
Identify their needs. Don’t stop with demographics. Ask yourself “What are the biggest problems each buyer is trying to solve? What do they need most? What information are they searching for?
Develop behavior-based profiles. Finally, characterize their online behavior. Are they active on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks? What search terms do they use to find your products and services? What kind of information is helpful to them?
The design and architecture of your new website should address the needs of your different buyer personas. Again, don’t rely on a web development firm to handle this. Use a marketing firm or do this work yourself.
8. Optimize your Website for Search
It’s not enough anymore to build a website than “can” be searched. You need to have a strategy for maximizing your search potential. Keep in mind, the search engine bots are not really that smart. I’m not saying you should try and fool them. I’m just saying that you can follow a reasonable plan, not make obvious mistakes, and do just fine.
Here’s how to get started:
Document your highest ranked pages. These pages have the strongest SEO juice, the most traffic, inbound links, and keywords rankings. If you can avoid moving them (changing the URL), that’s the best way to go. If your new architecture necessitates that they live at a new URL, you need to use a 301 redirect on that page to preserve its value.
Create a 301 redirect strategy. 301 Redirects map old pages to new pages. They are the SEO-friendly way to preserve Search rankings. Simply create a spreadsheet to record all your current URLS, and their corresponding 301 redirects. This is then loaded directly into a file at the root level of your web host. Note: some Content Management Systems provide a different user interface for managing 301s.
Do additional keyword research. Every page should focus on one to two keywords or phrases. You might include a separate column on your URL map (for your own purposes, anyway) to show the keywords associated with each page. There should not be duplication. If two pages have the same keyword focus, the bots don’t know what to do. These pages are competing with each other and both will lose. Once you assign keywords to a page, use on-page SEO tactics to feature those keywords in header tags, and body copy as appropriate. Remember, you should never be writing for the bots; you simply need to obey the rules. Write the copy for real web visitors.
6. Create an ongoing content strategy
The old days of putting up a website and only updating it with new products, news, and events are over. Again, Google is heavily influencing this situation. Google’s algorithms rate sites with new content higher than sites with old content. A 100-page website will rank higher than a 10-page website 99% of the time. A 500-page website might do even better.
So how do you create fresh content? First, you need a content strategy that adds more and more content to your site over time.
Start a blog. This is one of the best ways to add an on-going flow of great content to your website. Research shows that companies that blog have 55% more website visitors and 88% more leads than those who do not.
Generate Press Releases. A regular supply of news releases and updates provide additional pages to your website.
Add Videos. While videos by themselves don’t add searchable content, you can write abstracts and use meta information to fill that void. In the meantime, your web visitors will appreciate viewing rather than reading all of your content.
9. Map calls-to-action
You want people to come to your site, right? But then what do you want them to do? They aren’t all ready to purchase your products and services. Many visitors are too early in the buying cycle to be ready to purchase. That’s why you need to plan for alternative actions, such as:
- Downloading an ebook or whitepaper
- Requesting a quote
- Entering a contest
- Subscribing to a newsletter
- Interacting with an ROI calculator.
If you identify these in advance, you can make sure that your new web design provides plenty of places to features these important calls-to-action.
10. Keep an Eye on Your End Conclusions
A successful website redesign starts long before the site is being “designed.” Often times, people get caught up in how the website looks and this focus overshadows how well it is working.
Remember, your website is the central piece of your marketing and it must integrate with social media, email marketing, lead generation, content creation and more. The deeper your design, the better your chances of success.
Start with this checklist and you’ll be well-prepared for any website redesign.
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What a Deep-Dish Website Redesign Offers
Benefits of Re-Designing Your Website
Author: Tom Lauck,
Owner of Hivemind Studios
February 3, 2012;
Updated:December 10, 2015
Making changes to your website’s design, structure, and copy-writing can help to improve usability and profit margins. Hivemind Studios ensures that a new website supports your business plans.
Also published on Medium.