If you're considering a website redesign, chances are you've been in business for a few years now and realise you need to do one of the following:
1. Increase brand awareness and attract our intended audience
2. Improve user experience for our visitors
3. Increase site performance and SEO
4. Attract and convert more leads
When it comes time to reinvest in your greatest digital asset, it's critical that the right steps are taken in order to achieve a result that will sustain the next few years of vital growth. Depending on how competitive your industry is, if you want to stay current you should expect to refresh or redesign your website every 3-5 years. If your site fails to continue to meet customer expectations over time, you risk losing them to a competitor that does.
So ask yourself, does my website grab users' attention in four seconds or less, tell a great brand story and differentiate us from our competitors? Perhaps most importantly, does it convert?
Continuing to get the mix right can be difficult, but keeping your website at or above industry standard is extremely important for a few reasons.
38% of visitors will leave a website if they find the layout unattractive.
source: Blue Corona
Poor design can be crippling to a startup when looking to hire top talent. 48% of people cited that website design is the No. 1 factor in determining the credibility of a business (source: Blue Corona), so imagine how imperative it is when aiming to attract new clients.
So it's clear that your website needs to be looking fly to compete. But it doesn't just need to look good; what's going on behind the scenes is just as important, if not more. In order to nail the functional side of things, we recommend that you take a more comprehensive approach. Here are 5 things to consider when redesigning your website:
1. Review the "old" website to get clear on where it's underperforming
2. Identify the key redesign priorities as a result
3. Revisit your target audience - still the same humans?
4. Identify your new design and functional "must haves"
5. Set new goals against desired business growth targets
Once you've documented the above you can begin to flesh out a plan for the redesign itself:
1. Setting expectations, goals and ideals
2. Define your audience
3. Analyse your competition
4. Identify your functional requirements
5. Make your customers salivate
6. Develop a continued growth strategy
Let's dive deeper into these individually...
Establishing your project goals, KPI's, or OKR's is a vital first step in defining what success looks like. Once created, they can be referred to at key stages throughout the process. Ask yourself, what are you wanting to achieve - more brand exposure? Conversions? Etc...
Finally, ensure they are SMART:
A proper website redesign process requires looking beyond a single desire and gaining a deeper understanding of where the business is headed, vs where it's at currently.
The process may start with a chat around websites you've seen and like. However, in today's digital landscape we must identify and consider the customer more than ever, which begins with identifying key touchpoints within your customers journey.
Defining Your Audience
Your website redesign should be aimed towards establishing empathy for the people who are going to buy your product or use your service, not your own or internal team preferences. Removing the bias will help align what you can provide with your true customer needs. Here's a useful article on all things user research.
From your user research results you can more confidently define user personas (groups of customers - repeat, high spending, etc.) and/or audience profiles (specific details - age, interest, etc.).
Here are a few elements to include:
Desires, wants and needs in life
Any goals, attitudes, and concerns with your product/service
Both user research and personas are essential for understanding who you're serving and how to attract the right customer. For websites, tools like Hotjar can measure customer behaviour and give you a sense for how strong your value proposition is. More traditional tools such as Google Analytics are essential for understanding wider user behaviour metrics and overall website performance.
Knowing Your Competitors
Understanding your competitive advantages (and disadvantages) is key for adopting points of difference and stronger value propositions within your industry.
The mistake startups often make is thinking that they need to adopt the same strategies as their competition. However, analysing what they are doing so you can make a stronger case for your customers is a better option for establishing a clearly defined unfair advantage.
Here's a good overview explanation from Xero on how to make your own competitor analysis.
Identifying Your Requirements
Once you have defined your user, you'll want to look at (in detail) what the requirements are to meet their needs in a few areas:
Business Requirements - we always start with business requirements because tech solutions should not drive outcomes but instead help facilitate them. Typical business requirements include an outline of objectives or problems that need to be solved.
User Requirements - how the user will interact with the website: including specific features, functions and more generally what they can expect from the experience overall. Accessibility is also important so the website can be experienced by as many users as possible, those with disabilities included.
Functional Requirements - how the website will work from a technical perspective. Even if you're not technical, basic knowledge is worth knowing so you can be assured that your expectations are reasonable given time and budget constraints.
Designing For Uniqueness
Design is obviously a key component of any website and evolves so quickly it's hard to keep up - even for professionals. Good design will attract attention, break patterns, and delight viewers. With regard to web design, it requires the right balance between usability, creativity and functionality.
Have a look at what is working for your brand/website at the moment. Is the messaging right? How about the layout? Colour...? Decide what is strong enough to keep vs what can be left behind as you enter the next phase of growth. As a finalist of 2x Best Design Awards this year, here are a few rules we design by:
Make them salivate - your homepage must engage users within 4 seconds or less
Make it personal - bring your company values to the forefront
Don't overcommit to any single design trend; they quickly change
Developing For Growth
If you've done a website prior to this, you'll know that once you launch the work really begins.
In today's instagram age where content and ads run 24/7, continuous exposure online is an important yet difficult standard to uphold. The only way to compete effectively is to have a measurable strategy in place that will move your target audience through a funnel - awareness, consideration and conversion.
More likely than not, small business owners lack experience developing and implementing a realistic marketing plan and budget. (Medium)
A solid starting point for gaining traction is with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Modern SEO has no magical formulas, and continuously creating valuable content that lives on a website that is optimised for search is a good nudge.
Paid search (Google/Facebook ads, etc.) helps generate awareness over the top of a well performing website. Combine these strategies and you'll have a much better outcome for sustainable growth moving forward. It can all seem expensive - however, when done correctly and measured against upfront KPI's, conversions will happen, which ultimately means more revenue for the business.
Organic traffic can increase by nearly 26 percent due to better search engine rankings. (IMPact)
Here are a few of the tools we use daily at Dream Config within our Growth Strategies that help drive website performance and business value:
So there you have it, the 6 steps to focus on to nail your website redesign and beyond:
- Setting expectations, goals and ideals.
- Define your audience.
- Analyse your competition.
- Find your functional requirements.
- Make your customers salivate.
- Develop a continued growth strategy.
Hopefully following some or all of these steps will help your startup succeed in driving traffic, generating leads and growing to that next level.
If you'd like some help along the way, don't hesitate to reach out.