Deeply Understand Why Your Business is Starting This Project
What are your potential reasons behind the change? Whatever the change may be, understanding what your purpose or reason is behind the change is vital to creating a sustainably appealing and effective website moving forward.
Your website is often the first impression a potential client will have of your business. In many instances it should be your highest performing sales rep. Your site is oftentimes your one and only chance to accurately convey who you are, what you do, and why your business is unique. For these reasons it’s critically important that the first step in redesigning your website is to have a deep understanding of why you are engaging in a redesign. Ultimately, this drives to the question of what goals we hope to accomplish with the new site:
- What challenges do we currently face that we hope to eliminate when the redesign launches?
- Are we trying to improve traffic, because our conversion is otherwise fine (cast a wider net), or are we trying to improve conversions, because our traffic is otherwise fine (get better at catching the fish in our net)? Or both?
- Is there functionality lacking in our site that would help us gain, retain or delight customers?
- What impact to our business, our customers, or other important audiences, do we hope to achieve through the successful completion of this project?
Once you’ve understood the reason behind your change, you’re ready to revamp your site into something your customers love. Having clear answers to the questions of “why” will help focus the efforts of your team, keep your project on track toward clearly articulated ends, and ensure the finished product provides increased value to your organization. Every redesign, however, comes with potential risks and in order to minimize that, it’s vital to understand the following three things:
1. Consider Your Audience
This goes back to understanding exactly why you wanted to redesign your site in the first place. You want to have a clear idea of your customer personas moving forward — who are your customers based off of your data and what dictates their buying behavior? Knowing this will already provide insight to what changes need to be made and how to approach your project every step of the way.
- Do Competitive Research & Understand Site Data
Do your fair share of competitive research and understand your current site data. The research you do may come from understanding your competitors and their audiences. If you aren’t already, utilize analytics tools such as SimilarWeb, SEMRush, and Moz to see how frequently each competitors site is visited. Odds are their audience is very similar to yours so take note on what sets them apart. Consider utilizing some of their more effective layout techniques or pay attention to their content, whatever it may be that brings them the most viewers. Be sure to have done research on your own site as well. What are some things that have worked for you that should most likely be kept?
- Understand the Customer Impact & Get Feedback
All in the while, it’s important to consider the impact a redesign can have on your clients. It is likely that your audience won’t know what they’re looking for when they look at your website, they just may need your services. That being said, there may be some recurring customers that most likely won’t be able to understand the change. For current customers that continually interact with your site, you may want to mention the changes that will be made during the redesign in your next newsletter, along with specifically what’s prompted the change. If you feel that your customers’ feedback in redesigning the website is important to your brand, give your customers a window of opportunity to share their thoughts. Usability studies or customer feedback groups are a great way to engage with your audience before you make the big change.
2. Consider Your Timeline and Budget
If you’re planning to redesign everything, consider the amount of time and money that will be required of your new site. All businesses are vastly different and therefore not all websites cost the same and differ in quality and scope. It can easily take 2 to 4 months to completely redesign your site and the range of cost can be anywhere from 3K to 300K, not to mention the time it’ll take to review, revise and leaving room to deal with setbacks. Think back to the time you needed to submit that 25-page term paper. There would be several occasions where you’d have to put the paper away and come back to it a few hours or days later to find revisions and improvements that you wouldn’t have otherwise found. The same concept applies to rebuilding your website. The more you know of how you want the structure to be, with a clear understanding of what is driving the timeline, whether it be for a busier season or no reason at all, the better it is for your redesign. The same understanding applies when budgeting for your redesign. It’s vital to have a defined idea of what your company is willing to and can afford to spend because this can jeopardize the project tremendously. In order to create the best version of your redesigned website you’re going to need time and money to revise, implement change, and execute.
3. Consider Your Content
Creating content for your newly designed site is perhaps the most important aspect of your website. The way you convey your brand and message will determine how effective the redesign of your site is. Every bit of text and every image should be strategic, and structured according to your design layout. That means, it’s vital that the content you create aligns with your page layout and isn’t too long or too short within the different design confines of each of your web pages. Keep in mind that everything you write will essentially be action blocks, as they will have the power to influence your audience. You should have a clear understanding of all the processes of your business and the services you provide to structure these action blocks. Be sure to be transparent with your brand message and who you are, your many services or products, and your specific process for when customers invest. Become familiar enough with your content to be able to teach users on your services and leaving them wanting more of what you have to offer. Once your content is written the first time, you will always have the ability to A/B test or heatmap to see the effectiveness of certain areas.
Redesigning your site is a large undertaking, but if done well, it can be a seamless process and well worth it once completed. Odds are, you’re not the subject matter expert on redesigning sites and you’ve hired a developer and a designer. Do your research, share your vision and completely own the vision of your content, but trust the rest to them. If you’re looking to redesign your site holistically, GRAYBOX has been working with clients for years designing and updating their sites.