While you’re redesigning your website is a great time to audit your overall marketing objectives to make sure your new site is moving you in the right direction. This list includes several of the small details that can make a huge difference in the success of your business.
What are you trying to accomplish with your website? What are the key metrics that matter to your business? You should identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can track over time to measure your progress. Useful KPIs include leading indicators that tell you if you’re heading in the right direction (traffic, leads, likes), and lagging indicators that tell you if you’ve reached your goals (transactions, revenue, subscriptions). A redesign is a perfect time to reassess your goals and think about how your new site can help you achieve those goals.
Before you even start your redesign, you should take a step back and define your marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy should work together to help move you closer to your goals. Your new site will be a central part of your overall marketing strategy, so you should build your site with that in mind. Does your new site match your brand style guide? Is your website’s messaging consistent with all your other marketing messages? Your website is a core part of all your marketing so you need to make sure it tells the story in a way that resonates with your target buyer personas.
I know it’s no fun to change hosting. It’s always a painful switch, but it’s a lot easier when you’re going through a redesign than any other time. Make sure your site is on a reliable host that loads quickly. You want to know that when someone clicks to your site, it pulls up quickly every time. Your hosting needs will depend on the size of your audience and the technical aspects of your site. If you’re happy with your hosting provider and they’re meeting your needs, stick with it. If you aren’t happy with your web host, now is the time to make a move.
Do you know what keywords people search to find businesses like yours? Spend some time analyzing keyword searches and trends. Use that keyword data to build a site and create content that will appeal to people searching on those keywords. Your blog is a great place to create content based around certain keywords. Use Google’s keyword planner to get an idea of the keywords people search on related to your business. You should also consider running a small Adwords pay-per-click campaign. Not only will you see what keywords get impressions and clicks, you will be able to see which keywords turn into leads and sales. You can use that data to know which keywords are most valuable for creating content and optimizing for organic search.
Calls to Action
An important part of your redesign should be your calls to action. Create compelling calls to action for your premium content and other offers. Strong calls to action will yield a higher conversion rate, especially if you are able to deliver a valuable resource. Give your site visitors something valuable in exchange for taking the next step in the sales funnel. Make it easy to access your premium content and make it crystal clear what the benefits are to them if they do it.
Changing URLs willy nilly is a bad idea. Google doesn’t like it. Visitors don’t like it. It’s just better to keep your URLs the same when you redesign if at all possible. However, as part of a redesign, there are often changes to the content of a site. You might be removing some pages of content and adding other new pages. Also, if your URLs stink–too long, complex, confusing, ugly, etc.–a redesign is a great time to bite the bullet and change those little guys. Create URLs that are simple, clear and descriptive of the content on the page. Before you take the new site live, make sure you have all the necessary redirects set up from all the old pages to the corresponding new pages. These redirects should be 301 or permanent redirects. If you are changing the entire site to a completely new domain name, that’s a bigger deal that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make sure you really want to make the change, because you will lose a lot by making that switch. This post from Google gives some good tips on moving domains effectively.
Your website should still be the center of your focus as a marketer, but you can’t ignore the power of social media. Does your new site include social share buttons on your blog and other shareable pages? Add a Facebook like button and other social widgets to your home page. If you are particularly active in any of the social networks, consider integrating your posts, photos or other social content into your site. Instead of just allowing comments on your blog, how about integrating Facebook, Twitter or other social networks into your blog comments using Disqus or other similar social integration tools.
Review your email marketing strategy. Take the time to add email signups on the new site. Think about ways to improve your subscribe rate from your current site. What can you do to get more people interested in subscribing to your email list? Make it easy to subscribe to your email lists. Also make sure it’s easy to unsubscribe if someone no longer wants to get your emails. Figure out your current, baseline metrics for email signups and track how the new site performs. One of your goals should be to improve your email metrics with the launch of the new site. Also take the time to review your email templates and have them redesigned to match the look and feel of the new website.
Don’t forget to install your analytics code on the new site. It’s a simple thing, but it happens way too often. Not only should you make sure the analytics code is installed on the new site, you should take it a step further and review all your analytics settings to make sure you’re tracking all of the necessary conversions on the new site. If it’s an e-commerce site, make sure transactions are tracked properly. If it’s a lead generation site, make sure all your landing pages and lead capture pages are being tracked properly. If you have the type of business that gets a lot of phone calls from your site, consider using tracking phone numbers to identify calls generated by your website. It’s crucial that you have analytics set up correctly on the new site, so you can measure the effectiveness of the new site design. Having a prettier site doesn’t always translate into higher sales. Be ready to track the results of the new site and make the necessary changes to ensure the best possible results with the new site.