7 Steps to Website Redesign Success

Posted by Murray Sye

on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 @ 07:22 AM

So you're about to redesign your company website. A redesign can be a tedious and long process. Every redesign starts with a vision and/or a problem. The better you are defining your vision and or problem at the very beginning, the more successful you'll be with your redesign.

7 Steps to Website Redesign Success

To help you through this process, follow the seven stages of website redesign as we've outlined them below.

1) Benchmark Your Current Metrics

Before you begin planning your redesign, document your current performance metrics. Start by analyzing your existing site over its history in areas such as:

  • Number of visits/visitors/unique visitors

  • Bounce rate

  • Time on site

  • Current SEO rankings for important keywords

  • Domain authority

  • Number of new leads/form submissions

  • Total amount of sales generated

Hopefully you'll have access to this information but if you don't, then I'd recommend adding a tool like Google Analytics or HubSpot's marketing analytics for better tracking and visibility into site performance.
Addtional reading, download this eBook: Small Business Inbound Marketing Starter Kit

2) Determine Your Goals

When considering a redesign there needs to be a good reason behind it. Many times we hear "it's been a while since we've done one," or "I want our business to look bigger." These are not good enough reasons. It's not just about how your site looks, but how it works.

Be really clear about why you're doing the redesign in the first place and tie it to measureable results. Then communicate your goals with your team, designer or agency. Consider the following objectives for your own website:

  • Number of visits/visitors

  • Bound rate

  • Time on site

  • Domain authority

  • Number of new leads/form submissions

  • Total amount of sales generated

  • Current SEO rankings for important keywords

Many of these goals are dependent on each other. For example, in order to get more conversions, you need to increase traffic while decreasing the bounce rate.
Additional reading, download this eBook: Expert Advice, Improve Your Marketing Today!

3) Define Your Brand

Before you begin crafting your content, be clear about your branding and messaging so that it's consistent across your entire website. A new visitor should immediately understand what you do, how it relates to them, and why they should stay on your website and not flee to your competitors. Make sure you sound human, and don't use industry jargon (aka gobbledygood).
Additional Reading: Does Your Business Website Communicate Your Unique Value?

4) Define Your Buyer Persona

Your website is not just about you. Your visitors ask, "what's in it for me?" Speak to them in their language by designing content around buyer personas.

A buyer persona is when you slice your marketplace into individual groups of people. They are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations and concerns.

For instance, if you are a marketing manager at a hotel who is looking to bring in new business, you might target five buyer personas: an independent business traveller, a corporate travel manager, an event planner, a vacationing family, and a couple planning their wedding reception.
Additional Reading: How to Develop a Targeted Buyer Persona

5) Protect Optimized Pages

Getting found online is essential to improving the rest of your site metrics. If no one is coming to your site, how can you increase leads, downloads, or sales? Here are some tips to designing your content with search friendly topics:

  • Document your most search-valued pages – Figure out which pages receive the most traffic, inbound links, convert the most leads and ultimately cover the most influence topics. If you plan to move highly valuable pages, create proper 301 redirects.

  • Create a 301 redirect strategy – This is important in terms of retaining traffic and link value associated with a page. Try creating a spreadsheet to record and map out your 301 redirects (old URLs vs new URLs). Then hand this document to someone technical for implementation.

  • Do your keyword research – For every page, pick one keyword/ topic that the page will focus on. Once you determine the keyword(s), use on-page SEO best practices to optimize those specific pages.

6) Analyze Your Competition

While we don't recommend obsessing over your competitors, it helps to know how you compare. Here's a few tips:

  • Run your website through Marketing Grader to get a report card of how your website and marketing is performing.

  • Run your competitors through Marketing Grader so you are aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Take a look at competitor websites, and note what you like and what you don't. This is not meant to copy them, but to uncover what you can do better.

Once you run the analysis, put together an action list of what areas you can improve and what you can do differently that your competitors.

7) Inventory Your Assets

While a redesign is a great way to improve results, there are countless ways it can hurt you. Your existing website contains many assets that you have built up, and losing those during a redesign can damage your marketing. For instance, such assets might include:

  • Most shared or viewed content

  • Most trafficked pages

  • Best performing/ranking keywords and associated pages

  • Number of inbound links to individual pages

For example, if you remove a page that has a higher number of inbound links, you could lose a lot of SEO credit, which will make it increasingly difficult for you to get found.

Keep in mind that many web designers don't consider this step because they are neither marketers nor SEO specialists. Don't hesitate to remind them about this step or take the initiative to do it in advance.

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Flickr Photo Credit: by Jason Garrattley

Written by Murray Sye

Murray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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