Let Your Audience Drive Your Website Redesign

When was the last time your website was updated? Two years ago? Five years ago? 1999? Whether you’re looking for a complete overhaul or some tuneups to your company website, there is much to consider before jumping in. But first, consider this:
The design of your website is the least important part of a website redesign.
Just let that sink in for a second. Okay, ready? Now here’s what the heck we’re talking about.

Common Redesign Snags

The design is based on what’s trendy now

Your web designers will utilize current design trends to give your website a more modern “facelift.” Then the company owners decide if they like this or not. The problem? Your audience doesn’t have a say. Not to mention that you now rely on the prettiness of the site to draw in your target market.

Bells and whistles galorefaeture_bloat-resized-600

You saw this really cool widget on this very popular site, so you should have it on your website, right? Not necessarily. Your audience may not need or want all of the bells and whistles available. Ultimately, you’re guessing which features to include and exclude.

Content plays second fiddle

It’s far too common that much time and energy is put into a web design, but the actual content or “guts” of the site is an afterthought. Many companies ask their design team to “just use the content from the old site, and we’ll tweak it later.”

Newsflash: Today’s audience cares about content. They want to be educated, not distracted.

How do you properly prepare for a website redesign? Here are three crucial steps:

  1. Analyze your current website performance and audience
  2. Focus on function and content
  3. Never stop redesigning!

Analyze your current website performance and audiencegraph

Benchmarking your current site performance is huge! How can you possibly know what to improve on with the next site if you don’t look at previous metrics?
Here’s a list* of items to track:

  • Number of visits/visitors
  • Bounce rate
  • Duration of visits
  • Domain authority
  • Number of new leads/form submissions
  • Total amount of sales generated
  • Current SEO rankings
  • Most-viewed content
  • Most-trafficked pages
  • Best-performing keywords

*Thanks, HubSpot for the 10-Step Checklist For Your Next Website Redesign with this great list of much-needed metrics.

Next, you need to rediscover your audience. Who is viewing your website? Look at the demographics, see what pages they spend the most time on, and analyze their behavior/interactions with the website.

One of the most helpful tools in making a successful redesign strategy is a buyer persona. This is a fictional representation of your ideal customer that includes your ideal customer’s demographics, needs, and behaviors. The buyer persona acts as a guide when determining your customer’s concerns, which leads directly to the features and content you should provide them.

New to Buyer Personas? Download our Persona Toolkit, and start putting together your ideal customer profile.
New Call-to-action

Focus on function and content

Now that you’ve analyzed the data, it’s time to educate your audience and empower them to act.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself about your current site’s function and content:

  • Does my content speak to my customer’s knowledge base or my own?
  • Am I addressing the specific concerns of my audience?
  • How am I setting myself apart from the competition?
  • Am I leading the user’s journey, or are they wandering aimlessly through your site?
  • What is the ultimate goal? What is the ideal action of the user before leaving your site?

Be prepared to answer specific questions to a problem in your content. Overly promotional, cliché content such as “we’re the best in town” or “our services are high quality” tells your audience nothing. Answering the how and why questions will show off your true expertise.

The most important question is what action should the user take on the website. Do you want them to call, visit, or email your business? Figure out how you’ll get the user to this action.

Next, dig deeper. What can you offer your audience? For example, a flood restoration company might offer a downloadable guide to “What to do in case of a flood?” How does this help with sales? If your offer is downloaded, you not only receive a lead from the website, but you have also become a valuable resource for that user. Establishing yourself as an expert in the field has a variety of benefits, including higher domain authority and search rank.

NOTE: Always keep in mind your buyer persona and the benchmarking metrics. Don’t create offers, content, or website features that do not solve specific problems for your target audience.

computerNever stop redesigning

Preparing for a website redesign means preparing to never be done redesigning. The best websites are continuously tweaked due to user response. Maybe you added a feature that you thought would solve a user problem, but after reviewing trends and metrics, you find that your audience doesn’t use it. Don’t be afraid to scrap, improve, or create brand new features. Some marketing analysis corporations* find that websites should evolve rather than be created brand new every few years.

*Check out Kissmetric’s blog on evolutionary design: Why Evolution Beats Revolution

Remember, your website can look sharp, but those good looks look should be backed by research. Analysis, function, content, and more analysis—giving these areas higher priority over design will make for a more effective website redesign.

Download this Complete Checklist to Prepare for a Website Redesign

A cross between a worksheet and checklist, the Website Redesign Checklist:

  • Helps you understand the redesign process.
  • Establishes vital information and plan your strategy.
  • Provides free resources and tools to optimize your website.
  • Allows you to achieve your website goals.

Your website is a powerful marketing tool. Be confident in its design and functionality. Download your free copy of the Website Redesign Checklist and get started.

Download Your Checklist