Whether you are working with an agency or plan on making updates to your business website in-house, it is important to establish a well-thought out plan for what changes to make and the reason for making those changes.
Too many times, businesses have invested large sums of money into a new website with the hopes to increase traffic, and visitor-customer conversions, only to be let down because the right questions were not asked during the planning stages of design and development.
Although a NEW LOOKING website can go a long way, it is not the sole reason why new websites will prosper. It is only one of many contributing factors of a website; we’d like to get the ball rolling and offer you a number of questions you can ask yourself, and topics you can research; before deciding that a website redesign is exactly what your business needs to enhance your online communications.
Benchmark your current website metrics
If you don’t already have Google Analytics installed on your website, install it RIGHT NOW! This is a free tool that Google offers, it will allow you to track how many visits you have, demographical information on those visitors, your most popular pages on your website, how long your visitors are staying on your website and much more. Install it now, and let it run for 1 month. If you do have Google Analytics installed, continue reading ;)
By monitoring the following statistics monthly, you will be able to assess if the changes are making a difference to your visitors and the effectiveness of your website. By using the following questions, you will be able to see if the changes you are making to your website are producing the results you are looking for.
- What is the number of visits/visitors and unique visitors monthly?
- What is your monthly average bounce rate?
- What is the monthly average visit duration of your website?
- What are your top performing keywords?
- How many conversions did you make in a month?
- What are your most highly trafficked web pages?
- What third-party websites are referring most to your websites?
Determine your business goals
Using the above questions as a starting point, you should be able to determine specific goals and attach a number to that goal. The results from your google analytics statistics will give you a base line for setting realistic goals.
Determining your business goals and how you can achieve them through your website is an important ingredient for success. WHY are you doing the redesign? What aspects of your website do you want to change, what’s working right now? What is not working, and how can you change it – so that it will work in the future.
- What is your business’s message?
- Is your message and branding staying the same? Or is it changing?
- What needs to be changed? Why?
Define your target audience
Take some time to establish who your target audience is. Who are the people your website is made for, what kinds of content are relevant to them? What would they like or dislike about your existing website?
Do you currently have a clearly defined target audience? If you don’t or if you’re unsure of whether or not you do. Build yourself a Buyer Persona. Develop a profile of a person or persons, who would represent the types of people within your target audience. The types of work environment they live in, their stresses, their needs, their pain points! For more information, read our blog on Buyer Personas.
Analyze your competition
Now that you have a good idea of whom your target audience is and what some of the business goals you would like to accomplish are, you should invest time into analyzing and researching your competition. How are you competitors marketing and trying to provide solutions to your target audience? What are they doing differently from you? Are there things they are doing better? What are they doing worse? How would you improve on their strategy?
- Are there competitors’ sites that you really like? If so, which ones? What do you like most about them?
- What are the top 3 most competitive keywords in your industry? ( words your potential customers would type into the google search box when looking for your product or service)
- Who are your top-ranked competitors?
Analyze your current website
Use your current website as the basis of where to move forward when designing and developing your new website. Below are some questions you can ask yourself when planning your new website.
- What do I currently like and dislike about my website?
- What is missing from the current website?
- How is my current website accomplishing my business goals?
- What is the first impression I want to give my website visitors?
- Does my website currently convey a feeling of trustworthiness and authority?
- What is our budget for this project?
- What platform do I want my new website on? (A content management system like WordPress, Joomla, etc.?)
- What content stays?
- What content goes?
- What content needs to be re-written?
- What new call-to-action buttons need to be added?
What questions did you find most helpful?
What other questions would you ask yourself when planning for a website redesign?