Get it right – make your new website a success
In our recent blog on website redesign we explored some of the key issues organisations need to consider before kicking off a marketing project of this kind.
In this post we dig a little deeper into the ingredients that make a successful website project. Whether you are using a freelancer, or working with a dedicated agency, on the redesign of your website there are various aspects to consider at the brief and scoping stage.
In our experience, the most successful website launches are based on strong, clear briefs that go further than simply explaining how the site should look and feel. Today’s digital marketing landscape is rich with data, making it possible to base decisions about your new website on real insight.
The approaches we recommend here are not just important in terms of learning lessons from your current (old) website, but are also key factors to incorporate in the launch of the new site. What follows here is by no means exhaustive – we’d be talking a blog a day for the rest of the year (and next!) to cover the subject in every last detail, however these are the highlights:
- Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console (GSC)
First and foremost, all websites should be integrated with GA and GSC. If your current website developer or agency has not already put this in place on your current site, you really need to question their expertise (or lack of it). The integration is incredibly simple and is a powerful – and free – way of understanding how a website is performing. Analysis from GA and GSC on your current site can give you real insight and help to develop your new platform.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Building a new website without consideration to SEO (the natural search) is akin to designing a new car without an engine. Here are some of the things to bear in mind and discuss with your developer or web agency before they start building the site:
– Page load times – if it takes too long for a page to load, this is a turn-off for users and search engines.
– User-friendly navigation and content – think easy-to-use, easy-to-find, clear space and well-presented (see Conversion Rate Optimisation below).
– Page redirects – You need to make sure the transition from your old (existing) site is as seamless as possible for the user (and Google). Therefore if any URL’s are changing or being removed, these need to be redirected to the new ones. If you already have a website with SEO-friendly URLs, these will need to be redirected to ensure that no errors occur when people visit existing links or bookmarked pages.
– External links – if you have links to your site placed on any external, high-profile website (also called an ‘authority’ sites) and that the URL is set to change, you will want to inform the owners of these sites of the change.
- Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
Considering how best to get people to take a desired action on your new website is an important part of the website design process. It involves thinking about your users/target audience, their requirements and the journey they (and you) want to take through your website. If they visit one page, what is the goal? Where do you want them to go from there? What action do you want them to carry out? You’ll need to think about this when you put together the content and structure of the new site, and ensure you build in a clear, call-to-action on every page to maximize the number of conversions.
Looking at your conversion rate in conjunction with other tools provides a clear idea of how your current site is performing and what lessons you can carry through to the new one. You can integrate CRO with user testing, split-tests, heat-mapping tools and GA to really understand the true picture. Once your new site is up and running (we recommend giving it a little while to bed-in and gather some fresh traffic) you should continue to work on CRO to generate the best results from your site.
When you launch your new website, heat-maps can also provide quick insight as to what’s working and what’s not. It may be that certain pages on your new site work better than others in terms of how your audience responds, so you will want to learn from this swiftly and make improvements.
Usability Geek sums up user-testing well: “You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but people will leave immediately if they are unable to figure out how to navigate your site quickly”.
There are a number of great usability tools that will help you identify any problems with the design of your site that may be hindering the experience for your users. User-testing is a smart way of testing out different approaches to things like navigation and page structure, as you can expose different groups of test-users to different options and see how each group engages with each.
If you have a website redesign project in mind, or would like to talk to us about how we can help you take a project forward (including the all-important project management aspect), do get in touch.