Your website serves as a 24/7 storefront and is the core of nearly every marketing initiative. A solid, strategic website allows you to control how your brand is presented, how visitors are funneled throughout the various sections and acts as an informational hub for customers and prospects.
Refreshing or redesigning your website is easier said than done. A website redesign project contains quite a few moving parts, so it is important to approach it with a logical plan.
Determine Functionality & Visitor Flow
Build out a sitemap and content outline to determine how many pages your site will have, how they will be organized and the information they will contain.
Concurrently, think about how you want your site to function. If you simply want to provide information, you can create a clean, brochure-like website. If you are focused on sales conversions, make note of specific calls to action, forms and landing pages to collect users’ data and funnel them through a defined path.
If you intend to utilize email marketing, be sure to build landing pages that align with your campaigns. If you will collect visitor information via forms, integrate those forms with a customer relationship management (CRM) software or another database.
Copywriting & Key Message Development
Before you start the design and development processes, it’s important to define your target audiences and goals, and tailor your messaging to them. Do you want the site to contain the same key messages and calls to action as your current site, or would you like to change the direction? Does your copy fully address the most common pain points and selling points that your customers experience? Use the answers to these questions to develop your content.
The copy should reflect your company’s personality, or brand voice. It should be clear and make complex or confusing topics easily digestible. Your website is the place to spell out your company’s competitive advantages, too—what makes your product or service superior to others?
With that said, according to Chartbeat, 55 percent of users spend less than 15 seconds reading website content. In many cases, that’s simply because the copy is unclear or untargeted, or it is laid out poorly. To avoid common pitfalls, structure your copy so it’s easy to skim. Keep your paragraphs short and include subheads and bulleted lists wherever possible to break up large blocks of text. This practice makes your site attractive not only to readers, but also to search engines.
Graphic Design, Structure & Layout
Once copy has been finalized, your site is ready to move into the design phase. A professional marketing company will help ensure your navigation is intuitive and functional, and that your site includes high-quality imagery or graphics to further engage visitors. It should be responsive across desktop computers and mobile devices. According to Flurry, U.S. consumers spend an average of five hours per day on mobile devices, with eight percent of that time on Internet browsers (and, potentially, your website).
Your designer should provide you with comps of a few website pages, such as the homepage and an interior page, before your site moves into the final coding phase. This practice will allow you to review the design to ensure that all stakeholders agree on the look and feel of the site, which can save time and money on revisions during the development phase.
Drive Traffic to Your New Website
When your site is live, it’s time to start strategic outreach to drive traffic there. This can be done via email newsletters, social media, traditional media outreach and content marketing. Your site will act as an informational home base for individuals who visit from any of those sources.
As your brand continues to evolve, be sure to update your website with relevant news and new products or services.
Brand messaging can change over time, and that’s normal. As your brand and marketing strategy continues to grow and develop, it is important that your website reflects that in order to provide customers and potential customers with the most relevant and helpful information.