We have potential clients call frequently with the intent of retooling their web site. The redesign is brought on typically by a multitude of reasons: “The design is old.”; “We have a new brand.” ; “We want to get found by more prospects.” Businesses and organizations that come with a goal of creating a successful balance of creative, search and content are the ones we know are serious.
Before moving or launching your new site, read the tips below and take note:
1) Define your goals
A redesign should focus on ways to impact your business, not just look pretty. What that means is every decision, from design layout, site architecture and SEO should be focused on your goals. Determine your goals in two ways:
The first is to determine what kind of traffic you would like to drive to your site.
Keyword research applies here.
Second, determine what you would like your visitor to do when they land on your site.
Conversion planning applies here.Conversion planning is a guide to the hierarchy of your site so that you guide your visitor to the conversion point (be it a page to read, a product to purchase, a form filled out, a phone call, etc.) and take them through a preplanned path to meet your goal – more leads coming through the door.
2) SEO Assest Inventory
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in launching a new site is to not protect your previous and current marketing efforts that have brought you awareness and conversions to date. In other words: great content, keywords you’re ranking with, inbound links to designated landing pages (and all important pages), successful conversion paths. This is SOOO important.
Many web design experts miss this when the design focus is more important than internet marketing. Discuss with your web designer and developer a plan to setup 301 redirects from your previous indexed URLs (the pages Google and other engines know about) to your new site structure.
3) Setup your Site Architecture To Match The Needs of Your Audience (both Human and Spider)
I’ve heard the saying that “spiders are like 4 year olds with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).” With the growing statistic, even of your human audience, of having a total of 7 seconds to make your first impression online, you can see that both site visitors need the ability to consume information quickly. A spider needs to see keyword directed content in the HTML of your page (like meta data for each page and content of the page as close to the top as possible, lean-mean code basically) – a human needs to quickly navigate and consume content specific to their interest. Setting up the site to create strategic landing pages, then drill down to topic specific pages through links (i.e. siloing) is a helpful advantage to delivering clean, clear content to both audiences.
4) Plan for an Ongoing Content Strategy
One of the best ways to grow awareness and traffic to your site and convert visitors is to develop a strategy for ongoing development for content. Quality, UNIQUE content (i.e. do not copy/paste from other sites) is king to attracting your audience (both human and engine spider) and keep them coming back for more. Build content, build your business faster.
Blogs have the history for frequently updated content, and spiders know it….a blog on your website is good. Not a blog as your website…I said a blog on your website. (future post)
5) Have Web Analytics In Place; Monitor Results
The only way to know whether you are satisfying your goal (and delivering results to your business to make up for the investment!) is to track and monitor your increase in visitors and conversions. As a general rule, if your end result is too design focused, you’ll see fewer leads; If it’s too search focused, you’ll see fewer conversions. With balance in mind, results you will have…your boss will thank you for it! Read more on Analytics
6) Test, Test and Test
“Oh testing, how we love thee.” What a way to determine what’s working and what’s not? Become friends with Google Website Optimizer. Testing is like a focus group, a controlled science experiment (9th grade science comes to mind). Testing demonstrates whether the influence your agency, design firm, neighbor or web developer offered is good advice. Let your visitors tell you what works best for them…then adapt 🙂