Website redesigns are a fundamental part of a long-term marketing strategy. For better or for worse, social media platforms and search engines like Google are continually tweaking their algorithm to improve the user experience…and this means your website must follow that pattern. It is not only a way to keep up with search engine trends, but periodic website redesigns are a necessary component of constant user experience improvement.
Everyone is different in how they approach website redesigns. Some only undertake them every 10 years or so, others do it every 5 years — it really depends on your schedule and budget. However, no matter when you decide to undertake this step, here are some key mistakes to avoid in order to ensure that your website redesign is successful and drives long-term results for your business.
1) Ignoring your data
The first mistake? Ignoring your data. Sounds simplistic, but it is so true and data can really make or break a website redesign’s success. Think of your existing data as a blueprint for the future, and use it to craft your long-term strategy. You might not be paying attention to your analytics data, but it has vital insights that can help you create a laser-focused strategy.
Besides the major numbers such as overall traffic, dive deep into your data. How long are people staying on your page, on average? Are there certain sites of the website that causes users to bounce more than others? Or is there certain kind of content users tend to seek out more? Your data holds the key to understanding the future direction of your marketing strategy, so do not overlook it.
Many businesses tend to get scared off by numbers and complicated analytics tools, and instead focus their energy elsewhere. However, you and your agency can work together to comb through your data, and use these insights to redesign your website to address gaps in customer engagement and ensure your website captures user attention every time.
2) Not identifying the right target audience
Once you have established you have the right data…how do you know you have the right audience? Often, businesses design their website with themselves in mind, rather than the user. This is a fundamental mistake because there are probably aspects of the business overlooked that you might not know, but what your customer is seeking.
Once you have your data, who is it that you are trying to target? Are you trying to attract a niche audience, or do you want your website to stay evergreen and informational? These are questions that will help define your target audience and buyer persona, and ensure that they are on the forefront of your user experience. If there are audiences you are trying to attract, drill down to understand what content they want, and how they access that, as well as the keywords they search. These are just some of the basic components of audience research that you should definitely undertake during the redesign process.
3) Not working with your agency
Your agency will be your best friend, but they might also frustrate you. Redesigns are often stressful, you might think you know better than them about what your audience knows, and the agency might also think they know better. The truth is, both of you bring your own expertise, knowledge, and insight into the process so collaboration is key. Take time to listen, check in, and understand the process and how they come up with their ideas and insights. Usually, agencies are operating on years of experience and expertise as well. The level of information you bring to the table makes it a winning combination.
Instead of working against your agency, work together. Schedule calls on a frequent basis to get a sense of timing, deadlines, and work together on issues before they escalate. If you are unsure about their working style, make sure to ask those questions before you work with them. It is crucial to have a frank chat about what expectations are on both sides, deliverables, and what they need from your team in order to stay on track time-wise.
4) Keeping keyword optimization on the back burner
Your focus might be on content, which is good…but keyword optimization needs to be front and center of your strategy. It is easy to get distracted in the writing process and write loads of content without thinking about what keywords need to be incorporated in order to get maximum SEO impact.
This is another area where your agency’s help is vital, so check in with them to ensure you are all on the same page. Once you have identified your buyer persona and target audience, what kind of content will attract them, and how do you write that in a way that is optimized enough for them to find you? Your agency will have a lot of ideas and directions for this one, so leverage their expertise in this area. They can design content that is optimized correctly without losing quality, as well as incorporate best practices to ensure that your SEO strategy is on track
5) Designing for the present, not the future
Your website redesign strategy needs to keep an eye on the future. As we touched upon it earlier, search engine algorithms are continually changing, how users access websites is also seeing a massive shift. With smartphones becoming more and more ubiquitous for browsing, are you sure your website redesign is ready for these changes? While no one is expecting you or your agency to predict the future, there are certain steps you can undertake so that your website and content is accessible no matter the device, and easy to find even with search engine changes.
Your agency has an outside perspective on where they think the future of SEO is headed, so use their knowledge and experience as a jumping point in that direction. Cutting corners on content strategy, design, and sharing opportunities (i.e. how easily the content can be shared on different platforms) is usually where companies struggle when it comes to future redesign projects. Your content should be the main focus, and work with your agency to understand how you can design and share your content in ways that will ensure that future changes to these different marketing technologies will have less of a negative impact as possible on your long-term digital success.
Link360 is a digital marketing agency located in Greenville, SC. We help businesses that want to grow, but are frustrated that their website is not generating the right leads for them.