7 vital steps to follow to get maximum ROI with your next website redesign project
Today the opportunity cost of settling for a mediocre or below average website as compared to your competition can be significant. Research has shown that a prospects chance of doing business with your brand is highly influenced by their interactions with your website or application. Regardless of the size of your company you need to be strategic about the process of redesign to ensure that you do not waste your time and money and more importantly that you get the maximum return from your website or application redesign. In this article, I will outline the mindset and vital steps that are necessary to ensure that your redesign project is a success and how you can get a 2, 3 and even a 10 fold return on your website redesign investment.
But before we get into the details of how you can get max ROI from your website redesign, let’s find out if you even need to do a redesign? How can you know whether your website is leaving money on the table and is in need of a redesign? It’s possible that your website on the surface works fine and passes all the usability testing and yet you still observe some underlying problems.
See if any of this sounds familiar.
- High bounce rates: people come but leave as soon as they arrive
- Low conversion rates: you’re getting the right amount of traffic but a very low percentage of your traffic is actually buying your product or service
- Low engagement with your content: not enough visitors are turning into leads
- One of many: there is very little differentiation between your product or services and your competitors’ products and services
If you answered yes to any of the above problems then a website redesign is necessary. OK so now that you have established that a website redesign is needed then how do you ensure that you get maximum ROI for this venture?
The first step in getting maximum ROI on your website redesign starts with your mindset. To get maximum return on your website redesign investment (ROI) you need to view your website redesign as an investment. We propose that a website above anything else is an investment and, therefore, the decision process for redesigning a website or application should be subject to the same level of discipline when evaluating any other type of investments (employee hire, office equipment, etc). The underlying objective for your website redesign project should be whether or not your investment will yield a desirable return (ROI).
To get maximum return on your website redesign investment (ROI) you need to view your website redesign as an investment.
Based on my experience one of the biggest reasons why a lot of website or application redesigns fail is because of executives in those companies view their digital product and the team who design and build them as part of the cost, and not as an investment. Yet from my experience, one of the best investment opportunities today that consistently yields the highest returns is an effective website redesign, provided that your business is solving a problem in high demand and that you have the right solution for that problem. It is not uncommon to see returns of 300%, 500%, and even 1000% from a well-executed website redesign investment. To give these numbers some context Warren Buffet who is one of the most successful investors in private equity (stocks) is happy with a 20% return per annum. Investing in the Toronto real estate yields an average of 8% return per annum.
So let’s dive in and look at the principles for planning for a website redesign for maximum ROI.
Here are the main topics I will be discussing.
- Analyze what is working and what’s not
- Establish your business goals
- Know your customers
- Study your competition
- Review & Optimize your content
- Devise a website Strategy
- Test, Learn, Repeat
Analyze what is working and what’s not
You already have an idea of some of the issues with your current site but don’t make any assumptions, in web redesign project done-well opinions are a dime a dozen. Don’t ever base your redesign decisions based on what you or someone in your company thinks or assumes needs changing or what is trending or what not — let the data be your guide. Start Google Analytics or Crazy Egg or whatever analytic tool of your choice is, to see what the data reveal about your website problem areas. Look at where your traffic is coming from and what your most visited pages are. What pages have high bounce rates? Use heat maps and user interviews & recordings to find out how users are behaving with your site. Using these tools will give you ideas of what pages need to redesign the most and also where you need to revise, add or delete any existing content. The three metrics to use when analyzing your old site are business goals metrics, user goals metrics, and site metrics.
Another tactic you should use is Surveys and questionnaires or polls from your current user base to find out usability and user metric issues directly from your audience. Pick up the phone and call them and do whatever you can to speak to your current audience directly and find out what are some of the issues they are having with your website.
Make a list of everything that is working and is not working. Prioritize the items that are not working based on which will have the most impact on your business and move those items to the top of the to-do-list. Make sure that you move the items that are currently working to a do-not-tamper list.
Establish your business goals
Ask the right questions here. What are you trying to accomplish with your website? How can you use your website to achieve business goals? Some examples of answers could be:
- Increase sales
- Generate Leads
- Reduce support costs
- Increase customer loyalty
- Support sales team
The design and usability of the website or app should serve your business goal. The key takeaway here is that a website redesign is not about making the site look prettier or more trendy but really how you can make it function better to serve your business goals better. Knowing what your goals are upfront will guide the entire redesign team to focus on the right areas that will impact your business the most. Ultimately you establish early on that the success or failure of your redesign is determined by your customers and not you.
Know your audience
Identify your dream customer. Pareto’s principle states that 20% of your customers represent 80% of your revenue. Define your best customers (20%) but go beyond rudimentary data like age, gender, and location, you must know them intimately. You need to uncover your best customer’s deepest desires and fears, what their hopes are and what their wishes are. Get beyond the obvious and work out how your audience thinks, feels and acts. As your products or services evolve then so should your messaging to address your user needs. As Robert Collier said… ‘‘Enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind’’.
Once you define your best customer then create buyer personas and base your design decisions around what would appeal to your targeted demographic.
Study your competition
Keep your customers close but your competition closer, or something like that! But seriously write down your top 5 competitors names and then do a deep dive into their websites. Make notes of all the things they are doing right. Are there any areas where you can do better than them? You don’t need to be the best you just need to be better than your competition! I also recommend that you expand your analysis to verticals and companies that are NOT your direct competition but can serve as an inspiration to give you ideas on innovative solutions for your business and potentially out-smart your competition.
Review & Optimize your content
Go through your content and identify areas where you need to update your content to speak better to your power customer (that 20%). Perhaps you need to remove and archive content that is not relevant anymore and maybe write new content for new sections to better drive your business goals. Remember: form follows function, and in this context form is content. Your design should follow your content and not the other way around. This is also a good opportunity to make sure that your content is optimized for search engines.
Devise a website Strategy
Having a website strategy is the most critical step in a successful redesign project. If you don’t have a site strategy then it doesn’t really matter whatever else you do — you will never get to your destination if you don’t know where you’re going! Your website strategy is your company rally call. It’s what will bind your vision and purpose together and help everyone else on your team to contribute to your cause with purpose. Please note that a site strategy is not be confused with objectives. Objectives are goals and strategies are the means to achieve your objectives.
Test, Launch, Learn, Repeat
The internet and user behaviour is constantly evolving and changing. On top of that, you have the fast pace of change in technology which brings new opportunities and opens new channels which you need to adapt to or get left behind. You should be viewing your website as a long-term initiative. You should test your site pre-launch and use the feedback to make tweaks for your first launch, but once the site is launched, keep up-to-date with your customers via user testing and customer feedback. Adjust and evolve your site using A/B testing and continuously improve your site engagement and performance, if you do take these you are sure to reap handsome returns unlike any other investment out there.