It happens to all organizations. One day you wake up and notice that your company’s website needs a major refresh. Maybe it’s looked the same for 3 years (Where did the time go?). Maybe it’s because you’ve just had a major rebranding and the site needs to reflect your new positioning. Or maybe your site is just not getting the traffic and conversions it used to. Whatever the reason, it’s time for a change.
It’s a daunting process that can be made easier with a website redesign checklist. And we have one for you. But this is not just any web redesign checklist. It’s focused on one major goal – to support your overall marketing efforts.
Bottom line: this checklist will turn your new website into an inbound marketing machine.
1. Benchmark Your Current Metrics
Establish a starting point for improvement by analyzing your current website stats. Here is a list of metrics you should track:
- Traffic – number of visits/visitors/unique visitors
- Likability – bounce rate
- Usage – time on site
- Ranking – SEO ranking (Choose important keywords)
- Performance ranking – Domain authority, key page authority
- Conversion – Number of new leads/form submissions
- Sales – Total $ amount of sales generated
2. Clarify Your Goals
When redesigning a website, subjective aesthetics often take far too big a role in the decision making process. It’s not that we don’t love beautiful sites and that you should not strive for brand elegance. However, if your focus is on inbound marketing and measurable results, then your goals should reflect that.
Here are some metrics to measure in relation to your goals:
- Number of visits/visitors
- Bounce rate
- Time on site
- Domain authority
- Number of new leads/form submissions
- Total amount of sales generated
- Current SEO rankings for important keywords
3. Protect Yourself. Inventory Your Assets.
Take an inventory of your website assets, including:
- Most shared or viewed content
- Most trafficked pages
- Best performing keywords you rank for and associated pages
- Number of inbound links to individual pages
Why is this important? Let’s say, in your redesign, you remove a page that has a high number of inbound links. When the links disappear you could lose a lot of the SEO credit you’ve earned.
4. Analyze The Competition
Visit your competitors’ websites. Act like a customer and try to be objective about what you like or don’t like about their sites. We are not talking about copying them – but rather this is a way to discover what you can do better.
5. Identify Your Unique Value Proposition
Create a clear and compelling unique value proposition (UVP) that is reinforced and consistent throughout your website.
Your UVP is NOT your company corporate mission statement. Instead, think of your UVP as a :30 second elevator pitch.
6. Build Your Design Around Your Personas
Your website is not for you. It’s really for your customers and prospects. One way to identify prospects is by creating customer personas. Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on analyzed data. The more you know about your customers and prospects, the more dimensional and useful your personas can be.
7. Optimize Your Site For Search
Here are some search engine optimization tips to help get your site found:
Document Your Most Search-Valued Pages
Know which pages have the strongest SEO juice, the most traffic, inbound links, and keywords rankings.
Create A 301 Redirect Strategy
We think this is THE most important step in terms of retaining traffic and rankings. Create a spreadsheet to map your pages and where they should redirect.
Do Your Keyword Research
Pick one or two keywords or keyword phrases for each page. Then apply on-page SEO tactics, such as internal link building and optimizing your header tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.).
8. Convert with Calls-to-Action
The days of the website as a virtual brochure are long past. You want to drive your visitors to take an action – fill out a form to download a whitepaper, request a demo, or buy a product. Use a Call-to-Action graphic, button or link to get visitors to provide their contact information and interact with your site.
9. Plan for an Ongoing Content Strategy
In the world of inbound marketing, less is not more, especially when it comes to content. It’s important to build a strategy that’s all about adding more and more content to your website over time.
Here are some ways you can do it.
Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors and 88% more leads than those who do not.
When written with content and search in mind, press releases can do wonders for your search optimization.
Creating content takes time. Think about outsourcing some of your content creation to a freelance writer or agency.
10. Don’t Forget The Extras!
Here are some extras that can make your redesigned website awesome:
RSS is allows content from your website to be automatically pushed out to other websites and people who subscribe.
Social Sharing Buttons
Make it easy for people to share your content. Add social media sharing buttons and links to all your pages.
Remember your goals? If you want to measure the success of your redesign it’s critical measure your success.
How your website looks is important. But more important is how it works. When the two work hand in hand, it is a thing of beauty.
Because the website is such an important element in any company’s marketing, a redesign needs to integrate with all of your online marketing efforts, be they email, social media, lead generation and nurturing, PR and advertising and take your entire marketing plan into account.
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net