Every now and then a website needs a refresh. There are many good reasons for a website redesign, whether it's a rebranding, moving onto a new content management system (CMS), the site is getting lackluster results or it looks like it was built in 1999 (yikes).
Eventually, there comes a time when you've gathered all the low-hanging fruit possible. That's when you need a bigger change. Radical redesign is a great way to transform your site into a beautiful new butterfly.
A redesign can be a huge success - or it could fail terribly. After all, it's a long and tedious process. That's where checklists can make your job a whole lot easier. Whether you're working with an agency or redesigning in-house, this checklist will save you some headaches.
But, I will admit, this is not your average checklist. While many detailed and tactical checklists are available online (we list a few for you on page 16), the one thing commonly overlooked - that can make or break your redesign - is how the redesign will support (and improve) your overall marketing efforts. Your website isn't a silo. And it's not just about design. Your website affects your social media, email marketing, lead generation, brand awareness and sales strategies.
That's what this checklist solves for: turning your website into an inbound marketing machine for long term success.
Before you start thinking about anything, document your current performance metrics.
Start by analyzing your existing site, including;
If you don't have access to this information, then I absolutely recommend using a tool like Google Analytics or Hubspot's closed-loop analytics for better tracking and visibility into site performance.
If you're considering a redesign, there needs to be a good reason for it. Many times we hear "just because we haven't done one in awhile" or "I want my business to look bigger". These are not good reasons for a redesign. It's not about how it looks, but how it works.
But be really clear about why you are doing the redesign in the first place and tie it to measurable results. Then communicate your goals with your team, designer or agency. Consider the following objectives for your own website;
Many of these goals are dependent upon each other. For example, in order to get more conversions, you need to increase your traffic while decreasing bounce rate, so it's common to have many of these objectives. Some may be more important than others for your business.
Once you determine the list, tie those objectives to a specific success metric e.g., "to increase site traffic by 50% in the next six months."
Set SMART Goals with our fillable worksheet to get started.
While redesign is a great way to improve results, there are countless ways it can hurt you. Your existing website contains a lot of assets that you have built up, and losing those during a redesign can damage your marketing.
Such assets might include:
For example, if you remove a page that has a higher number of inbound links, you could lose a lot of SEO credit, which could decrease keyword rankings.
Keep in mind that many web designers don't consider this step because they are not marketers.
While it doesn't help to obsess over your competition, it helps to know how you compare.
Another helpful tool is Growth Bot, where you can analyze any statistic about things on the web by simply asking a question in Facebook Messanger.
Once you run through the analysis, put together an action list of what areas you can improve and what you can do differently than your competitors.
Before you begin crafting your content, be clear about your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) so that it is consistent across your entire website If you attract a high number of unique visitors, or you're a new business, your visitors might not be very familiar with you and what you do.
You need to immediately answer if what you do is right for them, and why they should buy/convert/stay on your website and not flee to your competitors.
When crafting your UVP, make sure you sound human. Do not use gobbledygook. Consider the following example of how we could describe Media Garcia in a gobbledy gook way:
Media Garcia works with small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their brands, voices and presence within the digital marketplace. We achieve this through marketing automation through Inbound Marketing and HubSpot software, growth driven design and business intelligence analytics, diving into data for a synergistic view that determines and prioritizes high-value marketing activities.
Uh....? Let's translate that into the way people actually speak:
Media Garcia empowers small businesses and entrepreneurs with tools to transform their business and expand their presence within the digital marketplace.
That makes more sense! This step defines how the world communicates with your website. It can dramatically affect your bounce rates and conversion rates. Don't skip this step!
Your website is not just about you. Your visitors ask, "what's in it for me?" Speak to them in their language by designing content around buyer personas.
A buyer persona is when you slice your marketplace into individual groups of people. They are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations and concerns.
For instance, if you are a marketing manager at a hotel who is looking to bring in new business, you might target five buyer personas:
Consider the following when building your buyer personas:
Your website is a great way to match your messaging to the needs of different buyer personas. Build your pages into categories to fit these personas, or offer content in a way that your prospects can easily find what's relevant for them.
We've made a Buyer Persona Workbook to save you time.
Getting found online is essential to improving the rest of your site metrics. If no one is coming to your site, how can you increase leads, downloads, or sales? Here are some tips to designing your site for search engine optimization (SEO):
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are the elements on your website that drive visitors to take an action, whether it's a whitepaper download, contacting sales, or a product purchase. Your website shouldn't be a static brochure but should prompt your visitors to do something that further engages them in your brand.
When you're planning for redesign, think of all the potential opportunities for conversion. For example:
While the "design" of your website is important, focus on the functional. Make sure there are plenty of calls-to-action so you don't lose visitors.
If you have more content, on average you will have more website visitors and grow your business faster. A 100-page website will beat out a 10-page website 99% of the time. And a 500-page website is even better, especially when it includes a constant flow of fresh content. Build a strategy to continue to add more and more content to your website over time.
Any website built today should include these basics: a homepage, product pages, industry resources and a Contact Us/About Us page. But of course, there are more basics that can really make your website awesome.