Most of my clients are rebuilding their websites. The reasons, at first, appear to be similar. They are tired of the “look” of the site, it doesn’t accomplish what they want it to, it is hard to update. These are all valid reasons to consider a web refresh.
But, before you rush into building a new website, here are some steps to consider that will ensure you build a website that will best serve your organization’s needs.
1. Take note of your metrics. How is your current website performing? An easy way to look at this is to track the number of visitors to your site as well as the bounce rate. How much time are visitors spending on your site and how many new leads are being generated from the site? I would also suggest looking at the strength of your website in the search engine rankings. This information is available through Google Analytics.
2. Determine the goals for the website. “It’s been a while” is not a good reason to rebuild. Tie the goals into what you want the site to accomplish and what information you want it to provide (looking at page traffic is a good place to start). What is working well on your current site? What content is being shared and viewed? What keywords are working best? There’s nothing worse than throwing out pieces of the website that are performing the best! Then make sure to create measurable results.
3. Analyze your Competition and come up with action list. Do they have a social media presence? How many pages do they have on their websites? What inbound links are on their sites?
4. Make sure your USP is up to date and meaningful. What makes your company special? Short is key as is repetition. It take a message three times to sink in.
5. Define your target audiences. Now that you’re redoing your website, it is good time to consider what individuals and organizations are best suited for your marketing message. I recommend creating psychographic profiles for your target audience that will help you get at what motivates them to buy your offering. What problems are they trying to solve? What do they want? How can you get them further along the decision-making process?
6. Define Calls to Action to create user engagement. These are dependent on your industry but enticements such as coupons, loyalty programs, sweepstakes, and free trials are a great way to attract customers to your website. Even traditional email/newsletter signups can help.
7. Don’t forget SEO. Now that you’ve identified the pages with the strongest SEO rankings, most traffic and inbound links make sure they are part of the web rebuild. Use a 301 redirect if you are planning to move pages so you don’t lose the ranking. Make sure your headers are optimized and pick two or three keywords per page to focus on.
8. Next Steps. If you really want your website investment to pay off you need to create a strategy to create new content. Building your website and putting it on the shelf won’t work for long. You can create new content using a blog, uploading new press coverage and sending eblasts. Generating new content will keep the google bots happy. So test different calls-to-action, update page copy, add landing pages as well as social media buttons to encourage viewers to share your content.
Be patient and vigilant. If you track your metrics and update your web content frequently your customers will find you!