Want to increase your visitor’s time on site but have no idea where to start? In some cases (many actually), a few tweaks may be all you need to make the difference in their website experience. However, there are times where you may have had your website quite a while and you haven’t made any changes. Other times maybe you did an overhaul and then realized the results just weren’t what you expected and the user experience of your website isn’t what you had anticipated. In these cases, making a few tweaks isn’t the answer. Instead, it’s time to learn what your website is doing wrong, do an overhaul and make it better.
In the B2B market, and even now in some B2C markets your website is the face of your brand. It’s the first place buyers go to research your company. B2B buying is usually more than just a one click purchase. It’s a process and you want to ensure that your website allows for B2B buyers to get the information they want and go on a journey that keeps them coming back until they’re ready to buy.
We can’t tell you exactly the type of website your users want because each industry is different. However, we’ve put together a few tips for your website overhaul that helped us during our redesign to increase our conversion rates and double your time on site. (And speaking of overhauls, have you taken a tour through our new website yet?)
8 Tips for your Website Overhaul
- Make a list of everything you need to think about before building the site: This is your brainstorming session. Get your team together and take a good long look at your current website. Write down everything you want on your new website, everything you need to think about on the back end, how you want your company personality portrayed throughout the site, the experience you want your users to have, etc. Write down everything! Remember, this list isn’t set in stone and you can delete unnecessary items later in the project but you don’t want to be kicking yourself on launch day because you forgot to add something that you didn’t think about.
- Figure out your website’s main goal: For our Sugar Market, previously Salesfusion, website overhaul, we put a heavy focus on user experience. We wanted to define the tone of our website from the first click. Users can feel our personality the second they visit salesfusion.com. No matter what tone you’re going for (technical, playful, serious, witty), ensure that your messaging, videos and animation follow the tone throughout. It’s also important to create a natural path for your users. Think about the experience you enjoy when you’re clicking through websites and plan accordingly.
- Find a partner to do your website overhaul that you trust: Just because your son’s friend’s brother built a website in high school doesn’t necessarily qualify him as a web designer. Your neighbor has a blog that she pays for and does a bit of graphic design on the side. This also does not qualify her as a web designer. You don’t need to find the largest and most reputable designer in the country and pay them millions to design your site. But you do need to find a partner with the experience and background you trust. Read reviews, interview them, make sure their personality matches yours, do your research.
- Define your SEO strategy from the beginning: In case you haven’t heard about it a million times, SEO refers to search engine optimization – the process of optimizing your website so that people can easily find it via search engines like Google. SEO should be a proactive strategy, not reactive. Defining your SEO strategy comes with finding a trusted partner that will help guide you through this process. However, we have a few high level steps to get your SEO strategy started.
- Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen: Remember the group of people you got together to create the list of everything you want on your website (see Tip #1)? You probably don’t need that whole group together again until you’re new website is live. With a kitchen full of cooks, there is often not a chef. The same can happen in a website overhaul. With too many people involved, the original designs and ideas for the website can get lost in a chaotic world of edits and opinions. Choose a few key people to be involved in the process from start to finish. Invite everyone else back at the end.
- Have interesting and engaging content throughout: This may seem like a given but you’d be surprised. No matter how nice the design looks, your content is the heart of your website. Your content is why visitors keep coming back and spending longer time on site. Your content is why visitors send friends to your site. Keep in mind, content doesn’t mean just a bunch of blog posts. Content is how you present yourself throughout, i.e. videos, eBooks, infographics, animated gifs. A variety of content creates an experience that doesn’t put the user to sleep.
- Cut what needs to be cut on your existing site and move on: We know, we know … you spent hours and days creating all the content and cool features for your existing website. It’s hard to let it go, we get it. But sometimes it has to happen. Take some time to research what was engaging to people before and move those pieces to the new site. However, you’re going to learn that your current site probably has a great piece of content (or a few) that nobody has ever spent time on. Do as our favorite snow queen, Elsa says and Let it Go!
- Ensure a content management system (CMS) you can continue to customize in-house after go-live: Choosing a CMS can be tricky. Without a clearly defined set of requirements for your CMS, it’s easy to get seduced by some fancy functionality you will never use. The good news is, as long as you’re not using your son’s friend’s brother (see Tip #3) to build your site – unless of course, he works for an actual web design company with real web design experience – the partner you work with during this process can help you select a CMS that is customizable and fits your needs. You need to easily be able to make ongoing custom edits in-house after the initial overhaul project is over.
Finally, remember that it’s not over when it’s over. A truly engaging website, and one that you can continue to be proud of changes subtly over time. It becomes better each time you load it – more intuitive, more relevant. When you launch your new website, that moment is really just the beginning. All the work on the back end leading up to launch day is only the starting point for a long-term strategy. Do you remember when we stressed picking a partner you trust? This is why. You need to picture yourself working with this team in the future. A website overhaul is more than just a few color changes, it’s ultimately a brand makeover.