You’ll hear a lot of brand marketers ask for a web -refresh, -redesign, -reskin, but what they actually need is a website renovation.
The last website cycle was all about responsive design. Making your website mobile friendly. This cycle is about getting back to basics and (re)defining what the role of the website actually is. We need to break down the existing structure and build on a new foundation that is centered around a frictionless user experience and a conversion strategy.
The website is one of the most valuable tools in a brand’s arsenal, but it so often receives the least amount of investment both in initial imagination and in continual investment and improvement.
We spend millions of dollars in advertising and most of those tactics are driving where? Your website. So, we must make sure that the website is delivering on the brand experience and maximizing your investment.
That’s why it’s so important to think of your website as a conversion engine. In the previous generation of websites, we tried to be all things to all people but in this new generation we need to make the conversion strategy super clear.
In other words, let your marketing ecosystem do the hard work and let your website close the deal. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not thinking of your marketing program in conjunction with your website. Between what your consumer just saw/clicked and where they land, it is imperative to make sure that it’s relevant, contextual, and most importantly actionable. Especially as we grow in sophistication with omnichannel and multichannel marketing programs.
Conversion doesn’t always equal sale and that’s the nuance of a strategic website renovation. You must define the role of the website within your marketing ecosystem. Your conversion strategy could be centered around lead gen, a registration, a download, sequential page views for education, engagement for retargeting, soliciting reviews, etc.
With a strong conversion strategy powering your website we can move beyond the vanity metrics of bounce rate, time on site, page views, etc. And correlate website actions to higher business objectives and demonstrate true business impact. With this correlation you can demonstrate the value of the website and why you need a strong investment strategy in your owned properties in addition to your marketing spend.
5 Tips to Consider When Planning Your Website Renovation
1. Your homepage is actually your back door: Most people who enter your site through your homepage already know who you are so you can stop using this page to introduce yourself and focus on what visitors want to do and what you want them to do.
2. Not every page needs to be in your navigation: Use orphan pages (pages that are not included in your main navigation) to provide more specific and more contextual content and entrances for site visitors. This allows you to create multiple strategic front doors to your website that can be used for both organic search, paid media tactics, and owned channel referrals such as email.
3. Information density is a choice: Use multiple pages to create content funnels of information density. This gives users control on the level of detail they’re interested in. The main navigation will typically be the lowest level of detail with links to dive deeper for those who are most interested and want to know more. Users who are looking for more in-depth information are typically searching directly for it both on site and through search engines such as Google.
4. Make sure your conversion action is worth its cost: Now that you’re focused on a primary action you want your visitor to take, make sure that what they get out of it is of equal or greater value to the investment they must make (time, information, money, etc.).
5. Limit options and provide no dead ends: Make sure on every page it’s clear what the next best action is for visitors based on what they just did or what they just consumed. But remember, this is the next best action, not all next possible actions. You want to limit choices to maximize getting visitors to your goal while also avoiding user paralysis by providing too many choices and putting the burden of choice on them.