Business websites are capable of providing more value to your customers than ever before. They’re a 24/7 storefront to your customers that inform, excite, and allow visitors to interact with you whenever they want. They are lead generators, hubs for customer service and resources, and the best place for you to demonstrate your unique brand and values.
Does your website adequately reflect where your business is today – or have you outgrown it? A site redesign is an opportunity to showcase the growth and success of your business with confident new language and powerful stories. Now is the perfect time to start planning a business website design for 2019.
What follows is a step-by-step guide to updating your site and giving it a competitive edge.
Gather Your Team
Two main components of many site updates are design and ongoing content strategy. While, these can all be tackled as one project by the same team, they can also be split up into separate projects and divvied out accordingly. As stakeholders get together, make sure to assign a project owner for each component. With an overarching plan, short and long-term goals, and estimated due dates – pressure can be relieved off any one part of a big project.
Define Your Audiences
Know who your site is trying to reach by outlining your primary customer personas. These personas will guide your content and feature strategies. For instance, if your personas are drastically different, perhaps you’ll need separate landing pages for them.
And don’t forget about any other stakeholders in your business. Your site is the hub of information for everyone connected to your business, not just customers Ask yourself, who are the key people using your site often?
Think through who else you interact with on a regular (or semi-regular) basis, such as prospective employees. Do you need specific sections for press or investors?
While your site will tell your story, some audiences may need different language to meet their needs. This is an opportunity to show people you understand them, speak to your different customers and stakeholders by directly addressing their goals or concerns.
Design for Mobile First
Mobile is taking over. In 2018, 52% of Internet browsing worldwide was done on a mobile device, including phones and tablets. This number has increased every year with the rising popularity of smartphones. People are growing more comfortable doing everything from their mobile device: from making transactions to searching for local businesses and signing up for services.
With over half of all Internet usage coming from mobile devices, it’s important to prioritize how your site will look and function on mobile screens. Customers are coming to your site in all sorts of ways — especially mobile devices — so be ready for them.
Make sure that your web developer is using a responsive design strategy. Responsive designs change with the browser size and look good on any screen.
Want to test if your current website is responsive? Simply make your web browser smaller while looking at your site. A responsive site will automatically change as you shrink your screen.
Try out your site (and competitors’ sites) on different devices and browsers to understand different visitors experience them. You might see your site (or even your business) in a whole new way!
Tell Your Story
Customers respond to stories more powerfully than any other message.
Integrate your story throughout your site by including pages dedicated to the history and values of the company, as well as story-driven blog posts. But a synopsis of your story, values, and services should be found on the homepage. Site visitors should have all the information they need off of the homepage, and be able to take the action they want.
In fact, tell multiple stories: the story of your company, your employees, and your customers. These stories offer site visitors an authentic look into your company that can grow customer loyalty and trust. They’ll inspire your employees, as well.
Plan Content Around Your Goals
Well-thought-out content tells your story. It educates and inspires readers which can lead to brand awareness and trust. Quality content helps convert site visitors into new customers.
Create consistent meaningful posts by aligning your content strategy with your company’s long-term and short-term goals. When you add an idea to your content calendar, match it up with one of these goals. If it doesn’t match a goal, it shouldn’t go on your site.
Think about different mediums — such as videos or podcasts, text-based case studies or interviews — and how they interact with your current marketing strategy.
Remove Barriers to Communication
There are an increasing number of avenues to communicate with your customers both on your site and across the web. While we addressed mobile before, voice search is becoming an important factor to be found online. Are you taking advantage of the ways your customers use the internet? And are you making it easy for your customers to find and contact you wherever they find you?
On your business website:
- Ensure your company’s information is easy to find on search engines
- Consider adding live chat functionality to your website
- Make it easy for people on your site to find you on Social Media and your email
Across the web:
- Always respond to comments and messages via social media channels
- Make sure your company info is up-to-date on listings, such as on Google My Business and other online listings. Tools like Yext are very helpful.
Ask for Feedback and Respond Quickly
Requesting feedback starts a conversation with customers. How are you asking for customer feedback? When updating your website, it’s important to ask customers what they expect and want to find on your site. Anytime a customer takes the time to offer feedback, it deserves a personal response.
Asking for feedback isn’t enough, you must respond. Making changes and acknowledging insights makes people feel known and heard. In an era of automated responses, people truly value knowing that you took the time to respond.
Review Your Marketing Data Quarterly
Reviewing your digital marketing data at least quarterly can help you see the big picture and tweak your content strategy accordingly. Google Analytics, or other site analytics tools, can tell you what content is performing well. Bringing all of your data together will help you paint the clearest picture for your business.
Analytics experts can tell you which pages are converting visitors into potential customers, as well as what content you can revise or add to improve your organic search rankings.
A successful online strategy isn’t a one-time project. For the best results from your website and online presence, consistently review your site’s analytics, maintain a strategic content calendar, request customer feedback and provide multiple avenues to consistently engage with them.