Redesigning your website has many benefits, just like high school in the 80s.
You’ve been told time and time again that your organization’s website needs a redesign. But has anyone ever explained why? Like getting a makeover in a teen movie, it’s important to remember why you’re redesigning the website in the first place. I’ll walk you through a few reasons why your site needs redesigned and how a redesign will benefit you.
Your website isn’t for you
Your website is a place for your customer to find information and solve their own problems. The end goal is to figure out how you can help them troubleshoot faster. Whether you’re selling pens or repairing cars the website should walk customers through the buying journey from discovery to conversion.
In the early days, a business website was basically a place on the internet people could keep their brochures. They were information-packed sites with very little engagement opportunities. Finding a call to action was nearly impossible since that was not what they were intended for. ‘Get the information you need and get out’ was the goal.
It’s like having a man living in Val Kilmer’s closet. He’s always there, has a lot to teach you, but you only really pay attention to him when the CIA is trying to take control of the computer-guided laser you’ve been working on.
Thanks to evolving technology, websites have become interactive and are part of the marketing process. Websites are now intended to walk a customer from start to finish through the buying cycle. A redesign allows you to refocus your website objectives to align with those of your customer. If the customer wants information and a method of contacting you, then that’s what you should provide them.
If Tiffany — with her off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, lycra pants, and flawless skin— will like you more if you look good and help her with her issues then that’s what you should be doing; if only for the sake of becoming popular. Next thing you know you’ve been crowned the homecoming queen and everybody loves you.
However, if your website lacks a call to action then you’re doing it wrong. If your website doesn’t clearly explain the services you offer or the products available — you’re doing it wrong. If someone visits your website from their mobile device and has to zoom in like they’re trying to flick a paper football at the cute girl with the sideways pony tail and the fingerless madonna gloves— you’re definitely doing it wrong.
Lose sight of your goals and your customer’s experience and the next thing you know your best friend hates you, the popular kids have turned their backs, and you’re left all alone in the middle of the football field with mascara running down your cheeks.
Or even worse… you miss out on leads.
Google wants you to
Like I mentioned before, your website is for the benefit of your customer. A happy customer means a happy Google. It’s difficult for Google to get users to keep coming back if the pages they serve up aren’t user friendly — that means both desktop and mobile. Google will be hesitant to serve up a page on their search listings that is difficult to navigate or has no clear purpose.
When redesigning your website it’s important to understand the pieces and parts involved beyond slapping a new coat of paint on it. Restructuring your navigation, creating relevant content, using clear calls to action, and high tech development all play a role. Each of these elements makes for a better customer experience which is exactly what Google wants. Like that time your best friend Duckie wants you to be with the man of your dreams but has had a crush on you since grade school — Google just wants what’s best for you and the user.
Google has been learning a lot over its lifetime, now more than ever thanks to artificial intelligence. What Google has figured out is people like sites that are easy to navigate and answer their questions. Thanks to mobile phones and voice-to-text, search terms are looking more and more like full questions rather than collections of words. You’re better off answering the question “what movie did Ferris Bueller take a day off in?” than just including the term “Bueller” over and over again in your text.
One day we won’t be able to tell Google apart from an actual person. But if it asks “Shall we play a game?” just say no. The answer is always no.
This self learning means Google wants exactly what your customer wants which just reiterates the first point I made: your website isn’t for you.
You have no idea what people are doing on your site
If you can’t see how people interact with your website it’s near impossible to create new content for their benefit. With a newly redesigned website you are able to start from step one with your goals in mind. With this knowledge you can build the website for the purpose of tracking these goals and setting up conversions.
The most commonly used tracking tool is Google Analytics. This tool offers plenty of data for you to comb through and figure out what your visitors are doing and what they want. Although, with so much data available it can become overwhelming. This is why it’s important to know what your goals are and what data correlates with it. Focusing on 2 or 3 metrics is much easier to do than trying to make sense of everything available. Like when Cyndi Mancini has to decide whether she wants to be with Patrick Dempsey or not, it’s easier when you have less options.
This is easier when you are in the early stages of designing a website. When all aspects are pointing towards the same goal you won’t have that overwhelming feeling.
Your website is typically the first moment of contact you have with a customer. Luckily, you have control over what they see and the experience they have. A redesign allows you to create the best experience possible that is memorable and long lasting. You want your customer to walk away from your site with the same satisfaction and long lasting respect that you did after watching Sixteen Candles.
At the end of the day it pays to be Molly Ringwald.