According to Google’s Consumer Barometer, the internet is a key resource for finding local businesses. 80 per cent of Australians go straight to a search engine to look for a local business, and 55% use a website as their main research tool even if they go on to buy in store. If your business is not online it needs to be! If you are, it’s important that your website offers potential customers the best possible introduction to your business. If the site is hard to use, poorly designed or looks outdated, it’s time for a redesign. Here are four questions to consider in preparing your business website for a redesign.
What is my strategy?
Start with a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Once you have this, then working out how to redesign your website is much easier. For example, do you want to use the website to generate awareness, leads or for sales? Is it mainly a corporate brochure with contact details, or an important source of revenue? Do you need to simply refresh your online presence so customers can learn more about your products/services or finding how to contact you. Or, for example, if you are a mortgage broker, your primary focus may be to use the site to generate leads and grow your database.
Undertake your own research on what your competitors are doing online, and also look at websites belonging to brands whose business models you admire. Make a note of the types of sites that appeal to you and are in line with what you’d hope to achieve. Note down what you like about each – such as ease of use, content, design, layout and functionality – and consider how you could apply these elements to your own website.
Start your planning by looking at how things are currently working. Look at your Google Analytics (GA) numbers and document some of the key stats.
- Number of visits/visitors/unique visitors (monthly average)
- Bounce rate (monthly average)
- Time on site (monthly average)
- Top-performing keywords (in terms of rank, traffic, and lead generation)
- Total number of new leads/form submissions (per month)
- Total amount of sales generated (per month)
If you don’t have access to this data, then add GA to your site. You want to understand current benchmarks and later you can compare these to the new site, so you know whether your investment is delivering value.
You also need to look at other stats that are relevant. For example:
- number of leads generated by the website
- newsletter registrations
- number of sales generated by the website
- $ value of sales generated by the website
- contact us inquiries
- Links from or to social media.
Using this data you enable you to set new goals for the revamped website, and these goals will help you (or your developer) to prioritise requirements and create the optimal solution. For example, if your number one goal is to increase the $ value of sales on your website, then functionality that cross-sells additional product to customers who are already in buying mode would take priority. If you wanted to increase your social media following, then featuring calls to action to follow you might take priority.
What are the essential functions and features my new website should have?
Top of the list should be mobile responsiveness. This means that your website responds and adapts to size of the type of device it is being viewed on: desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile.
According to the Deloitte’s 2015 Mobile Consumer Survey (Australia), 79 per cent of Australians own a smartphone and on average they check them more than 30 times a day. With 65 per cent of respondents saying they have browsed shopping websites on their smartphone, a responsive site is an essential inclusion in your website redesign.
Other website features may depend on the nature of your business. For example, if you want to operate an online store, it would require e-commerce functionality. Or if you run a restaurant and would like the ability to take online reservations, a booking system and calendar would appeal. For a business that uses content as a key part of its marketing strategy, a site with an inbuilt blog may be a priority.
Does my current website need a quick update or a complete overhaul?
Consider your current website, and analyse exactly what isn’t working. For example, if your current site delivers the functionality you need, but you just don’t like how it looks, you can simply refresh of images, some content, colours and fonts. On the other hand, if your current website isn’t mobile responsive or doesn’t showcase your business as well as it could, it may require a more comprehensive redesign.
Take a hair salon owner who has added manicures, pedicures and waxing to their service offering. They will need to redesign their website architecture to provide information about these new services, along with updating images. Or a travel agent who has only ever promoted tours and relied on phone bookings – but now wants to be able to take online bookings and deposits for customized small group tours, and allow customers to upload tour photos and articles.
Do I want to undertake the website design myself or hire someone to do it?
Depending on the complexity of the website you’d like to build, your own tech skills and your budget, you may choose to undertake the website redesign yourself. Some popular website builders to explore include WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly. Please don’t underestimate how much work is involved in building your own website. You will need to get your head around installing a CMS, finding and re-sizing the right images, writing content that helps your customers and also helps your SEO and much more. The more sophisticated your requirements, the better off you may be using a professional web developer to help you.
Seek out referrals from friends and peers and chat to a freelance web developers about their approach. Once you’ve written a good set of specs for what you want, it’s worth posting your project on sites like freelancer.com.au or approaching a few freelance web developers to get estimates and testimonials you can compare. Finding someone you can work with easily, even if it’s always on a remote basis, is very important to getting the results you want.
If you need help funding your website project, talk to Prospa about how a small business loan could help.