If your business were a car, an outdated website would be like driving on a spare tire. It will need to be replaced, and if it’s not, it will cause major problems. Building a new website is a perfect opportunity to align business objectives, customer personas, and industry best practices to ensure smooth traveling.
Lay the groundwork for long-term success by identifying the right information to prepare for your new website. Engage web design and development resources as early as possible in the process. They can spot pitfalls and help you avoid them. Let’s examine five key opportunities that building a new website presents.
Don’t work in a vacuum. Use the discovery phase to gather internal and external data that will help you critique your web presence. What you learn from competitors, comparators, and industry leaders can help you decide whether you need to build a new website. There are a lot of problematic website elements that can contribute to an outdated website. Things like complicated navigation, poor mobile experience, slow page-load time, copy-heavy webpages, old customer support content or features, broken links, and lack of quality images or video are all signs its time for an update.
By uncovering existing problems, identifying best practices, and seeking out inspiration, it will be easy to tell where your website stands. Here are some steps to consider during the discovery phase…
Review your own presence and internal marketing materials:
- Evaluate business needs and opportunities
- Analyze your existing website’s Google Analytics
- Conduct a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) audit
- Conduct a content audit of your website and marketing materials
Take a look at the external landscape:
- Evaluate customer personas and demographics
- Complete an analysis of competitor websites
- Seek out trend-setting websites
2. Mobile-first Design
Designing a beautiful website that has an optimal user interface is no easy task. Best practices have become more nuanced with the rise in mobile device usage. You’d be wise to consider creating a “mobile-first” design. This simply means approaching the design process with the goal of optimizing your site’s appearance and performance on mobile devices before designing for desktop. Mobile-first design can lead to an ideal user experience across devices because it forces you to simplify and prioritize the essential elements of your website.
3. Optimal User Experience
Optimal user experience is dependent on your customer base. Leverage the information gathered from customer persona and demographic research to understand the basics of what your audience is looking for. Align those findings with your business objectives to effectively develop your website’s functionality. For example, if your customers say they need more information or support to complete their desired action, consider incorporating an AI chatbot, a collection of FAQs, or other educational resources about your company’s services. Predicting user needs and learning from experience will result in more productive user experience discussions and solutions.
4. Content Management System
Build your website with future updates in mind. An intuitive and easy-to-use content management system (CMS), paired with the right internal and external resources, is pivotal to ongoing website success. Make it simple to update your website with new information, imagery, and resources, especially in times that require rapid responses — like the COVID-19 crisis. Such challenges prove the value of being able to quickly respond to an ever-changing situation while delivering accurate information.
Finally, map out an analytics strategy and deploy analytic tools early in the website development process to more readily enable continuous surveillance of your website’s health. A solid analytics strategy can help establish the site’s KPIs, measure success, and inform marketing campaign efforts.
Building a new website presents many other opportunities, but identifying and focusing on these five will help make the process more manageable and deliver the best results. With the right information and resources, a new website can unlock the path toward an evolution of your brand’s presence in the marketplace and drive success for your organization.