Considering a Website Redesign? Questions to ask before you update your website
It’s that time (in fact its past time and you know it), your website needs to be refreshed or needs an entire website redesign. You compare your online presence with that of your competition and a little part of you dies. You thought your site was keeping up with trends, but when did the competition get so far ahead of you? When did it become important to be mobile friendly? SSL secure? Search engine optimized? And when did website design change so much that it’s now so obvious that some websites haven’t been updated since 2006?
Websites are no longer just online brochures
You’re not alone! There is a large percentage of businesses (especially) locally focused businesses that have avoided investing in their online presence the way they should have. But let me say unequivocally, you are losing business to your competition, I can say that without a doubt in my mind because I see it all the time. When a client comes to us looking for a new website and we perform our online presence audit, the results are quite staggering. When we show the client how they aren’t ranking for search terms that their competitors are they begin to see the bigger picture. And the lost sales.
Did you know that Google cares about the recency and relevancy of content on your website? It does, and you should too. Not only does your content need to stay fresh and relevant to the people searching your website, but the robots that crawl your website care about recency as well. So you need to budget to have your website constantly worked on as part of your marketing efforts.
Are you invisible online?
What this means is that every time a prospective customer searches for your product or service you don’t exist. Literally, in the eyes of the prospect, if you don’t show up on page one of Google you simply don’t exist. What if your physical store location vanished today, would it hurt your business? Being invisible online is absolutely hurting your business. So that’s not good! But what can you do?
Your Online Presence is Much Bigger Than Your Website
When businesses think of their online presence, sometimes their view is limited to thinking about their website. This would be overlooking some key components of a healthy online presence today.
Social Media is just a part of life today, but it is also a vital business channel for many businesses. It’s where your customers are, and shouldn’t that be where you are? If you want to stay top of mind with customers and prospects, engage with them, answer their questions, and be perceived as a real live, helpful human, then social media is a must, regardless of the size of your business.
Online Directories and authority sites. As you may have heard, getting sites of authority to link to your website is a really important search engine ranking factor. So if you want to help your website show up when prospects are searching for your product or service, you need to plant your business across all the relevant online directories and have a strategy for getting sites of authority to link to you. Run a Free Scan to see how if your business is on directories.
Ratings and Reviews represent the online reputation of your business, and not only is this really important to people when they are looking for a business like yours, but it has become a vital part search engine ranking. A recent study showed how online ratings and reviews (especially those on Google) had displaced the top 10+ ranking factors on Google for local businesses. The bottom line is you need more (legitimate) 5 star reviews on Google and other important review channels (Facebook, Yelp, etc). Learn more about what a Review Funnel System is and how it works.
Your Website Is The Only Online Real Estate You Own
Your presence on directories and on social media is really important, but your website is truly the only online real estate that a business owns. You own the domain name, you pay for your location on the internet (hosting), and you have total control over the website. None of this is true for directories or social media networks. We’re all just hanging out on other peoples real estate in these circumstances, and in large part, it works great.
These channels can effectively get you in front of your prospects and engage with them, but just as a business might host a booth at a tradeshow; unless it’s selling a product at the show, the real goal is to move the relationships made at the event to a phone call or meeting where the sale takes place. This is usually true online as well. You want to drive connect and engage with people on social media, but your goal should always be to drive them to your website so you can capture their information and continue the conversation.
7 Things you must do before you start a website redesign
Get a Total Online Presence Audit
If you want your new website to have a profound impact on your business you need to know how you’re performing online today. A clear picture of all relevant areas of your online presence, backed up by data to inform your decision making, with expert insights and recommendations will move you forward with confidence. The Total Online Presence Audit was designed for just this purpose. So whether you choose Outsourced Marketing as your web design agency or someone else, you’ll be equipped to create a fantastic online presence. Here’s a highlight of what you get:
Set Goals and Objectives for Your Website Redesign and Track Them
It’s been said that ‘you only improve things that you measure’, and this is true about your website. You need to set realistic goals for your website for the key metrics that matter most to your business. Usually, this means starting with a sale and working backward through the customer journey and determine what key metrics will keep you informed of the health of your web presence. You absolutely need to choose a web design agency that understands the importance of metrics, can help you choose the right metrics for your business, and will set-up the tracking and reporting that will keep you informed.
Perform Keyword Research
Before you invest in a new website you absolutely, have to get good keyword research performed. Why? Because without it you’re shooting in the dark, hoping that what you build on your new website resonates with what your prospects are searching for!Keyword research will provide you with the hard data of how people search for your product/service, what the search volumes are, how competitive those keywords are, and uncover keyword opportunities and gaps that you can take advantage of to crush your competition. A website redesign is a great time to perform keyword research.
Hire an experienced SEO Web Design Agency
Not all web designers are made equal! There was a time when a web designer was simply an online savvy graphic designer. Those days are long gone now. For businesses that want to win the online game, they have to choose a web design agency that has SEO best practices built into every website they build.
Change your mindset, it’s not designed and done
Your website needs to be built right, but gone are the days when you can build a website and leave it stagnant and then refresh it in two years time. It’s too vital a lead and sales generator for your business to ignore.You need to move forward with the mindset that this is a line item in your monthly budget to produce fresh new content that you will build on your website and share across your social channels.
Run from Custom CMS’s and HTML Coders
A CMS is a Content Management System, and it is the platform on which websites are built. You need to ensure that the web designer you choose is not doing custom HTML coding, or building your website on a custom or proprietary Content Management System. Why? Because you will not be able to fire that web designer if you need to without losing all the work they’ve done.In order to protect yourself, you should choose a web designer that builds websites on a common, secure, and proven CMS. The most common platforms are WordPress (60% of CMS market with over 26million websites), the next ones falling way behind are Joomla (6.6% with just over 2 million websites), Drupal (4.6% with 964k sites) and all other CMS’s falling way behind.
Choose a web designer that supports a CMS that many other web design agencies support. The last thing you want is to find that you’ve invested in a CMS that nobody else can support, it will mean that you are handcuffed to your current provider, and if things ever turn sour you will find yourself in a real jam.Avoid this at all costs and choose an agency that supports a broadly used CMS, and I would recommend WordPress.
Choose Your Web Designer Carefully
Common sense suggests that you when choosing a provider for an area like a website redesign where you may lack a deep understanding that you choose carefully and wisely. The very best way to do choose a great web design agency is to do the following:
Get a referral from someone you trust and/or look at online reviews to see what past clients say their experience has been.
Ask for references – get references from prospective web design agencies and call them to learn what their experience has been in the following areas:
Final product – were they happy with the website?
Process – did the web design agency take the leadership role and follow a well-defined process to keep things moving forward?
Relationship – were they easy to deal with, partnered with you, supportive of your ideas yet firm in guiding you with expertise, do you feel good about working with their team?
Information Sharing – do they provide the data you need to stay informed and make wise decisions related to your online presence?
Problem Solving or Resolution – when challenges or difference of opinions happened, how did they handle it? Did they handle your problem well, and did they resolve it to your satisfaction?
Ongoing Support – do they still support you? If not, why not? How do they support you on an ongoing basis?
What would you say when referring someone to them – if you were to refer them to someone close, what would you share?
See Samples of Their Work – ask for examples of their work, and even ask for examples of how their websites perform on search engines (ask for data).
Budget Fits – ensure they work on websites within your budget. And ask how billing is done, for example, is it a lump sum payment or spread out over the project phases, or is it an ongoing monthly fee? Is hosting included or what is the fee that provides secure and fast webhosting with daily backups.
If you follow the advice above you will be setting yourself up for website redesign success! Your website will become an important part of your sales efforts by attracting and engaging more prospects.
If you have any questions or wish to engage Outsourced Marketing in a Total Online Presence Audit connect with us at 905-251-8178 or by scheduling a DISCOVERY CALL
Ian Cantle is the President and Marketing Strategist at Outsourced Marketing. His 20+ years in marketing and communications in a variety of industries has provided him with a unique perspective on what works and what doesn't in Marketing. Ian founded Outsourced Marketing to fill a gap in the marketplace between businesses and sound marketing strategies and marketing systems. His goal is to take the mystery out of marketing and show business owners how a systematic approach to their marketing can provide exceptional results while easing the burden on them. Want to discover the Outsourced Marketing difference, book a free discovery call or call us at 905-251-8178.