March 17, 2016 | Rachel Vaughn

Website Redesign, Step 1: Benchmark Current Performance

If Taylor Swift songs and popular ‘90s movie montages have taught us anything, it’s that change at the right time can not only be good, but exactly what you need to kick-start a period of growth.

Maybe you’re trying to catch the eye of the dashing football team captain who’s never noticed you because of your tragic nerd glasses, or perhaps you want to garner a broader audience on your website.

While we wouldn’t recommend you undergo a full wardrobe overhaul just to court some oblivious jock’s attention (we think you’re lovely just as you are, Four Eyes), the approach to both a makeover and a website redesign—for the sake of this drawn-out introductory metaphor alone—are remarkably similar.

Before hauling out the real or digital recycle bin, take some time to consider which parts of your site can serve you as well or even better in a redesign. That way, you can apply them even more effectively when the new website goes live.

Understand What Works

Begin by benchmarking your current site’s performance, both to record a baseline for your post-redesign website and to help you preserve what's working. If you want a really easy place to start, try HubSpot's free Website Grader.

Unless you’ve entirely missed the mark on your first attempt, your website will already be performing well in certain areas. Popular features, CTAs, offers, landing pages, and site pages have a lot to teach you, and your design team should know what's performing well before they get started.

You improve your chances of a successful redesign by examining certain metrics before you scrap everything to launch an untested design with an aesthetic you could describe as “Jurassic-World-meets-The-Nutcracker.”

At the beginning of your website redesign process, benchmark the following metrics:

Note: depending on the seasonality of your business, you may prefer to look at monthly data year over year rather than as a monthly average.

Baseline Data

  • Monthly traffic data, including unique users, pageviews, pages per session, average session duration, bounce rate, and % new sessions
  • Breakdown of traffic sources
  • Percent mobile traffic and key metrics across different devices
  • Traffic and performance by site page
  • Performance of landing pages and calls-to-action (CTAs)
  • Average monthly leads and form submissions
  • Domain Authority/Page Authority (with Moz's Open Site Explorer)
  • Call tracking metrics (if applicable)
  • Ecommerce store traffic, conversions, and sales (if applicable)

Optimization Data

In addition to the metrics above, these pieces of information will help you create the most effective website design possible for your company:

  • User flow (from Google Analytics), so you can help people find what they're looking for more quickly
  • Demographic data, to support or refine your buyer personas
  • Differences in key metrics on different devices (e.g. do you have a higher bounce rate on mobile?)
  • Which site pages, landing pages, and CTAs are your top performers in each metric. If possible, compare any changes to your performance data to see what improved performance.
  • Pages that are ranking for important keywords, and what your rankings are
  • Your most-shared content

Tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot can help you discover where your visitors have found the most valuable information and which parts of your site are falling down on the job. If there’s a point in the buyer’s journey where you have excelled at engaging your buyer personas, you can protect that advantage during your redesign. And when you fix all the things that weren't performing that well, you'll want to know exactly how much they improved your results.

Make It Work Harder

To execute a redesign that serves your inbound marketing and sales goals, you can't ignore user interface and user experience (UI/UX). Use mockups and wireframes to fine-tune easy, logical navigation that helps visitors find what they need and draws them further into your content. Better UI/UX will enhance their participation with your brand. The more enriching and beneficial that interaction is, the more likely they are to stay, return, and do business with you.

Your new website should not only consider UI, but support your content strategy as well. Plan content around the buyer's journey, and place CTAS and landing pages where they're most likely to get results. You can also snoop around your competition's websites to see what they’re doing well and where you can improve. The point isn’t to copy what similar businesses are doing, but to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes or failing at something they do well. 

If you can set yourself apart through your content and follow inbound marketing best practices, you can maximize the impact of your website redesign. By making sure that you buyer personas can clearly understand your unique value proposition (UVP) and how it applies to them, you'll increase conversions site-wide.

(Re)design Smarter

After benchmarking your site's performance in key metrics, making note of what is and isn't working, and identifying what your buyer persona is looking for, you can better target your content and increase client engagement.

A well-designed responsive website will look great whether your visitors are viewing it on a laptop, tablet, or phone. It must also consider accessibility, whether customers are trying to read your blog, find out more about your services, or download your case studies. Include social media links and keep them visible, so your accounts are easy to find and follow.

Managing your website redesign is a work partly of building something new from the cast-off remains of your old site, but also preserving and enhancing the aspects that already contribute great value. When revamping your website, it’s easier to know what direction you should head in when you know what has and hasn’t been working for you.

Quick reminder—you can skip around in this series all you want. Here are the other parts if you want to explore:

Website Redesign, Step 2: Clarify Your Goals
Website Redesign, Step 3: Inventory Your Assets
Website Redesign, Step 4: Analyze the Competition
Website Redesign, Step 5: Incorporate Your UVP
Website Redesign, Step 6: Design for Your Ideal Customer
Website Redesign, Step 7: Optimize Your Content for SEO
Website Redesign, Step 8: Plan Your CTAs 

Or, go ahead and read about the whole process at one time in our ebook on THIS VERY TOPIC! What a coincidence.

Free Website Consultation

Rachel Vaughn

Rachel Vaughn

As a content marketer for VIEO Design, Rachel Vaughn brings serious research chops and boatloads of personality to everything she writes for VIEO and our clients. In particular, she spends her time writing blog posts, website pages, workflow emails, and other marketing materials designed to engage readers and help them connect with VIEO and our clients.

Related Post: