Contrary to popular belief, website redesigns aren't primarily about making your website look better. Unless you still have your original Geocities site.
Nope, they're about something much more substantial: your business goals. You're probably thinking, "Oh yeah, of course," but that's exactly the problem.
Many people take it for granted that their core goals will guide the website redesign process the way they do other business processes. Yet the people working on the website aren't necessarily aware of these goals, and as a result the website is out of alignment with the rest of their company's efforts.
It's easy to let the aesthetic elements take over—they're the fun part of a redesign, after all. But if you don't put your marketing goals first, you can end up wasting your team's planning, hard work, and money on a great-looking website that doesn't result in new leads, conversions, or sales.
So how do you keep your goals at the forefront of the process?
First, Discuss It with Your Key People
We're really talking about two sets of goals here: your core business goals and your goals for the website. Your website goals are a function of your core business goals.
Start by gathering your key people and defining why you're redesigning your website. Perhaps it's hideous and you're ashamed to show it to potential clients. Maybe it looks great, but nobody seems to be using it. Your products or services may have shifted, and you need to add functionality to support the new focus.
You likely have multiple answers to this question. Write them all down, and then identify a few overarching themes. Next, turn that "why" into a list of metrics that you and your team can track so you'll know success when you get there.
The metrics you choose to measure will most likely overlap with the benchmarks you set in step 1, though you may need to add new, more relevant metrics to track moving forward.
If you notice your team discussing targets or metrics not in your original benchmarks list, consider going back to collect benchmark data on those, too.
However, remember that improving your metrics by sporadically increasing your numbers over your benchmark measurements actually shortchanges your goals. Of course goals and metrics relate to each other, but they aren't one and the same.
Never forget that moving these metrics isn't your goal—metrics are how you tell if you're reaching your goals.
Next, prioritize your goals and targets.
It's important to rank your goals by importance. Extra traffic is great, and it's critical to success. But extra traffic without conversions is not success. Prioritizing your goals for your website redesign helps you make sure that your new website will support the overall objectives of your marketing and business operations as effectively as possible.
To clarify your goals, determine what drives traffic and creates the highest-quality leads. How are your best customers finding your website?
Specifically, what channels are performing best in terms of driving website visits, capturing leads, acquiring new customers, and earning return business? If you aren't able to gather and track this kind of information, you may want to look into closed-loop marketing tools like HubSpot.
If you haven't already, this is a great time to calculate your customers' lifetime value and identify what type of customer is most profitable for your business over the long term.
Make sure everyone who will be working on the redesign knows your goals in and out. Designers, developers, project managers, leadership, marketing team, salespeople, copywriters—everyone needs to be on the same page. That way, if someone gets carried away with a fancy design element or stylized bit of copy, there will be someone to step in and say, "Wait, won't that affect our bounce rate/load time/click-through-rate?"
Finally, Communicate This in Your Design Consultation
If you're working with a designer or an agency, it's extremely important that they understand from the very beginning of the project what your website goals are and how they support your core business goals.
Because VIEO is a marketing company as well as a design firm, it seems natural to us to design around leads, conversions, and sales, but not everyone thinks that way. Regardless of your design team's background or area of expertise, they'll appreciate your clarity about your goals.
Take it from me: the last thing any designer wants is to get vague direction, create a design mockup that the doesn't meet the client's needs, and have to redo it because of information they could have had in the first place. Any information you can give your design team about exactly what you want will be more than welcome, especially if it's as well-thought-out and goal-driven as yours will be.
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 1: Benchmark Current Performance
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.