You’ve decided that it’s time to change your website. Whether that resolution came after a period of painstaking market research, a bout of feverish night journaling, or the realization that your landing pages look a bit like they were built in Geocities circa 1995, something new and different is in order.
During a website redesign, however, it’s important to understand the distinction between inspiration and aspiration. Lots of things may inspire you, but that doesn’t mean your new site should aim for replicating every single one of them. Imagine combining your love of old school Nintendo video game tracks with your passion for fine art and tacos into a single online access point. Amazing, right? You’ve just marketed to yourself with flawless execution.
Problem is, you’re not your ideal customer. And what might be a convenient digital wonderland for you could appear to a potential client as a disorienting hellscape dreamt up by a sleep-deprived content writer. While both descriptions are accurate (and flattering), your job in this instance is to design for the actual people you want buying your services.
Here’s how you can get started:
Know Your Buyer Persona
Your first step here is to understand who you’re marketing toward. You can’t design for a customer you don’t understand. Or you can, but the likelihood of them appreciating your efforts is fairly small. After all, your ideal customer for luxury resort vacations or enterprise software may not best respond to a website theme or copywriting that evokes a haunted Spanish pirate ship. And unless you’ve somehow managed to corner that famously elusive (also, cursed) market, you’re better off going with what you know – that is, your buyer persona.
Have a firm grasp on who your buyer persona is: what they do for a living, how old they are, where they live, their professional goals, interests, how they use social media, and other information necessary to market to them effectively.
Cement Brand Recognition
You’ve worked hard on crafting your corporate identity and put in the hours to understand your ideal customer. Your website redesign is the perfect showcase for creating an impression that endures. Let your brand inform your design decisions, but make sure the choices you make are also ones that your ideal customer will find identifiable and relatable.
From color scheme, icons, transitions, navigation, to the text used, your redesign work should display a professional understanding of your buyer’s journey. This has the benefit of acting as a passive marketing tool while leading them to valuable offers, downloads, and the all-important Contact Us form.
Optimize Your Content
Visitors to your site filter in for a reason. Whether they’ve followed a link in from a web search, Twitter, or another site, they’re looking for something specific. Be sure that your content is targeted to those needs. A redesign doesn’t have to focus solely on the look of your site. Use this time to review what your content is saying and whether it’s reaching the right audience. Turning out new blogs, site pages, and marketing material is vital to keep your readership engaged, but you can also update and revamp existing content for improved SEO.
Implement Tools and Tracking
As always, at every step of your website redesign, make use of specialized tools to track and guide your progress. Without metrics to visualize your customer engagement, you can’t make informed or insightful choices when adjusting your tactics. Platforms like HubSpot can not only help you build resources like CTAs, but record the responses they garner, along with numbers for assessing your social media, website, and email engagement. With access to this important data, you can tailor your specific pages and content to better appeal to visitors and their point in the buyer’s journey.
A redesign is a prime opportunity to pare down all of your great ideas and combine your brand’s own aesthetic sensibility with the interests, needs, and personality of your ideal customer. Follow a few basic guidelines to make sure the effort, time, and care you put into it is worth it in the end.
Or live your dreams and finally build the Manet-Nintendo Online Taco Emporium. I know at least one person who will thank you for it.
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 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 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.