Websites have changed dramatically over the last two decades. In the late 90s, it was impressive just to even have a website. By the 2000s, almost every company had a website, but most were never more than a five-page brochure website. And, for the most part, eCommerce hadn’t really taken off yet. Today, websites have become the most important piece of collateral for any business. A great website won’t just represent your brand online or help you sell your products or service. A really great website redesign to achieve business goals should be at the forefront of all companies.
Here’s what you can achieve:
- Increasing your brand reputation and awareness
- Becoming an industry leader
- Customer conversion
- Gaining a better understanding of your audience
- Improving the customer experience
Increase your brand reputation and brand awareness
A website can do an awful lot of good for your brand. But it can also do an awful lot of damage. People judge companies based on their websites. If a website looks ugly or is hard to use, consumers are naturally going to have a low opinion of the company. After all, why would you trust someone who can’t even get a website right?
Bad website, bad reputation
It can also make businesses (particularly small businesses) look unprofessional. If you need to hire a plumber, who are you going to choose: the one with the clean, beautiful easy-to-use website? Or the one with a website from 1997? It’s a no brainer, right?
The importance of having a good looking and fully functional website can’t be overstated, particularly at a time when more and more users are visiting websites from their smartphones. If you don’t provide a great user experience through a mobile-friendly site, visitors simply aren’t going to come back.
Google estimates that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a site that isn’t mobile friendly, with 40% visiting a competitor instead.
Simply put, if you have a worse website than your competitors, you’re losing brand reputation. Plus, Google will penalize website with a low page speed score.
A good website does more than look good
But a good website can also help to increase brand awareness. It can do so in two ways: by effectively educating the user on the product or offering, and by attracting more traffic. The first point is pretty straightforward. Any decent company website should make it clear to the user exactly what the company do or sell and how they, the user, can benefit. It seems straightforward but you’d be amazed at how many companies fail at this.
The second point isn’t as obvious. When designing a website, you don’t just have to think about the end user, you also need to think about the way that search engines like Google will crawl the site, too. Fail to make your website SEO-friendly and you could see traffic dry up. Improve the SEO friendliness of your website, however—by writing in clean code, having a great layout and internal linking structure, including lots of unique content and making it mobile friendly—and you could improve your brand awareness by ranking higher in Google.
Remember, 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
The higher up you rank in Google and Bing, the more likely it is for a potential customer to see your brand, and the more brand exposure you get as a result.
Become an industry leader
As well as allowing companies to increase brand reputation, a great website can also help companies to position themselves as an industry leader. Another way to work towards higher rankings is to create well-researched, informative and interesting resources, such as blog posts and white papers. But these aren’t just a way of attracting backlinks, these type of blog posts and papers can also establish or cement a company’s as an industry leader.
Educating through a blog
Every great company website should include a blog or resource section– somewhere that gives your company a voice to communicate with consumers, companies and rivals. A blog can also contribute to an effective digital marketing strategy built around content creation. With a blog in place, you give your company a platform to create and publish the kind of content that not only gets recognition from the industry, but that attracts and engages consumers, too.
It doesn’t just have to be blog posts, either. A great website redesign will be able to incorporate an area to host white papers, slideshows, excel files, videos, images and much, much more. Without this section, your company is relying on old-fashioned PR to get the word out about new research or new services. With this section, your company can take matters into their own hands and control the narrative in a way that positions them as the number one company in the industry.
Turn prospects into customers, and customers into repeat customers
Every company wants to get more customers and achieve a higher customer conversion rate. But what many companies don’t appreciate is that a website is a sales tool whether it is an eCommerce store or not. Even if customers can’t buy the product or service directly from the website, it should be used as an important tool in the customer journey.
Good websites don’t sell, they educate
A well-designed website shouldn’t be like a newspaper or a billboard ad. It shouldn’t be selling to your customers. After all, your potential customers have already come to your site. Rather than selling to them, you should be educating them on your product or service. By clearly defining exactly what your product is or what your service does, and what makes it different from competitors, you can gently nudge prospects to become customers.
You can help them further down the sales funnel by providing a FAQs section aimed at overcoming common issues or problems. All of this is available to consumers without them needing to pick up the phone or speak to a pushy sales staff. And once you’ve set it up, you can use it for free forever. As a result, a great website can often be a much better sales tool than your own staff and this is reflected in the growth of e-commerce.
Forrester predicts that online sales will account for 17% of total US retail sales by 2022.
And it can get even better at its job, too. A well-designed website should be setup to handle A/B testing. This is a form of split testing aimed at finding the best converting solution from two options. Different tests can include changing the color of a call-to-action button or changing an image. The idea is to continuously improve conversion rates so that your site gets better and better at converting users into customers. Despite the benefits of A/B testing, not everyone is doing it.
Just 17% of Fortune 500 companies use an A/B testing platform.
Sell again and again and again
By redesigning your website, you can also help to increase the lifetime value of customers, too. A website is a great way to capture user data for future marketing pushes. A user doesn’t even have to make a purchase in order for a company to acquire their data, either. A user can pass over their contact information just by subscribing to a newsletter or downloading a guide. And once you’ve got their details, you can keep upselling again and again. Every time a new product or service gets released you can update your website and then send out an email to all customers directing them back to that page. That way, the customer journey starts all over again. Thanks to your website, customers aren’t just customers once, they are customers forever.
Better understand your audience
Knowing who your customers is, should be key business goal for every company.. A well designed website could help you understand exactly what your customers think and how they behave.
Analytics, analytics, analytics
One way business can understand customers better through their website is through the use of analytics platforms like Google Analytics. Let’s be clear, you don’t have to redesign your website to add analytics. Google Analytics can be added to any website at any time. But it’s going to have limited use if your website only has five pages. With so few pages it is very hard to understand why customers are leaving or which pages they prefer.
When you redesign your website, however, you can build it in such a way that analytics platforms become genuinely useful. The more pages the better, but it’s also important to split different services and products onto different pages. That way you can use analytics to see which product or service people prefer.
You can also design your website to include a comments section on blog pages so that users and customers have a way to directly interact with your brand. Finally, you can even include a chat widget so that customers can get in touch instantly without sending an email. Understanding the kinds of questions users ask on here can show you what your site is currently lacking.
By using a site redesign to understand your customers better, you can start to make improvements on both a micro and macro level. When you understand how customers behave on your website, you can make data-backed changes to your website with the aim of improving the user experience and the conversion rate. This can be as small as adding a new question in the FAQ or changing the layout of your nav bar. But you can also take this feedback to a macro level and use it to influence new products or changes to your service. Once they’ve been created and added to your website, you can head back to your analytics platform to look at how users interact with them. It becomes a never-ending cycle of improvement.
Improve the customer experience
Creating an awesome customer experience is important for businesses. Not only does a great customer experience help companies to improve their brand reputation, it also encourages customers to remain brand loyal and, possibly, purchase more products or services. It’s so important, it will soon become the key brand differentiator
According to Walker, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.
If you have a small brochure website, it probably isn’t doing anything for the customer experience. In fact, once customers have bought from you, there’s no reason to go back to your website at all. This is a shame. Not only are you missing the chance to upsell or capture new information from the customer, but you are also missing out on a chance to show them how much you care. Luckily a website redesign can change all this.
Keep customers coming back
With a new website, you can build in several ways of engaging with customers and improving their experience with your brand. An obvious way is to create a members only area on the back-end of the site. What this does will depend on your offering, but it could offer tips on how to use or care for their product. Alternatively, it could offer premium content on your industry that no one else has access to. Whatever you put there, it needs to offer the user added value on top of their purchase.
But you don’t have to go to these lengths, even just improving the way that your website looks and works can be considered improving the customer experience. This is particularly true if you offer a SaaS product or another service for which customers have to keep revisiting your site. The better the experience they have of using your site, the more likely they are to keep using or ordering your product.