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by Dean Marsden on 17th March 2014
Choosing to redesign your website isn’t a decision you should just make because you feel it needs to be updated. Many of your visitors may be put off by the change, so it’s important to make the redesign worthwhile – and that means having conversions at the forefront of your mind.
Redesigning a website is a prime opportunity to fix the issues holding back your old website and improve customer engagement and conversions. And if you aren’t currently tracking conversions through Google Analytics, or other analytics software, then you’re missing a trick. Conversions need not always be a lead or sale, it can be something as simple as having a user stay on your pages for an average of 1 minute or more.
Read our guide on How To Set Up Google Analytics Goals or this post on Google Analytics E-Commerce Tracking. If you need some convincing about using Google Analytics, Gemma has recently written a post on The Business Benefits of Google Analytics which I highly recommend reading.
Conversions are the life of your website. If you’re not getting anything from it then it serves no purpose. Even if your site just has general information about your business/organisation, you can set a goal to measure if people are reading the content by tracking time on page.
The conversion rate of your website visitors is what you should aim to increase through a total website redesign.
Whether you choose to use a Website Design Agency or design the website in house, there are a few basic decisions you need to make before starting a redesign:
Improving your website’s conversion rate is very much a test & measure process. However, when designing a website from scratch, there are many factors that are proven to help with boosting conversion rates. I’ve listed these below and explained why they can help.
Give important pages prominence in your navigation. This includes your Contact page. These important pages should be no more than one click away from any other page on your website.
Be sure that all buttons and link text relate to the content on the next page. This prepares the user for what to see next and will help reduce disappointment and confusion.
Colours can invoke a someone’s behaviour without them realising. For example, red typically means panic or anger, so only use it when you wish to rush a user into performing an action. Use different colours to help achieve your goals, read my guide on Colour Psychology and Website User Behaviour.
Headlines are very important. Write catchy, informative and actionable headings on as much of your pages as possible. Use headings to get them interested, then write the body content that engages and converts readers. Depending on what your website does, shorter or longer content may be best.
It’s a tad cliché to use stock images. Don’t do it! The majority of web users are savvy to stock photography and common ‘clip art’ style graphics as this makes your organisation seem false or fake. The majority of users would much prefer to see real photos where possible.
You probably think conversion rate is entirely down to effective Call to Actions, however it is a big part of many factors that influence your website visitors. Remember to make your Call to Actions big, clear, colourful and actionable. See some examples of Call to Action Buttons in this blog post.
Showing off awards, guarantees and testimonials can help website users place their trust in you as a brand/business. If you’re an ecommerce site, then place security seals showing your site is safe. If you’re a services based business, testimonials are an excellent way to show new customers you are good at what you do.
On Social Media? Link to your social profiles from your website and vice versa. Show you are human by posting, engaging and responding to your customers and fans. Potential customers will be reassured that they will be able to contact you.
If you only do one change to your site through a website design, make sure it is clearly showing your contact details and/or more about your business or organisation. You’d be silly to buy something from a guy on the street, so why should your website visitors not be given an option to know who you are.
If you can implement all of the above factors you’ll stand a much better chance of generating increase sales, leads or other goals on your new website.
When designing the website, it is a really good idea to thoroughly test it for User Task Analysis, Readability, Navigation, Accessibility, Website Speed and User Experience, using some of the tools mentioned in this blog post on Mashable.
If you are happy to launch a site design without prior testing you should expect to see an improvement in conversions if you have implemented recommendations from this blog post. However, I recommend at least implementing Conversion Rate Optimisation to further refine the user experience and improve conversions.
Above all else, don’t just have a complete redesign that has no reasoning or goal behind it. You have to consider what you want to achieve from the redesign and how this can generate more conversions.