Dean Marsden

Redesigning Your Website? Think About Conversions!

17th Mar 2014 Analytics, Usability 5 minutes to read

Rebuilding a WebsiteChoosing 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.

Going About The 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:

  • Do you want your new website to display well on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets? If yes, consider Responsive Website Design for the best SEO friendly way of optimising your website for these devices. Many designers also choose to use the Mobile First approach to ensure the basics are covered in smaller devices and expanded to bigger devices rather than missing out on important elements working the other way around.
  • What content/pages/products are to be carried across to the new website? Take the redesign as an opportunity to review the content on your site and cull any pages that haven’t received any visits in the past 12 months. Promote content that has performed well in the past so that it is more prominent and easier to find from other pages. Use Gemma’s guide to find out How To Use Google Analytics For Customer Satisfaction.
  • Protecting and improving current SEO value. Make sure important SEO recommendations are carried across. Correctly 301 redirect URLs to new ones if they change, for example. Download our Website Migration & New Site Guide to help you check all of the important factors during a website redesign.
  • Including and improving on brand image. You should be thinking about how your website redesign can benefit your brand image not just look pretty or be useable. Online branding has become increasingly important as consumers move away from traditional bricks and mortar businesses to online only businesses. You need to increase your brand recognition online.

Factors Affecting Conversion Rates

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.

  • Navigation and Structure

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.

  • Website Flow

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.

  • Colour Theory

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.

  • Content

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.

  • Images & Photos

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.

  • Call to Actions

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.

  • Assurances & Endorsements

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.

  • Social Integration

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.

  • About Us & Contact details

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.

Designing & Launching The 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.

Image Credits

Illustration Of Construction Site With Crane And Building from BigStock

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