Upgrading Your Website Part II: Good Design Makes Great Content Stand Out
In part two of this mini-series on how to update your website to ensure your content stands out from the crowd, we’ll help you consider how to fill the gaps in your business, what the objectives of your website should be, and help you identify what the key activities related to upgrading your website are so you can create more functionality and value for your audience.
Determine Your Product Fit in the Market
A lot of businesses launch without conducting a thorough analysis of how their product will fit in the market. Many business owners, especially new business owners, make a lot of assumptions about their products and services and later come to find (often quite quickly) that those assumptions are incorrect.
But that doesn’t mean you are in a pickle – it just means it’s time for a change. Or, an upgrade if you will. And a website upgrade can help you determine a proper product market fit. Here’s how you might go about planning such an analysis:
“As we continue to try to grow our business, we have come to realize we are missing opportunities to build lasting relationships with our customers because we don’t have opt-in forms, relevant calls to action, or design elements that are pleasing to the eye. While our blog is consistently published and shared on social media, when our customers or potential customers get to our website, they are met with a website that is not representative of the true nature of our operation and products. In updating our website, we’ll be able to collect and review more robust data about our customers and potential customers. By incorporating opt-ins and additional ways to collect information from our potential customers, we will be better equipped to study the data and make changes based on what we learn. Without recent and relevant information about a potential market for our products, we will continue to struggle to grow our brand and business. Upgrading our website will allow us to interact with our customers and potential customers more effectively and it will allow us to continue to offer relevant products and services to them.”
What Do You Want Your Website to Do?
When planning a website upgrade or update, it’s important to take the time to consider what you want your website to do:
what is the end goal of getting someone to visit your website? Do you want them to buy a product? Sign up for a service? Opt into an email? Read a blog? Get a referral? You need to imagine what the process of getting someone to your website will look like and then determine where the gaps are in that process.
For some business owners, the glaring gap will be that they don’t have a website at all. For others, it will be that there is no clear action item on the website. Here’s what your plan might look like when you start asking for results from your website:
“In preparation for updating our website, we have reviewed the overall goal of the website. As a team, we reviewed the current user experience and discovered that there are several opportunities where we could be collecting emails from potential clients to build our contact list, as well as present products and services to them based on which areas of the website they are visiting. With this information, we will be able to work with a consultant web developer to build out more robust calls to action and opt-in forms that our audience can engage with. We understand that placing opt-ins and calls to action in various places on the website will provide different results and engage our audience in different ways. Our overall goal is to not only collect information, such as emails from potential customers but to provide them with an immediate opportunity to buy our products. It makes sense that we rearrange the pages on our existing website to load the store page before the blog. Our understanding is that potential customers don’t stay on websites very long, and so we want to showcase what’s new as soon as they arrive on the site.”
Identify the Risks and Active Measure for Successful Updates
Anytime a business sets out to make a change in the way they operate or present themselves to the market, a risk assessment needs to be conducted. This phase is often difficult for business owners because they are too close to the product or service to be able to identify where the problems may be found.
This is a critical step in preparing for any changes you might make to your website so that you can plan any delays or issues into your timeline and ensure that you don’t go over budget or worse, spend your time working on something that is not going to help you grow your business. In preparing for this final phase of your website update plan, you might include something along these lines in your plan:
“As we prepare to update our website, we expect that there may be delays in finding a suitable web developer to take on the project as we’ve planned for the next six months. While we have spoken to prospective developers in preparation for this project, until we are ready to move forward, there is no way to guarantee a work order from the developer. However, we’ve had a fulsome discussion with our prospective developers and understand the risks associated with migrating an existing website to a new server host. Under their direction, we feel confident that our information will be successfully updated and moved and the downtime for that to happen is minimal provided we work with the developers we have identified. Similarly, the risk of going over budget is quite real where unclear expectations, but given our planning and discussion of the budget before the launch of the project, we feel confident we will be able to reduce the risk of budget overages.”
As 2018 comes to an end, a lot of businesses are starting to relax into the remainder of the year, but the ones that will be successful in Quarter one of 2019 and beyond are already thinking about changes they can make to grow and change in a meaningful way. A little bit of planning and effort now can pay off in big ways for the future of your business and brand, so make time to think about how you can improve the look and function of your website to benefit from the returns on your investment later.