Extreme Makeover - Business Website Edition
June 30, 2022
We've entered a world of digital-first consumers. The pandemic accelerated a multi-decade trend toward online shopping, meaning every company — from massive conglomerates to home-based startups — needs to be technologically relevant in order to stay competitive.
This process starts with your website. In the era of Wordpress and Wix, it's never been easier to launch a competent online presence. But are you getting the most out of your offering?
In this article, we will specifically address the importance of keeping your business website up-to-date and easy to use. You'll learn how to review your current site and what steps to take as you plan a possible redesign.
How to evaluate the current state of your business website
Your website represents a crucial part of your business. Statistics show that e-commerce has become nearly a fifth of total retail sales. Meanwhile, it represents the main engine for future growth, contributing nearly 81% of the sector's total gains in 2021.
Even if your company doesn't generate significant sales directly through your website, it still represents a key marketing tool. It exists as your public-facing portal, providing most customers an introduction to your firm. It also stands as the place potential clients will come to learn more about you.
As such, it's important to create an effective, attractive website. However, many firms put off redesigns as long as possible. The process can take months and requires resources that many small companies want to deploy on other efforts.
Still, getting the most out of your website can have a significant impact on your business. This starts with the possibility of better traffic and higher sales. But it carries over into broad strategic concerns as well. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to regularly review and update your business website:
- Stay current: The online world evolves quickly. Make sure your website stays up to date with the current trends.
- Keep up with the competition: A stale website gives your competition an opening. To get seen and to close sales, you need to remain a cut above the other providers in your industry.
- Integrate new tech: Technological development means new features. Get the most out of fresh functionality (social media integration, chatbots, multi-media, etc.) by giving your site an upgrade.
So how do you know when it's time to bite the bullet and consider updating your website? First, look at the effectiveness of your current design. Look at factors like:
Test the basic performance of your website. How fast does it load? Do all the elements appear as you intended? These fundamental factors play a big role in user experience.
Evaluate the design elements of your website. You want high functionality as well as a pleasing aesthetic. Also, think about user expectations as you make decisions. If it's been an extended time since your last update, some aspects of your website might be out of style.
Make sure people can find your website. Research the current best practices for Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. These will improve your placement on platforms like Google. Small changes can make a big difference, so keep these concerns in mind at every step of the process.
Ultimately, your website exists to drive revenue. As such, determine whether you are maximizing it as a sales platform. Gather statistics about conversion rates and other key metrics. This will let you know whether you can make additional improvements to your sales pitch.
Things to consider when updating your website
As you think about how to get the most out of your business website, there are a few individual aspects to keep in mind. Here are the major categories to consider as you conduct your process:
The best website in the world won’t help your business if no one finds it. SEO is as important to modern sales as location and real estate were in the old brick-and-mortar days. As such, any update you do should be aimed at improving your standing in search results. At the very least, SEO considerations will inform your decision-making throughout the process.
Imagine you are coming to your website for the first time. You're a potential customer looking for additional information. Grade your website based on this perspective.
Consider questions like:
- Is the website interesting?
- How engaging is it?
- Is it easy to find details?
- Does the website gently lead you to a point of contact or a call to action?
Filling out a website requires a diverse strategy. You need your evergreen pages that give details about the company and your offerings. Beyond that, you need constantly updating content to keep your website fresh. This includes features like blogs and white papers.
As you look to upgrade your website, look at these options. Consider what you want to include and how you will deliver further content on an ongoing basis.
Sales funnel/calls to action
Most of the considerations so far have aimed at the potential user. That makes sense. You want an engaging site that provides critical information to your intended audience.
However, don't ignore business motivations as well. Design your website with a strong sales funnel and effective calls to action. This will let you turn readers and viewers into paying customers.
Design your website with a strong sales funnel and effective calls to action. This will let you turn readers and viewers into paying customers.
How to update your website
Time to get into the nitty-gritty. Once you've determined that you need to improve your business website, your attention should turn to the details. Map out a clear plan to get the process done in an efficient and effective way.
Here are some steps to keep in mind:
First, understand how your current website is performing. To do this, gather as much data as possible. At the same time, conduct research about the topic to set realistic expectations and create goals for your upgrade.
Look for Models
Think about the last time you updated your home. Before you launched that bathroom redesign or considered new appliances for your kitchen, you looked around for examples of what you liked. Use the same basic process here.
Take a tour of the internet, searching for websites that strike you as effective. Start with direct competitors to see the features they include. Then, move on to other industry players and general companies that you admire. This information will help form your ideas.
Make a Wish List
You've located the areas you want to improve and discovered features on other websites you want to incorporate. Now it's time to formulate a list of the items you want to include in your redesign. Prioritize features based on their necessity and keep in mind that you might not be able to put everything into effect.
Get Expert Guidance
As a small business, you might not have the dedicated staff necessary for a full website overhaul. Don't worry if you don't have internal SEO experts and web designers to conduct the process. There are plenty of third-party providers that can see you through the process. Find a partner you trust and let them guide you through the redesign.
Test Your Changes
Use A/B testing to track the effectiveness of any planned changes. This will help you learn if the new version represents an upgrade from your previous website. You can also gain insights that will let you optimize any changes you make.
Use A/B testing to track the effectiveness of any planned changes. This will help you learn if the new version represents an upgrade from your previous website.
Schedule Routine Reviews
Don’t consider your new website permanent. Conditions and technology will keep evolving—you’ll want to keep up. As such, continuously look for small upgrades. It’s easier to tweak regularly than let things sit and require a major overhaul down the line.
Maximizing your business website
In a competitive market, you need every advantage. If your business is struggling with low traffic, low engagement, or declining online sales, it may be time to review your website. A well-targeted update can give a boost to all these metrics.
The key is knowing how to invest efficiently in an upgrade. The information provided here will give you a start, helping you determine if your current site is working as it should and whether an update is worth the cost.