With design trends and marketing tactics changing so rapidly, the days of leaving your website untouched between redesigns are over. If your website conversions are dwindling or your marketing campaign results are stagnant, it may be time to (re)evaluate your website. A continuous improvement approach can help you extend the life of your site and reap the benefits of new web features.
Unlike a traditional model where you wait until the next redesign in 3-5 years, a continuous improvement approach involves evaluating and testing your current site’s marketing performance and then making small updates in order to meet new marketing goals and increase conversions. However, be careful to not make changes based on your own thoughts about the site. It’s very easy to make this mistake and create a site that you love but that doesn’t work for your visitors and doesn’t convert.
The first step is evaluation and testing of your current site. This process can include:
- Reviewing your analytics for most visited pages, bounce rate and user flow reports
- Using visitor recordings or heat map tools to see where visitors may be getting stuck on your site
- Evaluating your current marketing campaigns and results
If you are a service-based business, consider setting up a discussion between your marketing team and customer support or sales team. Even in small companies, there can be a lack of communication between these 2 groups. Your client-facing employees have valuable information on what clients and potential clients are looking for and what may be missing on your site.
Website Updates That Make a Big Impact
After evaluating your site, you should have a punch list of edits to improve the site. The majority of websites are built on a content management system like WordPress. This means you can accomplish a lot of major edits without the need to overhaul the full site. If you are looking for ideas, here are the top 5 recommendations to improve your site:
1. Update Your Home Page Design
If you can only make one update to your site, an upgrade to your home page redesign is the best “bang for your buck.” For the majority of sites, the home page is typically the first page that a web visitor will land on. In a few seconds, the visitor will make a subconscious decision on whether to leave the site or explore more.
Also, if your current site has a slider of images on the home page, it’s highly recommended that you update to a single strong image or video. Sliders were all the craze several years ago, but all the studies and research show that web visitors don’t read past the first slide.
2. Customize Your 2nd Most Visited Page
For most sites, the second most visited page is the About Page or a Service page. You may hear these pages referred to as ‘money pages’ because they really impact the sales and results of the site. When you review your analytics, determine where most visitors go after the home page. If you are seeing traffic drop off at a certain point in the visitor journey, consider a custom design and layout for the page where traffic is bouncing.
3. Boost Website Speed As Much As Possible
These days, you probably hear this recommendation everywhere. It’s still true that a web page’s load time has a direct impact on engagement and conversions. We’re all getting less patient and visitors are waiting less time for a page to load, especially on mobile devices.
If you need to do some performance optimization, don’t forget to look at the overall build of your site. A lot of older sites weren’t built with mobile in mind and you may not be able to increase performance without doing some development tweaks. The majority of sites require maintenance in order to keep the site performing well.
4. Be Strategic with Lead Generation Forms
A lot of website owners make the mistake of trying to collect too much information from potential customers in a form on their website. You may think that getting all the info will make your sales process easier, but you could be losing conversions because of it. Take a look at your contact or lead generation forms and reduce the number of fields as much as possible.
Also, evaluate the placement of the form on a page. If you are using a landing page for paid traffic campaigns, consider placing the form as close to the top of the page as possible. Shifting the position of the form can make it easier for visitors to fill it out and contact you.
5. Rewrite Your Web Content
The written content on a page is just as important as the design elements and functionality. Does your messaging reflect your business’ current services/products? If not, take a look at reframing your web content.
While there’s always a tendency to add more content for SEO purposes, consider how that content will impact the user experience. Cognitive load is an important factor to user experience. Cognitive load means that you don’t want to make web visitors think too much to understand what your business is about and how to get what they need.
A Website Is Never Finished
After you take care of your list of updates, your work isn’t done. It’s time to start the cycle over again and continue to test how those changes impact the site and your marketing goals. With the continuous improvement model, keep your website looking modern & fresh and stay ahead of your competition.