Many companies out there when faced with conversion problems or slipping results quickly turn to the problem being their website. Their solution is to typically invest in a complete site redesign. They invest time, money and resources into a costly redesign and are often met with dismal results in some cases even worse off than when they started.
Although sometimes a full redesign is necessary to increase conversion rates, the traditional website redesign strategy is flawed for several reasons. Today we are going to look at how the traditional model is flawed and a better website redesign strategy.
Why The Traditional Website Redesign Strategy Is Flawed
Most companies when looking for a big redesign do so on the basis of assumptions. They find a few websites they like then redesign their own site based on those “templates” assuming the new layout and elements will bring them better results.
If you have been following our blog for any period of time you know that we preach that you can’t assume anything in marketing, specifically you can’t assume something is going to produce better results. Assumptions will lead to failure 9 times out of 10.
This “assumption” model produces these types of results for a couple of reasons.
First, it isn’t based on any data whatsoever. They simply design the new site based on what they feel will look good and what they think their audience will respond to and what they feel they should know. Again they base it on assumptions.
Instead, they should build up their hypotheses, figure out what was driving the conversions on the old site and what wasn’t having an impact, pick the top 2-3 elements that need to be focused on, then design their new site based on this information.
To do this you need to focus on heat and clickmap information as well as your analytics to find out what the most important elements are and base your new design on that.
A good example is that we were talking with a company recently who redesigned their site moving from the Joomla platform over to WordPress. They were getting SOLID results with the old site but ran into far too many issues and roadblocks with Joomla. Instead of creating a copy of the site that was working they found a design that was “close” and ran with it on the new platform.
The result was their conversions dropped by more than half and their traffic all of a sudden got expensive.
Bottom line is that you need to pay attention to your data before doing a redesign and be strategic on the rollout.
How do you do that you might be asking?
Well recently we had a company redesign the home page of their site, but instead of just pushing “go” on the new design we did something a bit different. Aside from the above strategies, we applied some measurable strategies.
The new home page was set up but not as the new home page. It was instead set up as a sub-page of the main site, hidden from the general public.
We then proceeded to test the new home page design against the existing site running 50% of the traffic to the new page. The big caveat was that on the new page we setup tracking goals on just about every main element they had, from the video to the several calls to action. If you can’t measure you can’t improve. So we tracked everything to make absolutely sure that the new site was the good move as well to mitigate any downside if it were to actually be a losing variation.
Luckily we found that the new design produced a crazy increase in engagement, click-throughs, and conversions compared to the original design.
As a result of this, we have begun redesigning additional supporting pages with the new design and testing them as well.
Before you decide to redesign your site and hope it will help improve the results you are getting be sure you are measuring the results, reducing the risk of failure, and designing your new site based on data instead of assumptions.
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If you want assistance coming up with your hypotheses to make an educated decision on redesigning your site be sure to reach out as we are happy to help any way we can.