Whenever I talk to a prospect who is planning a website redesign, I start with asking why. As Simon Sinek exhorts in his TED talk, knowing your why creates inspiration. What I've learned is that getting to the why isn't always easy.
It's often easier to fall into the assumption that a new website will solve a plethora of business problems from sales to marketing to customer service to branding to hiring and more. And thus, conversations often start with tactics (usability, design, features) instead of strategy. What do you really need?
The Purposeful Website
A website is a work of engineering. Building a modern website involves business strategy, marketing research, sales processes, information architecture, communication skills, user-centric design, web programming and networking support. Without a plan, a website redesign project faces diminished odds of success.
At Knowmad, we strongly believe that the primary purpose of a corporate website is to support business growth. Any other purpose is secondary. Take a look at a few of the statistics below to see why we're convinced this is the highest purpose for your corporate site:
- 78% of Internet users conduct product research online. (Source: HubSpot)
- 57% of corporate buyers have purchased goods online. (Source: Acquity Group)
- 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog. (Source: HubSpot)
- Companies with 51 to 100 pages of content generate 48% more traffic than companies with 1 to 50 pages. (Source: HubSpot)
- By 2016, more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web. (Source: Forrester Research )
And if your company is not keeping up with these trends, I assure you that your competition is.
Finding a Fit: Traffic, Leads & Customers
If you agree with our reasoning and define the primary purpose of your website as a sales and marketing tool, the next step is figuring out how it fits into your organization. Knowing how your website supports your sales and marketing plan will make your decision-making process clear-cut.
Essentially a website can support your sales and marketing plan in three ways:
- Traffic – bringing more visitors to your website
- Leads – converting more visitors into leads
- Customers – supporting the sales process of converting leads into customers
Depending on your needs, your company may need one or more of the above.
Creating a Plan
With a goal and strategy in mind, it's time to put together a plan. Now we can answer the question of whether to initiate a website redesign or not. If you need more traffic, a website redesign can only get you so far; you'll also need to employ search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing such as blogging, and social media.
On the other hand, if your website is not converting existing traffic, taking a close look at the current visitor behavior will provide valuable insights. If the website is marketable, analyzing and optimizing the conversion paths will likely create faster results than waiting for a redesign process and hoping that it creates the desired outcome!
Finding Your Why
In the face of the numerous possibilities available with online marketing, I resort to the succinctness of Occam's razor. Our 4 Step Internet Marketing Plan helps you get to the heart of your online marketing plan. If you'd like help creating your plan, contact us for a free consultation. Now, what's the primary purpose of your website?
William McKee is a founding partner of Knowmad. As a Web architect & Internet business consultant, he is passionate about applying business knowledge & technical expertise to deliver solutions that advance business online. With over 15 years of Web experience, his current work involves designing strategies and creating processes to help business attract, engage and convert website visitors into customers.