Every month, we come across organizations that have spent $30k on a website redesign without considering any of the elements that optimize that site for digital marketing. It’s not uncommon for organizations launch an expensive, pretty website, but shoot themselves in the foot by failing to set goals for what they want their site to accomplish. Missing opportunities for data or conversion? Well, that just sucks. Want to make sure your fancy website doesn’t suck? We partnered with our friends at Elevator Up to bring you some advice.
The website redesign process is an all-hands-on-deck collaboration with every facet of your organization, and it’s important to include all relevant partners throughout the process. Your outside agencies and vendors are important partners, and will have valuable contributions along your journey to a new website and refreshed content.
Rest assured, you don’t have to be a professional web developer to get your website optimized correctly for current needs and future plans. Here are 9 things to keep in mind when talking about website redesign.
1. Tracking Codes: Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and the Facebook Pixel should all be installed on your site from the very moment it launches. Not planning on activating Facebook ads anytime soon? It doesn’t matter. You want to have these tracking codes in place so that you collect all historical data for any future campaigns. Each of these items is just a line of code, and they should be extremely simple for your developer to install on the site. Make sure you’re the owner of all of these tracking accounts, even if a third-party agency sets them up for you.
2. Sales Funnel: We’ve worked with countless web developers who fail to have a conversation about the digital marketing sales funnel. This is the map of the journey you want your customer to take. What is it that you’re trying to accomplish with the site? What action do you want visitors to take, and what smaller actions (e.g. researching information) need to happen to lead up to that one big action (e.g. requesting a phone call)? This is the structure of your success, and making sure your resources (website, digital marketing) are encouraging this is vital.
3. Ongoing Edits: No website launches in its final form. [Sigh of relief…] You’ll want to ensure that you can easily make edits or updates to text, headlines, and photos without expensive or time-consuming consultations with your web developer. Invest the time and training hours to learn about what specifically can you change later – and the easiest way to do it. Just because you have a WordPress site doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to change every aspect of the site at a later date without the help of your developer. You want to be extremely specific about what pieces – pictures, text, links, buttons – you want to be able change at a later date. This will impact your marketing agility dramatically.
Here’s an example: Often we’ll find that a page on the site doesn’t seem to be getting the visitors to take the desire action. That may mean that we want to change the text on one of the buttons so that it has a better call to action. Suddenly, a conversation that happened a year ago with the web developer has an impact on how quickly we’re able to make that change for marketing purposes.
4. Email Marketing Integration: Your site should be set up in a way that makes it extremely easy to connect to third party email marketing platforms (such as MailChimp) to the backend. Often, it makes sense to have all emails go through a form on the site. We recommend using something like Gravity Forms or Wufoo so that you have easy control over this at a later date.
5. Clickable Phone Numbers: Any instance of a phone number being presented should be a hyperlink. That means that users should be able to click that phone number and instantly start dialing from their mobile phone. Do you have older users that get confused when they see these options on their desktop? Your web developer can easily make it so that this feature only shows up on mobile devices if that is necessary. Up the data ante: Implement a trackable phone number to collect further data on the calls and callers.
6. Social Media Feeds: If you’re going to leverage the power of social media marketing now or at a later date, a social media feed that integrates with your website could be an excellent idea. This means that whenever you post to your Facebook page or other social media channel, the webpage will automatically display that post in the location you’ve chosen. And get those social media icons on your site! Many visitors research a business by going straight for the Facebook or Instagram accounts.
7. Video Marketing: As the popularity of video marketing continues to grow, be sure your website is setup to handle what you are doing or may do with video in the future. Choose a video host now, and remember that YouTube isn’t the only name in the game. We’ve found success using Wistia, a video host that is easy to implement across digital platforms.
8. Yoast Is Not SEO: Understand what SEO is and is not. Many (if not most) of the web developers in the world specialize in code and design – which is not SEO. Throwing a plugin on the WordPress site is not optimizing it for SEO. If you’re not confident in your web developer’s SEO prowess, seek out a second opinion and do the work up front to make sure your website’s SEO is strong and fierce.
9. Dev Environment: It’s difficult to play around within a site when it’s already live. Digital marketing is all about testing and optimizing, and you want to make sure that you can test to your heart’s content without breaking any code or confusing your audience with frequent changes. It’s very common to A/B test items such as button colors, placement, and layout. Ask for this during the design/redesign process, and make sure your digital marketing partners are able to easily access and use it.
Truly successful digital marketing is so much more than just a flashy social media presence. It’s built on a foundation that is a well-optimized, user-friendly website. Save yourself the headaches, time, and money, and think about these 9 key points up front. You and your team will be so glad you did.