When looking to update your image what course of action do you take?
It is a very important question and one which after reading this we hope you will answer in a different way to the one you probably chose right now!
We have been building websites as part of our business model for the past eighteen years so have pretty much seen it all. About eight years ago we changed the way we looked at websites and how they were built. It was an education for us and one which we still find ourselves today trying to educate others.
We at Business Search see so many businesses having their website rebuilt from scratch with no real understanding of why!
Reasons why are varied;
- the owner was bored with the look of it.
- It wasn’t working for us
- We have it for three years so it needs a redesign
- We are rebranding the business so the website has to be rebuilt.
Some of these may seem like fair points, but here is a little bedtime story to give you nightmares
A client had gone to a big brand agency with a view to updating their brand.
Nothing wrong with that though we do err on the side of caution – what is your brand?
The agency worked on producing a fantastic new look for the client, a great new identity that could be used in all of their material including the website. Okay, no great issues you say!
Well as the client explains just what went wrong;
“Things started well, the design was done the site changed it all looked great. We now just had to wait for the new business to come knocking at the door. It didn’t!
We actually dropped our conversions dramatically
We just did not know why the site looked great, it was clean professional looking I was scratching my head”
The truth is it is not unusual for this sort of thing to happen. It is very common with a website redesign
They had fallen victim to what some in the trade call the website Gremlins. The client was actually lucky as the old site was still available to be used to follow the correct process. Yes it had been an expensive mistake as the design agency had not done anything wrong.
A large company had spent quite a few thousand on their new online shop
It had taken a lot longer than originally anticipated, the owner took responsibility for a lot of that for not delivering answers quick enough.
Their issue was when the new site launched their sales dropped dramatically and showed no signs of recovering.
Unfortunately due to the expense of the new system and the changes to working practice to implement this they were not in a position to revert. Working with the new site was their only option
This is not unusual when a major redesign takes place all of the previous learning the website had done was lost.
A website should be treated as an employee, you have to train it to do a job. It has to be looked after, re-trained and generally kept up to date.
What pain do you as a business suffer when a member of staff leaves. You have to bring in a new one, train them to get them up to speed and then after a period they may start to generate revenue or worst case scenario they leave.
In this instance it was like getting a new member of staff, all of the training had to be redone. However moving forward they will never make the same mistake, it far more cost effective to keep a good employee and upgrade than to get a brand new one and totally retrain.
Where are those Gremlins
Redesign issues can hide in many places, yes it all sound far-fetched gremlins in a website. We use the term as they are nasty little critters that can cause major damage.
When a redesign is carried out everything changes so there really is no way of knowing what works or what does not. It’s back to square one and relearning what has just been unlearnt.
You may just get lucky and increase conversions, though you will still not know why and without this knowledge if things start to go wrong you may find yourself coming unstuck.
Call to actions, contact buttons, popovers may all be less effective than before.
Test then test again, there are some great books out there on this subject, over the years we have developed our testing methods to help us identify what is working and what is not. The term quite often used is best practice – that is nonsense, all businesses are different so it is never a one size fits all.
A/B tests help identify where issues lie and help put in place a fix.
So what is the best way to approach this?
There is, of course, a better way to approach this, a less risky one. A way that will see you smiling instead of crying!
It is a term phrased by a Canadian company and used to evolve a website in a test method and it’s called Evolutionary Site Redesign (ESR). It is something we have advocated for years only we never had the name for it.
It uses tried and tested methods of conversion rate optimisation to rebuild/redesign your website. You end up with a new site that not only looks great but it converts as well!
What else can affect conversions?
If this is the first time you are looking at getting a website built then you may not have come across this. If you’re looking at getting a new website or have visited a few companies this may sound familiar.
“You need this on your sites as it is will really help, it is going to be the next best thing”
This is generally the thoughts of developers or designers who want to try something new out and you’re the guinea pig.
How does someone know if this will work for you unless it has been tested? Ask for test results of uplift on other sites.
There is nothing wrong with moving forward and the latest thing may just provide you with the edge over the competition.
ESR provides you with a way of testing it to ensure it will lift conversions and not damage them before it is implemented.
Businesses within this sector (web-design, development, marketing) generally talk to each other or read articles on what is the best way to do something. We call it best practice! Really it is just a case of I am a sheep and I will follow what everyone else is doing as it must be right.
This thought process can have damaging effects on your website conversions and all other conversions from social media, advertising etc. If it is not part of an ESR!
You could argue the case that is not ESR just a new fad? A new best practice!
If the results of doing this were not based on real data from real people interacting with a solution derived from questions that need answering. That provide in-depth insights to how conversions and ulimately how your businesses bottom line will be affected then yes.
A Designers Website
These may look beautiful, you may love the look of it. The problem is that beauty is only skin deep.
Beauty can lead to all sorts of ruin as it doesn’t have to actually do anything but look good.
We suppose the question is “Do you want a nice looking website, or do you want a website that converts into business?”
We are only interested in results! It really is that simple.
If a website does what it is supposed to do and project the image of your business in a professional manner while converting traffic to leads or sales then great, by carrying out further conversion optimisation it can get even better.
If your website looks great but does not convert then we probasbly need to speak.
To Many Cooks
We all know the saying Too many cooks spoil the broth.
This is so prevalent in large companies when it comes to re-developing a website. Each department has its own views on what it needs from the website.
The result is a slow-moving process in which no one gets what they need, the site ends up being months behind schedule which in turn starts to strain relationships with the development team and your business.
Using ESR the site is built on facts not opinions. The key stakeholders can counter the departments with the facts. They can drive the process forward a lot quicker.
With ESR at the beginning of a project, the questions have been asked and the required solution decided upon. This is company wide. Now we get on and aks the questions to provide the results required to reach the companies expectations.
A website is not an opinion it is an employee who has a job to do. It has to be given the best tools it can to achieve this.
Let’s Work Together
We really do want to hear from you, we love challenges and exceeding expectations.
So to manage our expectation and yours initially, let’s start by saying “we are not the cheapest” If we were we could not do our job correctly.
We did say we’d be honest! We want clients who want to succeed and are open to questions, who are willing to work with us to achieve their success. If you think this is you then yes we want to talk with you