V2 Marketing Communications

Table of Contents

Why Redesign Your Website?

In the Internet age, almost every business, whether B2B, B2C, non-profit, local or global needs an online presence. But having a website alone isn’t the key to great results. A website needs to not just exist, it needs to perform by attracting visitors, educating them and convincing them  to buy.

Today, the web is social and interactive, not static like most websites tend to be. Gone are the days where all it took was a domain name, some fancy Flash graphics, and an expensive advertising campaign to temporarily boost traffic. As such, a website can no longer sustain on its own. It must integrate with other online channels such as social media, content, blogging, and multiple tools like marketing automation, sales CRM, and support tools.  

The reason for this shift is largely due to changing buyer behavior. Today’s buyers are constantly connected to the Internet. This technology enables them to control their own buying process and consume information in a self-service manner – when they want and how they want, often without the involvement of a sales person. More importantly, they want to be educated and not sold to.

Traditional marketing methods like broadcast advertising, direct mail, and trade shows can be expensive to produce qualified sales leads. These “outbound” methods work by interrupting potential prospects and are difficult to measure. Instead, business marketers are turning to inbound marketing methods – using their company website and other online methods to attract visitors to their websites, convert leads and close sales.

As you can see from the following chart, websites and other forms of online, inbound marketing content, such as video, social media, blogging and email, have become a considerable factor in how consumers prefer to engage with the brands they buy.

website for brand engagement

Your website is the hub of your business’s marketing efforts. It is the destination for visitors who have found your information in their online search to help them make their buying decision. For this reason, in today’s marketplace, your website is the most important marketing tool you have. Therefore, you should make changes to your website only if they will benefit your business.

In this guide we’ll provide several considerations and useful tips for your next website redesign project, some that you can even implement into your current website to begin seeing excellent results.

Redesign for the Right Reasons

The decision to redesign your website should not be taken lightly. It’s not simply about changing photos, graphics and colors to match a new corporate look and feel, or because it’s been a few years since the last redesign.

Your decision to revamp your website should be made within the context of three simple goals:

  1. More Visitors
  2. More Leads
  3. More Customers

Everything else is secondary.

New colors and flashy graphics may enhance the look of a website, but they are only useful if they improve the usability of the site and influence the visitor’s behavior. While you and the office staff may be excited to see a complete website renovation, if the changes don’t increase you visitors, leads and customers, you will feel pressure to redesign the site again soon.

Visitors search the Internet for information – ideally the information that you have on your website! Therefore, a complete site revamp – even for the right reasons – can cause confusion if visitors cannot easily find the information they want. Keep regular users in mind as you move ahead with your plan. Rather than rebuild your website from scratch, you might consider:

  • Adding more content or optimizing existing website content
  • Add more and better offers that visitors would find valuable, and calls to action to make them easy to find
  • Optimize landing pages with clear description of the offer and a form to capture contact information in exchange for the download
  • Better, more intuitive navigation

Bottom Line

Do not be distracted by the idea that the freshness and “wow factor” of a new website will increase excitement for your brand. The primary motivation for re-developing any website should be to improve performance. A beautiful website, although intriguing and aesthetically pleasing, is secondary to one that attracts more traffic and generates more qualified sales leads.

Keep What Works

So you’ve decided to move ahead with your website redesign. That doesn’t mean you have to throw away all the things that work. Identify and keep the features that help prospects find your website and help turn them into leads and customers. Website assets such as great content, high-ranking keywords, inbound links to individual pages and conversion tools, are critical to a strong web presence and should be transferred into the new website design.

Learn from your data

Before starting your website redesign process, evaluate your current website metrics. If you have not installed a measurement tool like Google Analytics on website, I recommend doing so and collecting a few months of data. Consider things like:

  • How many pages are on your current website?
  • Which pages are most popular/powerful?
  • How many inbound links you have?
  • Where do these links come from?
  • What interior pages have inbound links?
  • Which inbound links are most popular/powerful?
  • Which keywords are most effective?

The answers to these questions will help determine the scope of your new website project and will affect search engine optimization (SEO), keyword research, navigation and design.

301 Redirects

301 RedirectsWe’ve all experienced a time when we clicked on a website link that ended up being broken.  Typically you’ll see a “404 message” or “Page Not Found.” A lot of times this is caused when a page is moved to a new URL and the old link hasn’t been directed to the new page. Think about the lost opportunity when your customers or potential buyers want information that they can’t locate. If you choose to move a page on your website, make certain that you use a permanent 301 Redirect, a method used to change an old URL to a new one.

In addition to keeping visitors happy when navigating your website, permanent 301 Redirects are also important for SEO. When a user can’t find a new page, nor can a search engine, and you’ll lose any SEO status the old page once had. To keep the SEO juice following to new pages, set up a 301 Redirect for all pages that have been moved so that search engines know where to find them.

Get Your Free SEO Report Card

Bottom Line

If you do not fully understand the importance and practice of proper SEO, redesigning your website can be more damaging than helpful. If you do not feel comfortable making SEO changes, it may be best to hire a specialist to perform the redesign so all the hard work you have put into building a web presence does not disappear. It may also be time to contact a professional to set up a system that can track metrics, if you don’t already have a system in place.

Focus on Content, Not Design

Visitors search for websites that provide the information they want. Your website represents who you are and what you offer. When people see it for the first time they’re thinking:

  • Is this site credible?
  • Is it trustworthy?
  • Is this a professional company?
  • Is this company stable?
  • Does this site make me feel welcome?
  • Am I in the right place?

It is important that content serve as the driving force behind an attractive homepage layout. After all, if a flashy design doesn’t result in a visitor converting to a lead, then the investment is wasted.

That being said, good design and an attractive layout will complement your content and will enhance its effectiveness.

Tips for a Great Website Design

Consider these tips to improve the layout and design of the new website:

  • Highlight recent blog posts on your homepage: Showcase the most current three to five articles. Provide a form for visitors to enter their email to subscribe.
  • Limit the number of choices a visitor can make: Too many options can overwhelm visitors. It also makes it difficult to track results. If you offer 25 services, put those 25 under four overarching umbrella services.
  • Proper use of colors: Use the right colors for your audience and to draw attention to select elements. Don’t try to make everything jump out.  The result will be just the opposite – nothing will stand out. Avoid a chaotic mix of colors on your website and instead pick two to four colors for your template and marketing materials.
  • Animations, gadgets and media: Avoid anything unnecessary. Using Flash animations because they look cool is the wrong strategy. In most cases it’s best not to use animated background or background music. Only use media and animations to help support content and information.
  • Layout: Create a clear navigation structure and organize page elements in a grid fashion (as opposed to randomly scattered). Also, don’t be afraid of white space and avoid clutter!
  • Typography: Make sure your website is legible. Use fonts, font sizes and font colors that are easy to read. For easier page scanning, use bullet lists, section headers, and short paragraphs. If your site is English language-based, make sure information flows from left to right and top to bottom.

While design is important, don’t forget that offering great content is what your visitors are ultimately after. A well designed website might convince visitors to take a closer look but they won’t look twice if the content isn’t useful and well organized.  After all, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Create a Content Strategy

Content is one of the most important aspects of any website and it is front and center for an inbound marketing strategy. Content is what search engines and people are both looking for. It’s what drives visitors to your site and turns prospects into leads.

It’s a simple equation:

More pages on a website = pages indexed in search engines = more visitors = more leads and conversions.

Every website page is an opportunity to be indexed by a search engine. To a search engine, a 100-page website is better than a 10-page site and a 500-page site is better yet, IF the content is valuable. Make sure you have a strategy for adding new, original content to your website on a regular basis.

There are several ways to increase the content on a website.

  • You can share presentations using online services like SlideShare or Google Slides
  • Share product photos using Instagram or Shutterfly
  • Create audio podcasts describing your services
  • Post eBooks, white papers and press releases
  • Produce “how-to” videos and post them on YouTube or embed them directly into your website

Take a look at these next must-haves for creating killer website content.

Messaging

There are four basic questions you need to ask yourself regarding the content of your website.

    1. Will people know what I do within seconds?
    2. Will they understand what page they’re on and what it’s about?
    3. Will they know what to do next?
    4. Why should they buy/subscribe/download from this site instead of from someone else?

Ideally, you want your visitors to know the answers to these questions. It should be readily apparent what your site is about, what they can do there and why they should take action.

On your homepage and most important pages, consider these helpful tips in delivering the right message:

  • Create a few headlines and sub-headline ideas for your most important pages. To combat question #4 (why should I buy from you?) use a powerful value proposition and steer clear from generic clichés, gobbledygook terms and corporate speak.
  • Include clear calls-to-action and next steps. Include links in your body copy, next step links at the end of the copy and calls-to-action wherever appropriate. Include a little direction and you’ll be glad you did.

Test your copy. For the most accurate indication of a winning headline, use A/B testing to determine which variation drives the most conversions. You can use tools like HubSpot’s A/B Testing Tools, Google’s Website Optimizer or services like 5 Second Test.

Educate and Offer Value

Even though the purpose of a corporate website is to provide information about your products and services, not everyone is ready to buy when they first hit your site.  Second, remember it’s not all about you. What’s in it for them?

  • Offer more than just product content. Provide eBooks, whitepapers, videos, and other forms of content that is educational. This will nurture prospects through your marketing and sales funnel until they are ready to buy, plus, they will feel as if they are receiving valuable information along the way and not just a sales pitch.
  • In product-specific content, write as if you are speaking directly to your audience. Use words like “you,” and “we.” Be transparent. Make yourself sound human. Speak their language.
  • Write your product content as if you are helping them solve their problems. Avoid “we are the best” speak and instead use “this is how we help you….”

Importance of Quality

Everyone knows having a lot of content is a good thing, but in the days where search engines are getting smarter and buyers are becoming more selective, quality content is truly king.

Quality content is a definite must-have for any website. This includes:

  • Offer unique content. People love this and so do search engines.
  • Write for humans, not search engines. People don’t read like robots.
  • Provide value and educational content that helps others.
  • Do your research when paying for content that is written by third-party services. Some work well, others do not.
  • Keep content fresh. Having news that’s two years old still sitting on your homepage will probably give your visitors a bad feeling.
  • Know your audience. Providing content that is specific to your buyers makes it more relevant for them, and in turn, higher quality.
  • Include evidence when needed. If stating facts, numbers, awards, testimonials and etc., try to back it up with a source and give credit when credit is due.
  • Know your subject well. You probably don’t want an auto mechanic writing about brain surgery. Accurate content equals quality content.

Avoid Industry Jargon

A professional image is necessary but you still want to avoid the dreaded corporate gobbledygook. These are jargon terms and phrases that have been over-used and abused rendering them meaningless (you’ll find them mostly in the high-tech and B2B industry). These words are meant to add more emphasis of a particular subject but instead they make your eyes roll.

Avoid these words on your website and in other materials whenever possible:

  • Next Generation
  • Flexible
  • Robust
  • Scalable
  • Easy to use
  • Cutting edge
  • Ground breaking
  • Best of breed
  • Mission critical
  • And so on… I think I’ve put you through enough torture

Be Clear and Not Clever

For years, advertising has tricked consumers into thinking that catchy and creative headlines and phrases work well at capturing our attention. Maybe they did for a while but not so much anymore. Consumers are tired of advertising trickery, marketing cliques, and surreptitious methods of persuasion. They don’t want to be lied to, gimmicked, or fooled. They just want the truth!

Blogging

Blogging is without a doubt one of the most important assets to any inbound marketing strategy. Here are some reasons to blog:

  • Blogging creates fresh content and more pages of content, which is great for SEO.
  • Blogging helps establish your company’s subject matter experts as industry authorities and thought leaders.
  • Blogging helps drive more traffic and sales leads to your website.
  • Blogging is a great channel to converse and engage with your audience and customers.
  • Blogging is a great way to get valuable inbound links!

Blogging is a perfect complement to your website and one of the easiest methods for producing some of the best results.

According to research from HubSpot, companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that publish fewer than 4 monthly posts. (tweet this)

impact of blogging on websciffart eti

And, companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get more than times as many leads than companies that publish fewer than 4 monthly posts. (tweet this)

impact of blogging on leads

Blogging isn’t as difficult as you think. If the time commitment or ability to create content regularly is your main concern, there are plenty of blogging tools you can use to get started. Consider hiring a freelance writer or use an inexpensive blog writing service (called Content Marketplaces) like Zerys or WriterAccess that will help you get started.

Think you don’t have much to talk about? If your business is like most, you probably already have content that, with a little repurposing, would make several great blog topics. Here are a few places to start looking for ideas:

  • Company brochures
  • Product information sheets
  • Presentation slide decks
  • Sales pitches
  • Brainstorm ideas with other employees in the office
  • Ask customers what they’d like to know more about
  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Describe how news or current events affect your industry
  • Check websites of your suppliers, vendors and competitors

Make Content Shareable and Social

Social media websites have seen and exponential growth in the past decade and continue to grow larger every day. People often “Like” a post, product, or blog entry, causing all of their friends to see what they like and even provide them with a link to find it themselves.

Consider this type of network effect for your own website. Make it just as easy for people to share and socialize about your content and resources. It’s almost blindingly obvious why you should take advantage of this opportunity. Providing people with excellent content that can be shared with their peers will surely increase your flow of traffic.

  • Add a sharing widget or plugin to every page on your site. This will enable visitors to share your pages via all the major social networks. Tools like AddThis or ShareThis are easy to install and provide you with analytic tracking as well.
  • If you’re on a blogging platform like HubSpot or Wordpress, there are plug-ins available that enable people to share your articles plus auto-publish content to your social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Repurpose Content in Multiple Formats

Content is more than just the written word. Media and utilities are excellent forms of content that can turn a text-heavy site into something that pleases the viewing preferences of multiple audiences.

Content takes place in the form of:

  • Imagery: photos, memes, infographics
  • Video: explainer videos, how-to videos, product demos, video podcasts, video email (Vidyard, Wistia Soapbox)
  • Audio: podcasts
  • Online utility tools (e.g. Website Grader)
  • Games and apps

Try using many different formats to distribute the same content to help create a content-rich experience.

Customer Proof

No matter what your business sells, potential buyers like confirmation that you’ve made other customers happy. Testimonials, customer reviews and case studies are powerful sources of content for moving prospects even closer to the final buying stages.

  • Provide authentic customer stories and don’t hide these behind a form!
  • Place real, short and powerful testimonials on your site. Tips to maximize testimonials:
    • Include real names and titles and use pictures of the person along with their testimonial if possible (if they already have a picture on LinkedIn, ask to use that!). This adds authenticity. Not including a name makes a testimonial seem phony even if it’s real.
    • Instead of randomly placing testimonials on any page, consider placing testimonials on certain topics on the pages relevant to them. For example, if you have a quote about your awesome customer service, place that on a service or support page. If you have one for your convenient return policy, place that somewhere in a shopping cart or pricing page.
    • The more proof you have the better. Make it part of your strategy to collect case studies and testimonials when possible.
    • Leverage other online sites that provide reviews, such as Yelp (for local businesses), or industry specific directories like Capterra (for software providers).

Bottom Line

Original content is your website’s messenger; it will inform prospects about what you do and how you do it better than your competitors. With a vast array of formats to create content, you should always be contributing original content to keep prospects engaged and interacting with your website.

Focus on Conversion

Great content and successful SEO can drive a lot of traffic to a website. But remember, the goals we set in Section 1 for your new website: more visitors, more leads and more customers.

Traffic alone is not enough. In order to become leads, and eventually customers, visitors must convert – voluntarily provide their contact information in exchange for content on your site.

Conversion of website visitors into leads takes place on special web pages called landing pages. A landing page is an internal page on a site where a visitor is directed after following a call to action. For example, a visitor may “click here” to download an eBook. The landing page is where they are sent to fill out a conversion form.

Landing pages are great places to showcase your products and services and they offer the tools to monitor results.

The critical thing about landing pages is that you need the ability to monitor, experiment, and improve them quickly. If you depend on your IT department to make changes to your landing pages, you will not be able to adapt to changing trends and risk missing opportunities to convert visitors into leads.

Some key concepts for redesigning your landing pages.

  • Don’t include website navigation.
  • Keep the description of the offer clear, simple, and concise
  • Keep the form above the fold to avoid the visitor having to scroll.

To maximize efficiency, consider these questions:

  • How fast can you launch a new landing page?
  • Can one person do it in 15 minutes?
  • What is the cost of experimentation?

A good landing page is one that can be set up and modified in minutes to allow you to experiment, monitor and continuously improve its performance.

INSERT GRAPHIC OF A LANDING PAGE

Bottom Line

Landing pages are where the magic happens; they are the gateway to your conversion offers that create engaged and interested leads. Make sure you can grab their attention with an interesting offer, but also coherently explain what is being offered on the landing page!

Experiment, Test and Adjust

So, you’ve made some landing pages. Done? Nope. Landing pages are not a “set it and forget it” proposition. They should be built with a flexible tool that allows you to easily monitor and make changes on the fly, in order to attract more leads and customers to your products and services.

Your website should be redesigned using a content management system (CMS) that makes it easy to add and edit website pages, as well as capture and track visitor data. At V2 Marketing Communications, we use the platform developed by our strategic partner, HubSpot. Their CMS is built on top of powerful contact relationship management (CRM) database that captures information on visitor conversions and lets us supply our visitors with additional related content, all with a single web-based tool.

INSERT CTA OR OFFER TO CONTACT V2 MARKETING

Ultimately, your offers and landing pages should help educate your prospects through their buying process. If your landing pages and offerings do not seem to be reaching their full potential, here are a few things you can try:

  • Attach links to your landing page in your email newsletters, blogs and other website content.
  • Buy pay-per click ads that go straight to the landing page. Don’t use your home page as a landing page.
  • Use a landing page as the next step after a trade show or event.

Some other helpful sites for experimenting with your conversion events:

Bottom Line

Website redesign is not a one-and-done deal. Your website should evolve and improve over time. This is especially important for landing pages, since they help convert faceless website visitors into opportunities from whom you have collected vital information.

Review Your Metrics

We set the goals of your website redesign in Section 1: more visitors, more leads and more customers. We have a great new website design and layout that supports and enhances awesome original content.

The website development “project” may now be complete. But remember, your website is a business tool and it should be expected to deliver business results. It will require ongoing content creation, monitoring, and improvement in order to remain successful.

There are, of course, many key performance indicators (KPIs) you can track to gauge the effectiveness of your website. Do not concern yourself with metrics that track the technical performance of your website. Instead, concentrate on these primary measurements:

  1. Visitors.
    1. How many people are coming to my website?
    2. Where are they coming from?
  2. Leads.
    1. How many visitors converted to leads?
    2. What did they convert on?
  3. Sales.
    1. How many leads converted to sales?

These metrics will help you determine what parts of your website need attention and possible revision.

At V2 Marketing Communications, we can show you how the metrics work, and provide the monitoring and analysis for you so that you can focus on your primary business objective – delivering your products and services to those new customers.

Bottom Line

Metrics are the report card for your website. By redesigning your website, then monitoring results and doing small, incremental adjustments to the site over time, you will be able to maximize your new website for generating visitors, leads, and ultimately, sales.

Conclusion

The Internet has had a profound effect on the way that consumers shop. Most consumers start their buying journey online. Traditional marketing and advertising is not as effective as it once was. To stay competitive, businesses must use “inbound marketing” principles and practices to attract website visitors and convert sales leads.

Your website is a critical business tool for success in this new business environment. Here are a few tips as you consider a change to your website:

  • Start by defining your website redesign goals: more visitors, more leads and more customers. Remember that most companies don’t need a new website, but rather need better tools on their existing site.
  • Protect your assets during the design process so you do not damage your website presence. Create a list of all your existing website pages and online content. If web addresses will change, preserve SEO relevance by creating 301 Redirects from old URLs to their corresponding new web pages.
  • Make a great first impression by focusing on the functionality of your homepage.
  • Creative and original content is the most powerful way of attracting and retaining website visitors.
  • Design compelling landing pages so visitors will be more willing to provide their contact information for your content offerings.
  • Make constant adjustments to landing pages by experimenting with their layout and formatting.
  • Set up a system to measure the metrics of your website so you can reproduce successful campaigns – and scrap failing ones.

Bottom Line

Website redesign projects are laborious and expensive. Companies often jump into the process without the proper planning and become frustrated that the new website still does not produce the results they expected.

Once more, remember the goals we set in Section 1 for your new website: more visitors, more leads and more customers. In some cases, simply executing some of these tips into your existing website can produce excellent results. And with proper planning, creative design and content strategy using an inbound marketing approach, your website redesign can run smoothly and produce continuous success.

V2 Marketing Communications can help you through your website redesign process by providing guidance and expertise from overall web design concepts, to CMS and CRM integrations, to monitoring the metrics. Our team is ready to help ensure that this critical business tool delivers the results you expect.

Your offer headline

There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don't look even slightly believable. There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don't look even slightly believable.

Get Free Widget
You'd be surprised how effective it can be to just include a warm, smiling photograph of yourself. Or maybe you wouldn't be so surprised. Maybe you just don't surprise easily. Or maybe you're just incredibly wise. Yes. That must be it. Wise and warmly smiling. What a winning combination.
Shawn Bristow

Shawn Bristow HubSpot, Inc.

You'd be surprised how effective it can be to just include a warm, smiling photograph of yourself. Or maybe you wouldn't be so surprised. Maybe you just don't surprise easily. Or maybe you're just incredibly wise. Yes. That must be it. Wise and warmly smiling. What a winning combination.
Shawn Bristow

Shawn Bristow HubSpot, Inc.