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Destination MarketingWeb Design

Considering a website redesign? Stop and read this first.

Over the past thirteen years, I can’t tell you how many companies we’ve met with to talk about a website redesign. And of all those meetings, certain reasons often stand out:

  • “Our CEO is tired of looking at it”,
  • “The site’s become stale”
  • “Our competitor just launched a new site”

And I get it, familiarity breeds contempt. But none of those reasons fully justify a complete rebuild of your one target destination for the majority of your marketing. Achieving the best website design is a substantial undertaking, and can create disorientation among your existing base, negative SEO impacts from “page not found” errors in search listings, not to mention the significant investment of time you’ll need to work with the team rebuilding it.

That’s not to say that a redesign is never a good idea, but a redesign based on taste just isn’t enough. Sure, we could crawl the interwebs all day, picking out ugly sites and pitching those companies based on what we thought of its appearance. But it wouldn’t get us very far. So don’t let it be the reason you do it for yourself.

Instead, let data dictate design direction (whoa, that’s a lot of alliteration). We use methods like heat-mapping in conjunction with Google Analytics to determine which content is performing, and how the front-end of the site is being used. Here’s an example:

The warmer the area, the more clicks were recorded. You’ll see that our navigation gets a lot of attention, but the main offer got hardly any (I tend to think it’s because of my ugly mug). Our Google Analytics showed that we weren’t getting any traffic to the landing page, so we changed up the language and brightened up the background artwork to make it more inviting. Within the first day of making the change, we had 12 visits to the landing page.

We also noticed that the services beneath the homepage scroller had been getting a lot of attention. Visitors were clicking on them, expecting to go somewhere, but they weren’t linked up. Changing that area improved our content flow and reduced our homepage bounce rate (percentage of people leaving the site after only viewing one page) by 7%.

We also noticed that our visitors weren’t scrolling down as far as we’d like them to on our services page. So we condensed the copy, and now visitors see everything we have to say. Note that the warmer colors show how far down visitors have scrolled.

Those three simple changes, based on data, can make a huge improvement on the way the site is used, and the conversions we get.

My advice is, before you’re staring down the barrel of a costly rebuild, take a look at how the site is being used by your visitors and make subtle improvements along the way. If the issues are just too large (your website isn’t mobile-friendly, has gotten to large and confusing over time, or no longer reflects your brand), then consider a complete redesign.

We can help!

Contact us for a free website audit, to look at not only the front-end of your site, but visitor paths, popular content, page load speed and more. We’ll help you determine if your problems can be solved by simple fixes or something larger.

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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