It is the time of year to start making digital marketing plans for 2019. For many practices, that includes updating their website, or building a new one. Because top performing websites require a significant investment of both money and time, planning is essential for budgeting and development.
I shared an article last year about planning your website update or redesign in 2018 that provided some strategies that are probably even more applicable today. Some of them included:
- How to incorporate Google Analytics data into your design strategy
- Mobile optimization
- Impact of logos
- Sticky Navigation and calls to action, particularly on mobile]
- Website speed (load times)
Today, I want to share some additional strategies and suggestions to planning your website update or redesign for 2019.
Beyond Google Analytics
Earlier, I recommended that you use data (Google Analytics) and identify what is working on your website and what needs to be improved. That hasn’t changed. Data and research-supported website designs will almost always outperform websites developed without user data. But I also suggest you take it even further.
Conversion Rates – Not only is it important to look at your website’s traffic, user demographics and activities (time on site, clicks to pages, you need to combine your website and page traffic data with your lead tracking data to determine conversion rates. Identifying your conversion rate is essential in generating more leads and designing a high-conversion design. Although some Internet marketers, or articles indicate that a 2 percent conversion is about average for professional service provider websites, our websites convert visitors into actual leads at a 5 to 7 percent clip. The key for you is to establish an accurate baseline and incorporate design strategies that will improve your results.
Heat Mapping – Although Google analytics data is a foundation for good website design strategies, heat mapping can provide an additional layer of user data that is visual and useful when identifying key design elements. Heat mapping can shed light on 1) wording, color and placement of calls-to-action, 2) removing re-positioning low-engagement page sections, and 3) what visual elements are capturing your visitors’ attention and engagement.
Budget appropriately; cost and time
A big part of effective planning for a website redesign is establishing a realistic budget. This can be influenced by a number of different variables that the type of website and the updated features that need to be incorporated. Some considerations on budgeting:
- Custom vs. template (pre-themed) website
- Size of the website
- The redesign needs new custom photography
- Custom home page branding video
- New content development
- Size of the website
- Special design features
Of course with all these variables and others, the projected costs and timeframe in order to build it can vary quite a bit. Generally, developing a completely new custom website with custom photography, custom photos and new optimized content requires about 4-5 months to develop and the cost can range between $8,500 and $19,000. In many cases the agency developing the website will also extend an interest free payment plan of up to 18 months, or even more.
Build Authority and Credibility
You will also want to incorporate strategies that address Google’s recent ranking algorithm change (Medic Update) in August. The emphasis of this update was to further reward websites that demonstrated more expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T). If you are building a new website, consider incorporating:
- Updating or rewriting content on key services pages. Developing of more substantive, useful and relevant consumer-focused content and resources that stimulate user engagement. Content is still king, but it has less to do with quantity (and even quality), and more about relevance.
- Links from text and optimized trust seals to your providers’ profile pages on those relevant authority websites; build your credibility with connections to recognized industry-leading websites.
- Incorporate review marketing for high-priority review websites into your website design strategy.
- Promote social media links to stimulate activity and connection with your social media audience.
You probably recently noticed some website designs that stand out, simply look more cutting edge, and “designed”. Of course the colors, photos, videos and layout are major factors. However, there is one aspect that many times gets overlooked, yet it has a major impact on your website’s brand or image; Fonts and Typefaces!
Just a few years ago, websites were forced to use a handful of typefaces to present textual content. Today, designs now have a wide variety of typeface designs and fonts to choose from, and typography plays a much larger role to enhance the feeling and emotions of your website design. By incorporating more creativity in your website’s text design, your updated site will project a more detailed and finished image.