Undertaking a website revamp can be a major task, one which requires some planning and forethought before jumping into the process. The reason for this is that to end up with the kind of site that provides a truly engaging experience for users and at the same time accomplishes business goals, a number of factors need to be considered. If you overlook an important point on either of these two fronts, you will more than likely only achieve a partial success, rather than the resounding achievement you’re looking for.
The Wells Fargo Corporation, the world’s biggest bank by market capitalization, recently concluded a complete revamp of its corporate website after conducting a massive study to determine users’ habits when using site services. During the study, Wells Fargo analyzed more than 50 billion pieces of data with call center information, so as to gain a fuller understanding of all the ways customers interact with the bank.
In some ways, the company was surprised by what it learned, but after all that data was analyzed, Wells Fargo had uncovered some deficiencies in its processes, which were corrected in its website revamp, so as to streamline processes and make them more accessible to site visitors. Of course, not everyone has the resources to undertake that kind of study before addressing a site revamp, but the point is that proper planning can be extremely useful in developing the kind of website which customers really appreciate, and which helps you grow your business.
When Your Website No Longer Matches Company Goals
The first part of your planning process should be a complete re-evaluation of your business and your website, to see how well the two match up. Since the original design and development of your site, your business may have undergone some serious changes and may have morphed into a somewhat different business entity than how you started out.
To break this down a little further you can ask yourself some hard questions like:
- What the current site design has achieved, what it lacks, and how it promotes your business objectives.
- Think about how successful your site is at communicating your brand and its core values to your target audience.
- Is your site helping you to consistently reach sales targets, and if not, what can be changed to make that happen?
Next, you should think about how user-friendly your web design is, and whether or not it has a visual appeal.
Another very important consideration is how high your site is ranked by Google and the other search engines. You can check this yourself by conducting a few searches using keywords that exemplify your business – if your site doesn’t show up on the first page or two, your ranking just isn’t up to snuff.
You don’t have to do a Wells Fargo study, but conducting some basic analytics will help you in understanding your conversion rate, bounce rate, abandonment rate, and your overall traffic on the site.
You can analyze your website performance using RankWatch Website Analyser to get the basic information you need. The screenshot above is the example.
Once you have gathered all this information about your site, you should plan for including methods which will address each shortcoming you’ve identified in the analysis.
For instance, if you’ve determined that your site is not ranked as high as you’d like it to be, you need to plan for better search engine optimization (SEO) that will improve your rankings. That, in itself, is a very broad category which could include changing content, tweaking website structure, adding images, and promoting backlinks to your site.
Maybe you’ve determined that your company brand is only weakly recognized by your target audience, and that may call for improved marketing on your part, on your website, and through other channels.
Is Your Site Properly Hosted?
One major component of having a powerful and appealing website is your hosting service. How much downtime or loss of service has your site experienced in the past year or so?
When visitors to your site encounter any kind of service loss, you’ll be lucky if they come back, because there’s a competitor’s site they can go to instead. You’ll also start losing visitors if the pages of your site don’t load fast enough.
Google found out as page time goes from 1 second to 7 seconds, the likelihood of a visitor abandoning the page increases by 113%
Internet surfers are notorious for abandoning a site if it doesn’t load very quickly – there’s no such thing as a patient website visitor. If your site doesn’t load fast enough, you could be losing visitors in droves, and your site host could be the culprit.
You should also consider the kind of security your web host has provided thus far. While you may not have experienced any kind of cyber attack, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your host is using all the latest security methods.
What about technical support and service – do you get responsive treatment from your host when there’s any kind of problem, or when you have questions about the hosting service?
Review the questions above regarding your web hosting service, and if you’re not satisfied that you’re receiving full value for the service, it may be time to start looking for a service which is more reliable, more modern, or just plain faster.
You may end up paying more money for a better hosting service, but if you’re truly looking to improve your website for 2019, it may just be that changing site hosts is one of the aspects necessary to achieve that.
Cost of Revamping Your Site
Unless you’re a huge corporation with a fairly elastic budget, you may need to take into account the cost when revamping your site. Based on the market research, the estimated cost of a website is ranged from $200 – $10,000.
This market study is based on 400 freelancers’ Upwork profiles with top 100 freelancers above 85% job success rate.
While the cost of building a new site might vary depending on content and complexity, a revamp could cost you almost the same amount, depending on the level of change necessary.
For instance, if your business has changed significantly in the past couple of years, revamping your site might require almost as much of an overhaul as building an entirely new website.
Changing web hosting services might also add an extra cost element to the picture, although this should not be a drastic increase over what you were formerly paying.
Adding new pages and new content will undoubtedly cost more money, and if you have to engage the services of an SEO expert to improve your rankings, then that will also add to the bottom line on your revamp cost.
This is another really good reason to plan a revamp for your website because part of that planning should involve estimates of the cost for all necessary changes.
Be sure to include SSL technology
If your site doesn’t already include Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology, you should definitely make sure that it does in 2019.
Google has labeled all non-SSL sites as insecure because site interactions are not encrypted and are subject to interception by cybercriminals. That means that not only will your site be subject to attack, but it will also be ranked lower by Google because it doesn’t provide site users with secure interactions.
To implement SSL on your site, all you have to do is install an SSL certificate on your website, and if you’re looking for the most economical way to get this done, you can use the Let’s Encrypt service, which is free for everyone.
This will allow you to install a free digital certificate on your website so that you can provide a secure experience for all your users.
When transactions are initiated between a user and a website, the server sends its SSL certificate to the browser, and an encrypted data session is set up. This will make your users secure against hacking attempts, and it will make your site more attractive because it is protected against such attempts.
Make your site GDPR-compliant
As of May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect for all members of the European Union and its partners. The regulation requires that all organizations managing large amounts of personal data comply with the main points of the resolution.
The three main points are:
- Users must provide consent to having their personal data used in any way
- Users have the right to request information about all personal data a company holds on them.
- Users can request to have their personal data deleted from an organization’s database.
If your site maintains a large volume of information on clients, particularly of a financial nature, and especially if some of your clients are based in Europe, you will need to comply with these GDPR regulations.
The best way to go about this is to obtain one of several packages advertised online which can help you assess your company’s exposure to GDPR, and offer recommendations on the best way to comply with all relevant points of the requirement.
In general, these packages will help you to:
- Investigate and audit your company’s data
- Identify all personal data
- Document all privacy rules and share them across all organizations in your company
- Protect all personal data to the level required
- Audit and report on your compliance.
There are actually a great many factors which could potentially be considered and incorporated into your 2019 website revamp, but it isn’t really necessary to include every single one of them. If you make a strong effort to apply the important points referenced above, that will more than likely be enough to accomplish your website goals for several years into the future.
Visitors to your site will be engaged and satisfied, and most will probably return periodically to check on any updates. Business-wise, your site should also be successful, because more visitors are attracted to your site, and that means more people will be taking the desired actions you intend, whether that be providing you with an email address or actually making a purchase. Your 2019 website revamp should position you to be a leader in your field for the next several years at least.