New Website? Time to Start Planning Version 2.0!

 
It’d be great if you could design a website and then walk away knowing it will be relevant forever. Of course, it would also be great if Ryan Gosling returned our phone calls, but that’s not happening either. (C’mon, Ryan, call us back!) 
If you’ve been to our CPS website before, you probably noticed we’ve done some serious remodeling.

(For those of you who are first-time visitors, welcome! We want you to feel at home, so please feel free to look around and learn more about us. When you contact us, we’d love to return the favor and learn about you.)

Now, just because we’ve finished and published this site doesn’t mean we’re done. Far from it!

In fact, the day after you finish a website—whether we’re talking about overhauling an existing site or the birth of a completely new one—is when you need to start planning your next version.

You might very well be saying “But I just got done with this one!” Well, that’s true, but here’s the deal:

Even if you were thorough and diligent on your most recent version—and we hope so because you’re staking your company’s reputation on it—there is still room for improvement.

How do we know this?

Because there is ALWAYS room for improvement!

More than that, nothing stays the same. Everything is either in a state of growth or decline, and here’s a little secret:

What might be perceived as staying the same is actually a matter of passive deterioration.

(In other words: if your website isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse.)

As you can likely deduce, we weren’t about to let that happen on our watch.

What might be perceived as staying the same is actually a matter of passive deterioration.

1999 Called – It Wants Its Website Back! 

At the risk of beating a recently-departed Equus ferus caballus (fine, “dead horse”), you need to continually improve your website.

But, why?

Great question. After all, it’s just a website, right?

(Hold tight for a sec. Our web design team is about to have a stroke.)

(Okay, we’re good now. Calmed them down with the most recent Texas Law Hawk video.)

No, it isn’t “just” a website. This is the online face of your business we’re talking about here!

You want your existing and potential customers to know you know what’s current and fresh.

Time in the Internet Age flies fast. Many of the best practices from three years ago are completely obsolete by now.

(The only possible exception to this rule is if your website was built in 1998 and hasn’t changed at all since. In this case, your site might have some retro, hipster charm you could capitalize on.)

Technology changes. So do target markets, demographics, and customer preferences and expectations.

If your website doesn’t change with those kinds of factors, your business will find itself sitting on the shelf right next to the original Furbies and Tamagotchis.

So now that you understand WHY you need to keep your website updated and fresh, HOW do you go about doing it?

Put on Your Scuba Gear – It’s Time to Go Diving! 

Data might not go with you to the latest Marvel movie, but it’s still your friend—and we hope you were collecting it from your previous website.

In the event you made the wise decision to track site performance metrics, pull out the old numbers and head to your comfiest chair.

This should have been part of your process for building the latest version of your site, but we know not everyone adheres to this smart practice.

(You know who does, though? Companies, organizations, and individuals who have websites that outperform their competition.)

So maybe you didn’t capitalize on the valuable data you collected for this time. That’s okay. You’re in rebuild mode and looking to do it better this time around!

Record which of your pages had the best bounce rates, most views, and longest time spent on them.

This is significantly more emotionally painful, but do the same with those pages that had the worst bounce rates, least views, and shortest amount of time spent on them.

Pull up the old copies. If you track data, the odds are decent you archive copies of previous pages. Spend some time carefully evaluating them.

Can you tell why the top ones worked? How about what was wrong with their under-performing counterparts?

Not sure exactly what contributed to those numbers being either good or bad?

We can help! We’re constantly tracking, comparing, and evaluating site and page performance for our clients and would be happy to do this for you.

 

The Other Half of the Story 

As incredibly useful as data is, it only tells half the story.

The other half is less quantifiable and logic-based. This is the intuitive feeling you get from your web content.

See, you can think of building and maintaining a website as being both a science and an art.

Data is clearly the science of website performance.

The art of a successful website is found in design elements and the words on each page. If you incorporate video—and you absolutely should for optimal user experience (UX)—you can find the art in there as well.

With that in mind, spend a little time actually looking over your old webpages.

When you do, try your best to put aside any preconceived notions or biases. (We know this isn’t easy.) Look at the pages as though you were doing so for the first time—and you are, in a sense.

Instead of making sure the content says what you want it to say (which is probably how you previously viewed it), adopt the mindset of a first-time visitor who possesses a critical eye and is asking the right questions.

Think about the “eye path” that guides you down to an effective call to action of some kind (even if it’s only to entice you to visit a different page).

No clear eye path? Well, this could explain why that page was one of the underperforming ones!

Upon getting to the bottom there was no call to action? No wonder people weren’t taking advantage of your offer.

Using your previous website in this manner reminds us of the old proverb: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

But now you’re learning from the past. And even if the previous version performed well, you can take your new knowledge and make improvements to generate better results!

Learning from the Past 

Take your newfound insight and knowledge and apply it to your current version.

As you do, ALWAYS keep your end user in mind. Remember, what you want from your website is one thing; what your potential customer wants could be quite different.

With that in mind, leading marketing research firm MECLABS Institute reports that every webpage needs to answer three critical questions the user is going to ask:

Where am I?

 

What can I do here?

 

Why should I do it?

 
 
Navigation must be clear. If the user is on the home page, he or she better know that.

It needs to be readily apparent what can be done or learned on a webpage. When a user cannot figure this out quickly, he or she is going to leave – thereby ruining the page’s bounce rate in the process.

Perhaps the most important question to ask in evaluating your site is “why.” Take time to think about user motivation:

Why should she keep reading?

 

Why would he want to click on this link?

 

Why is she going to opt in for our offer?

 

Make It Easy on Yourself – Hire the Pros 

There is a tremendous amount of work entailed with designing a successful website. The operative word right there being “successful.”

Sure, you can theoretically slap a site together and call it good, but it won’t be.

In fact, it could be bad for your company’s reputation – the one you’re working hard to cultivate with a superior product and/or outstanding service.

Instead, turn to a marketing agency that has both analytical and creative chops to design, maintain, and improve your website.

CP Solutions is a comprehensive marketing agency that handles all facets of digital marketing for our clients. We will work with you to build a new website that surpasses your current version. When the time is right, we will give everything we have to create an even better one!

For more information—or to request a consultation—contact us today by calling (833) 622-0907 or connect with us online right now.

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