2015 is coming to a close and you’ve probably already analysed the figures. If you didn’t perform as well as expected it’s time to review your website strategy for next year. To help, we’ve come up with several steps to ensure that your 2016 is a prosperous year.
It is crucial that you do your keyword homework and optimise your web pages and content using keywords that were most searched by the users. In the future, you will be able to better target and attract customers by using this keyword research to guide what news and blog posts you should add to your site.
Look at your Competition
Do not obsess over your competitors! You don’t want to copy their websites. However, it would be handy to know where you stand in comparison to them. Especially when it comes to engine rankings and new features that may benefit your audience.
Many of your clients will have several different audiences with varying needs, tastes and expectations. It is important that you identify these different attributes and prioritise them accordingly. You can start with the simple questions – what is our audience’s age, lifestyle, profession. Afterwards, you can start asking more targeted questions. For example:
What are the most important features for them?
What answers are they looking for?
What type of content is most suitable for them?
What is your marketing message for this audience type?
How can you help make it easier for clients to transact with you?
Analyses your Current Website Statistics
Take a look at the traffic figures that you have now. This could include having a look at Google Analytics and the metrics and reports produced in there, such as:
Bounce Rate (monthly average)
Time on site (monthly average)
Number of visitors/visits/unique visitors (monthly average)
Number of sales generated (monthly)
What locations your visitors come from?
What type of actions are they taking on your site? (i.e. clicking on your phone number, downloading a file) (this is if you have event tracking set up within your account)
We wrote a blog on How to Diagnose Traffic Drops using Google Analytics, it might be worth your while to read it before you analyse your current metrics.
What are your Assets?
Establish what strong points your existing website has. These might include:
Most viewed/shared content (especially on social media)
High traffic pages
Unique features or user sign-ups
If you are restructuring your website you don’t want to lose the top performing pages on your website. So make sure that you know what your strong points are & start to Pay Attention to Your Search Engine Optimized Pages.
There is no point in redesigning your website if it won’t be found online. As a result there won’t be any new leads, transactions made… Here’s how to stay relevant online:
Spend time analysing your Google metrics.
Research your keywords.
Look at your URLs, heading tags, and description tags to make sure they match your content.
Add freshly optimised content as often as possible.
Make sure your content is relevant to what you do and is useful for the user.
Ensure that the technical aspects of your site are optimised including : fast page speed, responsive design and ensure there are no coding errors or broken links as these can dramatically impact on search rankings (your developer or tools such as sitebeam can determine these for you)
Sitemap is the “table of contents” for your website. It shows what content the website has and where to find it. Before you begin designing a new site, list all of the pages that you want to have and then structure these pages into a clean and logical navigation structure. People expect to see all your services in one area and about information housed under an about tab. You should only be 2 or 3 clicks away to reaching any piece of content on a site.
Note: Was the sitemap from your current site submitted to Google’s Webmaster Tools? If so, log in and see how Google indexed your site and look for any issues or improvements that you can make for your new site. Ensure that your new sitemap is submitted to Google and ensure that Google only sees one domain (remember www.newsite.com and newsite.com will be seen by Google as two sites, which is very bad for SEO until you redirect one to the other and submit the correct domain to your Webmaster Tools account)
What is your brand’s mission? You need to be clear on what your main mission is and your unique value and present this throughout your freshly designed website. A visitor should be able to understand what you do and how you do it and how you can help them. They should be able to decipher all of this in a matter of seconds when first entering your site.
Start with establishing your website’s goals. This might include:
Increase conversion rates
More visitors to your website
Provide a seamless experience for your users on desktop and mobile devices (responsive design)
Maintain or aim to get top positions for your pages in search engine results
Generate leads or enquiries for particular services
Surprisingly many people still go head first into the design without looking at any of the points made above. Let’s be clear on this. Design is only considered to be good if it supports and helps you achieve your website and business goals. It is only when you have goals created, brand message aligned, sitemap in place and finished your research that you should even look at the design. The design is what pulls everything together by professionally representing your brand, guiding users to the right places and coaxing them to interact with you.
Plan for the Future
It would be a good idea to put a plan in place on how will you keep your website up-to-date. This might involve:
Drafting a content calendar.
Regularly checking Google Analytics and WebMaster Tools for any errors and insights.
Add relevant and optimised content to your news area.
Syndicate content from your website to your social accounts and drive traffic back to your site.
Review the content on your static pages regularly to make sure it’s relevant.
Use tools like Hot Jar or Woopra to see how people interact on your site and adjust your content accordingly.
Regularly adding imagery and videos dramatically increase the time spent on site and help users to understand your business offering.
Also, decide who will do it. Whether it is your agency, yourself or a combination of both.
It is clear that there are many factors to consider when creating a brand new website. Take it step by step and soon enough you will see the desired results