Diary of a Redesign: Understand the Business Goals for Your Website Before You Start a Redesign Project
The conversation about redesigning a company website usually begins when someone points out traffic is down, conversions are weak, or just that the design looks outdated. You aren’t attracting customers, prospects, students, donors, or whichever constituencies you need to be successful, and your team agrees it’s time for a change.
If you’ve successfully made the case for a website redesign, now there are a million things you could to to get it up to date. So where do you start? How do you act based on what is most important to your business or institution? It all starts with goals.
Setting the right goals for your website
There are a variety of business goals for most websites that you use. Typical goals for a website might include focusing on:
Employee retention & satisfaction
Content or brochure sites
Customer portals (for example, banking or financial services)
Although you can have multiple business goals for your website, prioritizing a limited number will help focus the redesign process on achieving your desired outcomes.
To see which goals should be your top priority, answer these three questions:
What business are you in?
What are the main goals for your company, school, institution, etc?
What does your website need to do to support your business?
Using Percussion as an example, here’s how we would answer the questions:
We offer software products that empower marketing professionals to be great content marketers
Our main goals are to attract new customers, keep existing customers happy and engaged, and attract and retain talented team members
Guide visitors through the buyer’s cycle with engaging content, helpful resources, and inviting calls to action
Based on the above, answers, we could see that attracting new customers is the first business goal, and to meet it, our website should clearly communicate the value of our offering and help visitors make the decision to connect with us. If we can’t answer the first question, it’s hard to know what to do to achieve in the second, or think about strategies for doing so with our website.
Stop chasing so many rabbits
There’s an old proverb about chasing two rabbits at a time, and catching neither. A similar rule applies to your goals. In general, leading with the goals that drive new and recurring revenue should be your first concern. Everything else is secondary, and should ultimately support the main goals.
It’s also important to remember that even an outstanding website redesign is not a magic bullet, nor the best strategy for meeting all your goals. A bold design, clear calls to action, and strong communication of product benefits, company culture, and engaging, valuable content seem like no-brainers to add to the redesign project list. Attracting new customers and talent can benefit from a similar approach on the web, but that approach is not sufficient every audience.
Again, using Percussion as an example, we understood that after attracting new business, retention was critical for us. Our customers are like an extension of our team. They inspire us to continuously improve and enhance our products, explore new ideas, and deliver solutions that make them look like rock stars.
We decided that existing customers are better served with their own web site, a separate website that focuses on them and their needs. So, while we include some customer content on our website, we drive customers to our customer community atcommunity.percussion.com to find more detailed information about the product and forums for where customers can interact with one another as well as our product and customer success teams.
Treat your website like a member of your team
Setting goals is a critical part of building any successful organization. You do this at the strategic and mission level, at the department or team level, and at the individual level. As a tool responsible for business and revenue growth, your website deserves the same level of focus and attention.
I personally enjoy the discovery process of setting goals and the clarity of purpose a team gets from having good alignment on their goals. It makes all of our efforts more effective. Ultimately, being able to connect a redesign or any undertaking to your business goals is the best way to justify the investment and get your leadership team on board.
This post is the part of our weekly Diary of a Redesign series, which covers every stage of the website redesign process, from planning, to design, to implementation, to launch. New posts published every Wednesday.
Mark Somol first joined Percussion as Chief Financial Officer, where he was responsible for leading finance and corporate development as well as helping to drive business strategy. His exemplary leadership earned him the position of President and COO in 2014. Mark is deeply passionate about building technology companies stemming from his 20 year career in both venture-funded high-growth companies and as a venture capitalist.