How to Improve Your Website Based On What's Really Going On

by Lucas Hamon on September 14, 2016
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Are you focusing on more than just the tip of the iceberg?

If you're wondering how to improve your website so it meets the potential to be your company's single most valuable marketing asset, let's do this. 

It should be attracting visitors, and teeing up your best leads - Sunday through Saturday. 24 hours a day. All holidays. 365.25 days per year.

So, let's see what's really under the surface with yours, so you can fix it.


MORE LIKE THIS: How Growth Driven Design Will Make Your Website Better at Making You Money


 

It's definitely time

My role is to help business owners and marketing leaders identify growth opportunities using certain digital marketing strategies. So, I talk to a lot of you about your marketing challenges, and one of the most common threads is that you hate your websites.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard it. "It doesn't have the look and feel I was hoping for," "it doesn't have all of the features I wanted," "it cost more and took longer than expected," and "it doesn't seem to be doing anything for me," are among the most popular sentiments.

The reality is that if we were able to change the last statement, "it doesn't seem to be doing anything for me," we'd probably erase a lot of the issues you have with it, wouldn't we?

And that's why I'm here.

1. Manage your expectations

Before we dive into this, let's make one thing really clear: Your website won't be perfect when it launches. It just won't. That doesn't mean it can't get darn close to it at some point, but straight out of the gate, we don't know enough about its behavior to get it 100% perfectly right the first time.

It's just not possible, so don't look for that kind of outcome.


MORE LIKE THIS: How to Drive Less Website Traffic and Get More Clients


 

2. Determine what you actually need from it

It's important to understand how your website fits in the rest of your sales and marketing cycles. How do your sales people use it? DO they use it? Does it generate traffic on its own, and does it generate viable leads? Do you have a blogging strategy? Are you active on social media?

Many don't actually know what they want from their website when we first start talking, so we spend a lot of time discussing about how it's supposed to fit into their overall strategy.

If your company is b2b, we typically want a steady, increasing flow of traffic that we can qualify and convert into leads then transition to sales.

The point is that the website can and SHOULD be a functional part of your sales process regardless of the industry. So, if it's NOT, an overhaul by itself is likely not going to solve all of your problems.

Let me tell you what I mean... In our earlier days as a social media marketing agency, we played just one part in the inbound marketing cycle (More like this: With Bated Breath I Go All In with Inbound). We had a client that just overhauled their website, and wanted us to help drive traffic to it.

The problem was that when people arrived, there was nothing to do other than sign up for the blog or become a customer, so, although the traffic, follow, and like reports we generated looked nice, it wasn't creating any tangible effect for the client.

But what about everybody still floating in the between blog sign-up ready-to-buy modes?

What about the people who aren't quite ready to purchase, because they're still only in the awareness or consideration stages of their buyer's journeys? (more on buyer's journeys HERE)

To do that, you need more than a great website - you need something of value you can exchange for contact information.... which is the basic premise to "inbound marketing."


Get the introductory playbook HERE:

Get the guide to inbound marketing for your business


3. Talk to visitors

Here's the key: We shouldn't actually change everything on your wish-list right away. In fact, most of the things you want on your site can wait, and many of those things won't do what you think they'll do.

When we first launch a website, we focus on the top 20% of our wish-list that will generate 80% of the results.

But that doesn't mean you have to let a website developer decide your fate. No, in fact, NEVER do that! Let's launch with improvements that we know are good ideas based on what our users tell us instead of hunches from you or your developers.

We also call it qualitative research:

  • Interview existing customers
  • Survey contacts
  • Poll visitors (hotjar has a great feature for this)

4. People watch

There's nothing more valuable than honest feedback. Sure, those you interview are going to have a bunch of great ideas that should be considered in your planning. However, nothing replaces actually seeing people interact with the site.

For this, I recommend heat maps, scroll maps, mouse movements, and desktop recordings. Hotjar can actually do all of those, in addition to the polling and surveys. (Learn more about our 11 favorite digital marketing tools HERE)

The scroll map in action.

Check out the screen shot below. It's color-coded based on how far people scroll down on the page before exiting. The expectation is to see that number decrease as you scroll down, because people should be clicking after they read something of value.

Learn about what people are doing on your website

But if you notice here, there's a SIGNIFICANT drop-off not the gradual effect, and it was happening right before the calls-to-action, which is no bueno. This led us to believe that the copy needed to be re-worked.

So, we reworked it, and the results were positive. What's also important to note is that we used data gathered in our surveys to determine our approach for fixing this issue.

Sometimes your website doesn't need an overhaul, but rather, an adjustment

 

5. Be ready to update again and again and again...

Here's the deal. The traditional website design and development model is broken, and the proof is in your sentiment about it. It's a lot of planning for a one-time execution that goes out of scope and over budget every single time.

So, extra care is needed in the planning process, right? Measure twice, cut once?

Well, yes and no. Remember... No website launch will give you everything you want, and we shouldn't be expecting perfection anyway. We accept that, and make our launch about everything it MUST have, not everything we would like it to have.

It's the continuous improvement phase where we work towards perfection. Now we can install our mechanisms like Hotjar, and identify problems, develop solutions, and test our theories to ensure we're on the right path.


CONCLUSION:

Have you ever heard of "Growth Driven Design?" It's a revolutionary way of developing websites that focuses on launching quickly, and improving over time. This article should serve as a good introduction to it, but if you'd like to learn more, check out this infographic.

Click HERE to calculate the price of your next website build:

Calculate the price of your next website build with this handy calculator

Topics: Websites that Earn, Growth Driven Design

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