Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Website redesign, start with your audience

What are they looking for?

If you’ve read our blog, you know we advocate putting your website at the heart of your marketing. This is true for nearly any organization. Your website is your front door, the first glimpse, the introduction that sets the stage for who you are and what you offer.

A website redesign shouldn’t be about design. It must be about your audiences.

As we talk with new clients looking for a website redesign we often hear “I have a website, but it’s not easy to use.” Or “we need to update our website to be mobile-friendly.” Or “My website looks out of date, I want a fresh look.”

While those are all good reasons to trigger a redesign, what’s the biggest goal?

Usually … more traffic, more leads. As in “how do I get more traffic to my website?”

website-redesign-audiencesThe simple (but not so simple) answer — give people what they’re looking for

Yes, that’s really it. Does your website give people what they’re looking for?

Or is it a tribute to the company, its history and your founders. A summary of all the products and services you offer. An online brochure that’s all about “we we we.” That’s not what people are looking for. They won’t find you if that’s all you have on your website.

Once they find you, that might be useful … but you have to get them there first. WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR? Read this excellent blog post from Marcus Sheridan detailing 7 types of information people are actually searching for.

A website redesign should include a refreshed look, definitely be built for mobile if you’re not (here’s the link to Google’s test), and incorporate fresh, targeted content. Your content must deliver the goods to the audiences you’re trying to reach. When you do that well, you’ll appear in those online queries. You’ll be the answer they’re searching for.

Step by step … to your website redesign

Begin your website redesign by talking to your team about these questions. Establish the foundation before beginning design or writing. And … write first. Don’t design and then write to fill in the boxes.

First … who is your best target audience? Develop personas to define what problem you solve for them, what they expect, who they are, the outcomes they want and the trigger for their search for what you offer. Without knowing who your target audience is, how will you give them what they’re looking for?

Next … what are the frequently asked questions? Talk to sales people and customer service people. What questions do they hear over and over? Where are potential customers confused or mis-informed? Where’s the “wow!” about what you offer?

That’s when someone comments … “wow, I had no idea!” or “wow, you can do that for me?” or “wow, this (thing) is just what I’m looking for.” When they’re surprised and delighted about something you do, how you work or what you offer, they’ll respond.

Use those FAQs as a foundation for keyword research. Yes, keywords are still powerful … and often they’re not just a word, they’re a phrase. Google says some of the most common questions are “how do I … ” or “what is … ” Answer those questions using those phrases and keywords (not your inside industry lingo) to be found online. Google offers insight in their SEO starter guide … just Google to find it!

Remember each page is an optimization opportunity. Rather than stuffing a bunch of content and keywords on one page, optimize each page on your site around one idea, one keyword or phrase. Focus the content on that one central idea. This is why a blog is useful. Each new post is one topic, built around one keyword.

Keep each page open, scannable and supported with pictures. Our brains see and respond to visuals more quickly than text. Text is great for SEO, but the pictures should tell the story at a glance. And use a nice, readable font size. The new standard is no less than 16 pixels for body text. Don’t make visitors squint. Short paragraphs, call-outs and plenty of subheads help people scan to find what they want to read.

Write to make it easy to read. Please, write clearly. See our post on the reading level test. It’s a big help. Simplify and streamline. Pay attention to grammar and spelling. How your content is written reflects on your organization. Write well and you’ll engage. Write poorly and people will leave.

Don’t forget the calls to action. Don’t dead-end your visitors. Once you’ve gotten them to your website, make sure you give them more to look for. A call to action (not just “call us”) on each page can link to more information on another page, a download you offer, a video or other content that will help draw a visitor in to learn more before they contact you.

There are plenty of ways to approach a website redesign. But a successful redesign will present content people are looking for in a layout and structure that’s easy to see and navigate.

Simple answer. Not always easy. We can help! Contact us for a no obligation consultation.

You might find this checklist of 6 website redesign essentials helpful. Yours to download.

GET MY 6 WEBSITE ESSENTIALS CHECKLIST

Looking for a few examples? See our page of websites we’ve designed on our website.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer’s four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for your insightful words and your guidence.

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