Web Redesign 101 Part 2
In the Web Redesign 101 article, you learned the first three items to have on your checklist before committing time, effort and money into redesigning your website. Essentially, these first steps are about understanding how your current website is performing (metrics), setting S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals and to avoid reinventing what is already working well for you. The other important thing to remember here is that all three of these first steps are all interrelated or in other words, affect each other.
This time around, let’s take a look at the next several steps you will need to do in transforming your website into an unstoppable public relations machine that fills your sales funnel!
#4 – Check out your competition
No need to stress and obsess over them, just get an idea of how you compare to the folks down the street.
- Use a tool like Marketing Grader to get a report of how well (or not so well) that your website and marketing is performing. The scoring is simple, based upon how many points out of 100. The closer to 100 a website is, the better the job it is doing at creating sales.
- Run your competition through the Marketing Grader; this makes you aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
- Take a look at their website. Make notes of what you like and don’t like about their website. This will give you ideas as to what you can improve upon with your website and what you can do better than your competition.
- Pu together an action or to-do list that specifically states those items that you need to improve and can do better than the folks down the street.
It’s not rocket-science or anything that requires a lot of technical savvy. Know where you are and how you compare to your competitors and the rest will begin to fall into place.
#5 – Create your unique selling point
Before you spend a single penny on redesigning or creating your website, you need to be crystal clear what your Unique Selling Point (USP) or Unique Value Point (UVP) is. This message must be consistent across every page of your website as well as your social media, advertising and so on. Quite simply, if you attract a lot of new traffic to your website and/or you are a new business, people are likely not very familiar with your company and what it is that you do. That being the case, you will need to immediately answer if you are the right one for them to buy from.
When creating your USP/UVP, make sure you come across as a real person, like you are talking to a friend or family member. DO NOT get overly wordy, avoid using technical jargon and definitely eliminate the use of ‘big words’ even if there is only a modicum (see?) of them.
Your USP/UVP should read like everyday language; like you are talking with another person.
This is a very bad example:
XYZ Company provides public safety services to the Class III township of Nowheresville and the surrounding constituencies, answering more than 1,000 runs per annum with a population base of 437,212 and a daily surge of more than 1,200,00 Monday through Friday except for major holidays and weekends. XYZ is also a provider of EMS and EMA services with First Responders, EMT-Bs, EMT-Is and EMT-As, Paramedics, EMs, IMATs, CERTs and one short guy with small hands that is a Nurse-Practitioner on every shift, providing continuity of operations, hazard mitigation and pre-planning as well as IC/UC and JFO-EOC integration.
Say what?! Unless you have been in the fire service or emergency management fields for years, you probably have no idea what all of that means. Now let’s try that using common, everyday sort of language:
XYZ Fire Department serves the town of Nowheresville and the surrounding areas, answering more than 1,000 requests for services each year and serves more than 430,000 residents. XYZ Fire Department also offers Emergency Medical and Emergency Management services with a highly-trained staff, capable of integrating seamlessly with local, county and state level multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional responses.
Oh, now your site visitors will get it; this is a fire department that also has ambulances and when the water rises in the river, they play well enough with others to save my life and help me get back on my feet after the flood waters retreat!
This step can dramatically improve (or hinder) how well your website performs such as page views, bounce rates and conversion rates. It defines how your website communicates with the buying public and the world. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!!
#6 – Design your website for your ideal customer, not you
Your website is not about you. While it may certainly contain relevant information about you and/or your company, the main idea is that the site is geared towards and designed to appeal to your customers. You need to speak to them in their language and always keeping that in mind as you develop content. In order to do so, you need to identify not just “what’s in it for me?” for your visitors, but you need to also define how your ideal client communicates. This is often referred to as the ‘Buyer Persona’ of your ideal customer.
Defining ‘Buyer Personas’ is simply dividing up your marketplace into segments or groups of people. This is a fictional representation based on concrete facts such as demographics in education, income, generation/age, ethnicity, motivations and so on.
Using the above example of a fire department, some ‘Buyer Personas’ may be: volunteers looking for an organization, firefighters or medical personnel looking for employment, a senior looking for information about smoke detectors and people looking for a local rental hall for a party or wedding reception.
In summary, know your competition and how your website stacks up to theirs, create a USP/UVP that speaks to your everyday ideal customers and develop content that ‘speaks’ to those ideal customers in their language.
Yup, you guessed it, there will be a Web Redesign 101 Part 3 to these articles, giving you even more stuff to add to your checklist and to seriously consider before redesigning your website.