The Ultimate Field Guide to a Successful Website Redesign

Is your website working well for you?

Unfortunately, for a lot of businesses, the answer is no. And there’s a clear reason. The purpose of a website has changed dramatically in the last five years. It was once a storehouse of information about a company. Now, it’s a supplement to a broader marketing campaign. As such, it must be simple and compelling. It should complement your overall brand strategy and support the clear ideas you’ve identified as a primary message of your brand.

So if it’s not working, let’s talk about the steps you can take to improve it. You might just need a few copy tweaks. You might need an entire redesign. In either case, this blog post is your guide to improving your website. I’ll walk you through the process, help you avoid the common pitfalls along the way, and point you toward detailed blog posts about each step, so you can learn more, take action, and build the kind of top-notch website that grows your business.

Start with an honest assessment of what’s not working

Avoid this common mistake: A lot of people see that their website is underperforming and automatically jump into a redesign. If you change up your website without understanding what’s actually wrong, you’ll end up with the same problem — PLUS the expense of a redesign, which you may not even need.

Your next step: Most websites fail because we’re focused on the wrong elements or because we don’t want to acknowledge where we’ve come up short. Read this post to discover the seven most common website mistakes we make and how to fix them.

[ READ: 7 reasons your website isn’t working ]

Give yourself the right kind of inspiration

Avoid this common mistake: When you’re looking at other websites for inspiration, it’s tempting to just flag the ones that “look pretty.” That’s helpful to your designer, but a pretty website isn’t enough to engage your customer. If you only flag what looks good, you’ll still have an underperforming site. It’ll just look good while it underperforms.

Your next step: If you like a website, ask yourself why. Study the copy and the flow. See if you can understand why you like the visuals. That kind of strategic inspiration is key to a great redesign. We’ll help you get started. We regularly feature brands of all sizes who have fantastic websites. We also explain why they work.

[ READ: 5 Smart Homepages that Will Inspire You to Maximize Your Own ]

[ READ: 3 Fantastic Examples of Crystal-Clear Websites and Why They Work ]

[ READ: 5 Ways to Make Your Customer the Hero in Your Marketing Material ]

Understand why your customers actually buy

Avoid this common mistake: Many businesses make the central idea of their website all about their own business — their history, their accolades, their team — and they never make a connection with their customers. They don’t use the words that speak to their customers’ problems. As a result, people fail to understand why your business will help them, and they move on to your competitor.

Your next step: A great website starts with a clear message of what you offer and how it helps your customer. When you understand what your customers are struggling with, you’ll be able to create messaging that resonates with them. We have 18 questions you can ask to get inside your customers’ heads.

[ READ: 18 questions that will help you understand your customer better ]

Create a clear path to success

Avoid this common mistake: It’s easy to assume that people understand how to do business with you. To you, it’s obvious. But to your customers, it feels risky to take that action to click, inquire, or buy. If we don’t clearly state what they’re going to experience, they may not feel confident enough to take action.

Your next step: Your website needs to give prospective customers a plan that clarifies how somebody can do business with you. What does it look like to experience your business’ product or service, and how can you break that down into easy-to-follow steps?
This post shows you how to do it and gives you a couple of examples as well.

[ READ: How to Motivate Reluctant Customers Faster with One Simple Tactic ]

Gather strong testimonials

Avoid this common mistake: Chances are, your website features a few testimonials from satisfied customers. But often, testimonials just simply praise the business. They say vague sentiments like, “These guys are great,” but that won’t grab your customers’ attention.

Your next step: A stronger testimonial showcases the transformation a customer experienced as a result of the business. There are customers out there right now whose lives have changed because of what you offer. You’ve just got to find their story and get it out there. This post shows you the process, including the questions you can ask to draw out the strongest testimonials.

[ READ: 3 Ways to Get Authentic, Powerful Customer Testimonials ]

Lay out your new home page

Avoid this common mistake: Don’t assume that your first step in a redesign is calling a web designer or developer. If you pay for their expertise before thinking strategically about the messaging and flow of the page, you’ll just end up wasting your money.

Your next step: Everybody, even non-designers, should create what’s called a wireframe for their home page before they hire experts to design and build it. This working sketch allows you to visualize your site and make changes on the fly. Here’s a step-by-step process you can follow to create a great wireframe.

[ READ: How to Strategically Lay Out an Effective Home Page ]

Hire the right designer

Avoid this common mistake: Whether you’re talking about tweaks or a full redesign, you’re going to need the help of a graphic designer. But many design projects leave you frustrated and over budget because of breakdowns in communication.

Your next step: Smart design is smart business. When you understand how to collaborate with a designer, you end up with a final result that’s both effective and gorgeous. Our creative director at StoryBrand shares six strategies to help you and your designer collaborate well.

[ READ: How to Work With a Graphic Designer to Get Results You Love ]

Write compelling copy

Avoid this common mistake: People only buy things when they read words that make them want to buy things. If your copy doesn’t resonate with your customers, it could cost you thousands of dollars.

Your next step: When you know what to say and how to say it, you can dramatically grow your business. You don’t have to be a “writer” to do this, either. You just need to master a few key principles and then focus your efforts in high-leverage places. These posts will demystify the process of writing irresistible copy.

[ READ: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Your Tagline ]

[ READ: How to Write Powerful Headlines People Can’t Ignore ]

[ READ: Take Your Sales Copy from Meh to Amazing ]

Yes, a better website means you’ll see more leads, stronger sales, and a better overall brand perception. But it’ll also help you sleep better at night, once you no longer have to worry about how your website performing. This step-by-step guide will take the mystery out of it — but now it’s up to you to dig in. Leave me a comment and let me know what you’re going to be working on!

Need Help With Your Website?

A beautiful website doesn’t make people buy things. The right words do. Come to a Live Workshop, and we’ll teach you how to write kind of words that turn casual website visitors into loyal customers.


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