Like building a house without a blueprint, redesigning your website without a solid inbound plan can leave you dealing with poor construction, a lack of functionality, and a wasted budget. Answering these critical five questions before you redesign your website is an excellent start, and developing a more comprehensive inbound strategy at the outset of your redesign project can ensure that every penny of your budget is well-spent (and will provide returns on your investment).
The Brochure Website Is Dead
In the early 00s, having a basic brochure website (essentially, the online version of a business card with a little extra info) was enough to propel you ahead of the competition. Now, having a brochure site is the hallmark of a digital laggard, and isn’t doing you any favours. Ever try to prove the ROI of a business card?
The savviest and most successful businesses have their sales funnel built right into their digital property, turning what was once a glorified business card into the hardest-working member of the sales team, and working to attract and convert leads 24/7. Businesses who are almost there tend to only speak to prospects who are already prepared to make a purchase, or at the bottom of the sales funnel, by asking them to buy now, schedule a consultation, or make an appointment without addressing why they should do any of these things in the first place. Consumers tend to do a lot of research before making a purchase and, if they’re conducting the majority of that research elsewhere, they’re not nearly as likely to finish the buying process on your site.
It boils down to this: if a prospect has to leave your website to enter your sales funnel (by calling you, or visiting your physical location, or even opening a new browser window to send your sales team an email), you’re leaving leads—and money—on the table. Your website redesign needs to start with a plan to ensure this doesn’t happen anymore.
How Do I Get Started With An Inbound-Optimized Website Redesign?
A fully-fleshed-out inbound marketing strategy will provide an excellent roadmap for your redesign project. Here are the key pieces you need:
- Your Buyer Personas: fictionalized representations of your target audience(s) which will help guide content creation, user experience design, and more. Need help creating these? Download a free template that will show you exactly how to create Buyer Personas here.
- A solid understanding of your sales funnel, and what kinds of information your Buyer Personas are looking for in each funnel stage.
- Your Personas’ Buyer’s Journeys and how they map to your sales funnel.
- Some keyword research to give you insight into what kind of search terms are attracting visitors to your current site, and whether or not there may be other relevant keywords that your Buyer Personas often search for.
Once you have this information, work with your sales and marketing teams to nail down what each of your Personas needs to know at each stage of the funnel, and what kind of content is needed on your site to educate them and persuade them to become leads and customers. Then, decide which content pieces are the most valuable (i.e. the most likely to convince site visitors to trade a bit of their information for the ability to read or access them) and turn those into conversion points.
Creating A Funnel Content Plan For Your Website Redesign
To use an example that will become dated pretty much immediately after this blog post is published, let’s pretend your company sells fidget spinners (for anyone reading this post in 2018 and beyond, fidget spinners were these things and everyone was inexplicably obsessed with them way back in 2017. We’ve evolved since then).
You’ve identified the following two Buyer Personas:
- Millennial Mike, who tends to be a 14-24 year old male only interested in jumping on the fidget spinner trend (and collecting a lot of different flashy designs); and
- Professional Paul, also male but slightly older at 25-45, holds a white collar job, makes between 35-50k a year, and is looking for something to help him focus and stop fidgeting so much at work.
Millennial Mike needs the least amount of information to make a purchase. He wants to know that you have unique fidget spinner designs, that they light up or make a noise (I, the author of this blog post, have never used one of these things IRL so my apologies to fidget spinner purists if “lighting up” and “making noise” are not actually among their capabilities), and how much they cost and how quickly they’ll arrive in the mail.
Professional Paul wants to know what exactly fidget spinners do, how they can alleviate his stress and anxiety at work, whether they have any proven effect on productivity, and whether they’ll make him look too much like Millennial Mike to his judgmental coworkers. Then, he’d like to know how to get one and what to do with it after it arrives.
Based on this information, you come up with the following funnel content plans:
TOF Content: An overview of the different kinds of fidget spinners you offer & their capabilities.
TOF Conversion Point*: Follow us on Instagram to see the latest fidget spinner trick videos (seriously, is this a thing? I don’t know).
MOF Content: Why your fidget spinners are the best fidget spinners (they’re extra spinny!!!), and how they arrive within two days of placing your online order.
MOF Conversion Point: Use our interactive “Build Your Own Spinner” tool, allowing you to virtually build (and then purchase!) your own customized fidget spinner.
BOF Content: Here’s how to buy the fidget spinners. It’s easy! Buy one (or ten) now!
BOF Conversion Point: Ecommerce checkout system.
*Depending on who you ask, a social media follow may or may not count as a conversion. While you may not necessarily learn your lead’s email address as a result of a social media follow (the traditional first conversion benchmark), you will now have the opportunity to get more messaging in front of this lead as a result of their follow. You can also use paid retargeting to get more sales-focused messaging in front of repeat visitors who use social media.
TOF Content: What are fidget spinners and what do they do? This would include their benefits to professionals like Paul, and specifics around how they improve your focus and performance at work.
TOF Conversion Point: Connect with you on your chosen social media platform to watch a video about a group of office workers who all got fidget spinners from your company as a gift from their employer, and how (after an initial few hours of spinning shenanigans), their productivity improved by 19%.
MOF Content: Which of your fidget spinners are best for office professionals (very minimal noise-making and / or lighting-up) and will help address your buyer’s specific productivity or stress issues.
MOF Conversion Point: Sign up to use the “Which Fidget Spinner Is Right For You?” interactive product selector.
BOF Content: How to get a fidget spinner with one-click ordering, which will arrive within two days along with a code you can enter to get your free fidget-spinner-assisted meditation app for iPhone and Android.
Funnel content is just a piece (albeit a large piece) of the conversion puzzle. When redesigning your site, you also need to know which other tactics will help you build a web property that works to convert leads around the clock.
Top Of Funnel Website Redesign Tactics
At the top of your funnel—or the Awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey—traffic attraction is key. Many websites suffer from a post-redesign organic traffic dip, but yours doesn’t have to (and you can get more specifics about how to avoid this problem here). Your keyword research should tell you which keywords have the best potential to attract searchers looking for what you offer.
You can also conduct competitive analysis using a tool like SEMRush to see which keywords are attracting traffic for your closest competitors.
Before deciding what net new content to create, conduct a detailed audit of your existing site content. It’s worth noting for clarity here that the “funnel content” we discussed above refers to conversion assets that require visitors to give a piece of their information in order to be received, and “site content” means the stuff that lives permanently on your website and is available for anyone to read without giving away any of their own information. While you want to reserve your most valuable information for funnel content, you still need good quality site content to attract potential leads and customers and educate them enough to see the value of your funnel content.
Once you know what site content already exists, you should map out the information architecture (IA) of your new website based on your keyword research. Your site’s IA is essentially the skeleton of the website (and also commonly referred to as a “sitemap”). Your site’s navigation bar will reflect the IA. This is not the place to flex your creative muscles—they should be as clear and concise as possible. To find this post, you may have clicked on “Blog” in our navigation, which is a commonly used and easy-to-understand term. We could have used something like “Nuggets of Kula Wisdom”, but no one searches for that term, no one would know what it means, and even if half of the Kula team regularly eats chicken nuggets for lunch, no one outside the agency knows that or thinks it’s a funny inside joke (hint: inside jokes are never funny on a website). Pages and sections should be clear, distinct, comprehensive, and organized logically using some of your top priority keywords. If you’re struggling to organize your content properly and maintain SEO best practices, no sweat—you can download our free In-Depth Guide to Implementing an SEO Audit right here.
To follow the fidget spinner example for some reason, mainly because I don’t want to have to make up another one this far into the post, your content audit could reveal that you already have extensive product information written and a pretty good explanation of how to design and order custom products. If you’ve done your homework in Analytics or with a tool like HubSpot’s Page Performance, you may have discovered that a lot of people visit your Products page and don’t see how to order custom products, so they end up contacting you to find out whether or not you offer that service. Plus, you have your keyword research above, which tells you that people aren’t searching for the word “products”, they’re searching for the phrase “fidget spinners”. Armed with that knowledge, you develop the following IA:
|Parent Page||Child Page|
|Why Fidget Spinners?|
|Fidget Spinners For Kids & Teens|
|Fidget Spinners For Adults|
|Plastic Fidget Spinners|
|Metal Fidget Spinners|
|Wood & Other Fidget Spinners|
|Build Your Custom Fidget Spinner|
Next, map your existing site content and your planned funnel content to your IA, identify the knowledge gaps you’ll need to fill for your Personas, and write site content to address those gaps. If you need help creating inbound-optimized site content for your redesign project, you can grab our free guide to writing content that converts right here.
The placement of your TOF, MOF, and BOF conversion points should follow a logical path. Awareness-stage pages (in the above example, the home page or any of the parent pages) are where your Top of Funnel offer(s) should live, and as a visitor gets deeper into your site (the child pages), the conversion opportunities should move down the funnel with them. For repeat visitors, a tool like HubSpot’s Smart CTAs can help you display more BOF conversion opportunities sooner, since you know that visitor is already in the later stages of their Buyer’s Journey and is likely much closer to making a purchase.
If you’re using HubSpot, you should check out their new Clusters tool to learn more about how to organize your content to maximize its SEO benefit. Apart from gaining SERP rank, this tool can help you learn which content topics tend to attract the most purchase-ready traffic, so you can concentrate on producing content that will yield the best ROI.
It’s also a good idea to write some blog posts ahead of time around your highest-value keywords, so that they’re ready to publish when the site goes live. Some blog posts your company could publish to attract Professional Paul include:
- How Do Fidget Spinners Work To Increase Productivity?
- Why Are Fidget Spinners Popular Among Professionals? 3 Surprising Reasons
- Fidget Spinners For Adults: Which Ones Are Desk-Worthy?
Middle Of Funnel Website Redesign Tactics
In the middle of your funnel, your goal should be to help your newly converted leads navigate the Consideration stage of the Buyer’s Journey with clear, relevant, and helpful content presented in an easy-to-understand format. Having to jump to multiple sections of your site to answer a single question will deter leads from continuing their Buyer’s Journey on your site. For example, Millennial Mike should be able to answer the question “Do you make custom spinners?” without having to look at several pages.
Keep in mind that visitors may land on your site for the first time having already progressed to the Consideration stage of their own Buyer’s Journey. Someone searching for “custom light up fidget spinners” has already decided that they want their own design, and your page answering Millennial Mike’s question above should be optimized to be found in search with the keyword “Custom Spinners” in the page title, the page’s H1 tag, woven naturally into the page content, and in anchor text on other site pages linking to your custom spinners page.
Other visitors may need a little help reaching your Consideration stage pages. If you’re finding that a lot of traffic arrives to your Awareness level pages but doesn’t ever return, and you’re sure that the content on those pages is the right content, implementing some automated nurturing campaigns may be the key to keeping leads moving down your funnel. Using a tool like HubSpot makes email marketing automation easy—and email automation can produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales.
Finally, when redesigning your Consideration stage website pages, make sure it’s easy for your visitors to compare your offering to your competition’s, or even experience your offering first hand (via a sample, demo, etc). If you’re selling fidget spinners, this can be as easily as featuring videos showing your spinners in action. If you’re selling something more complex, like a piece of software, you could create a chart showing its features vs. your closest competitor and let your leads sign up to take a free trial. How you showcase your product(s) to make them most appealing at the Consideration stage is up to you, but the worst move you can make at the Consideration stage is not showcasing them at all—various studies have shown that giving away a free sample or trial increases sales by anywhere from 25 to 2,000 percent.
Bottom Of Funnel Website Redesign Tactics
At the bottom of your funnel, or the Decision stage of the Buyer’s Journey, the lead is ready to buy—the question is simply where they will spend their money. At this stage, reducing friction and easing anxiety are the two most important factors to consider:
- Reducing friction means making it as easy as possible for the lead to purchase your product. This could mean simplifying your payment process, reducing the number of clicks it takes to check out, or paring down the number of form fields a lead has to fill out. If you’re an ecommerce site with enough traffic, the bottom of your funnel is the best place to conduct CRO testing to determine which changes best reduce friction. If you’re a B2B HubSpot user, you can use tools like Messages and Meetings to help your leads easily and conveniently engage with your sales team.
- Easing anxiety means giving your potential customers all the information they need to confidently make a purchase. This could include things like ensuring your entire website is secure (using an SSL certificate), putting recognizable payment partner logos (such as Stripe or PayPal) on your purchasing page, prominently displaying your return or satisfaction guarantee policies, and answering frequently asked questions on your purchase page.
Since the bottom of your funnel is the narrowest part, a limited portion of your site should be dedicated to it—you should only have as many pages as you absolutely need to complete the purchase process (one is ideal), and everything on that page should be laser-focused on closing the sale.
Common Inbound Website Redesign Mistakes: An Anti-Checklist
Does your website redesign plan overlook any of the following? If you make it through this list without checking off anything that applies to your current or future site, you’re in good shape.
Over the past 14 years, Kula Partners has designed and redesigned (and redesigned previous redesigns of) dozens of websites. We’ve helped clients fix a number of website redesign mistakes, including:
- Too much bottom-of-funnel / Decision stage focus as soon as you arrive on the site—most leads aren’t ready to buy right away.
- Not enough thought given to site structure and how it contributes to both SEO and the user experience.
- Incomplete sales funnels present on site, meaning leads have to go somewhere else to initiate the sales process.
- Site copy not aligned with target Buyer Personas and their Buyer’s Journeys.
- No consideration given to bringing leads back after their first engagement with the website using email marketing automation, retargeting, Smart CTAs, or other nurturing tactics.
- Poor, friction-filled, and anxiety-causing user experiences—especially on ecommerce payment pages.
- No focus on being found via organic search at the top of the funnel by conducting (and properly using) keyword
- Previous SEO gains not preserved with 301 redirects.
- Homepage elements like sliders and animation that look flashy, but ultimately create a poor user experience and hurt conversion.
Ready For Your Inbound-Optimized Website Redesign? Let’s Get Started
In the wise and immortal words of Biggie, if you don’t know, now you know—really nailing an inbound-optimized website redesign required careful planning, an inside-and-out understanding of your inbound strategy and target buyers, advanced levels of SEO knowledge, and a good grasp on how your site can help, and not hinder, your conversion process.
Sure, you can keep your brochure website and hope for the best, but it’s been at least a decade since a digital business card was considered cutting-edge. Most consumers are looking online to (at least) initiate the sales process, and if all you have is a bottom-of-funnel-focused digital presence, they will most likely enter someone else’s sales funnel before yours—meaning they’ll probably purchase there, too.
Having a well-defined plan from the outset will not only make your website redesign go more smoothly (and leave you with a much better end product), it can also help your team break the work into smaller, more manageable chunks. This in turn can allow you to get key strategic aspects of your website redesign project live and working to make you money more quickly.
Ready to get started? Download our FREE Inbound Website Redesign Guide now.