Planning for a new website in 2017

Here are four words that drive CEOs and business owners crazy….

Let’s redesign our website!

It is time consuming and expensive. And what’s worse, everyone has an opinion. But the best way we have determined in recent years to start a website redesign project is to start with data not opinion. Get to the evidence fast before you spend a dime on anything. It is time for everyone in the industry to adopt Evidence-based Marketing, a marketing strategy driven by data and not opinion.

Evidence-based Marketing begins right at the beginning. In order to create a successful website you need to start the process by understanding what your customer wants and why your customer would buy from you. There is gold in Google Analytics. You just need to know what you’re looking for and how to interpret the results. If you have accepted the idea that your website and web presence is the new top of the sales funnel, then there is data in Google Analytics that will improve your business.

Here are eight data points you should be looking at weekly over a 30 to 90 period before you redesign anything on your website or rewrite a single piece of copy.

Be rock solid on who is visiting

1. Bounce rate.

Everyone has a love/hate relationship with bounce rate. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it is a blatant proof point that your content needs overhauling. Every week you should be checking to see if people coming to your site are getting to the right content based on their search. A high bounce rate means your keywords are not lining up with your content. Figure this out by conducting a keyword evaluation. Dumping the same keyword strategy onto a new website doesn’t solve anything.

2. Organic traffic.

Check to see how many visitors are finding you and going to your website through search. High organic traffic with a high bounce rate could signal problems. It’s important to sort this out before you decide on a new navigation for your website.

3. Percentage of new visitors versus returning visitors.

This data point is simple and often overlooked. Generally it gets ignored because people start a website without clearly establishing the primary goal of their website. If your website is built to support lead nurturing, then percentage of returning visitors is way more important than new visits. Tracking this data saves lots of time and money when you are deciding on campaigns and tactics to drive traffic to the website.

Understand what people are reading

4. Page popularity.

For most B2B websites, ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ are the pages that get viewed the most. This data point is excellent for understanding what pages should stay and what should go on a new website. Many companies cling to pages and pages of product information, but a simple data pull over six to 12 months often proves that many pages are never visited. You need to understand what people read before they hit ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ and if you have pages that are not performing, dump them.

5. Reverse the funnel.

After people land on your website, look at entrance and exit points. There is an important story being told about how they are using the information on a website and what they need to “get to know you” as a business.

Understand if your website is performing

6. Goals/Conversions/Events.

To determine how well the site is converting or doing what you intend it to do, make sure you have a series of goal completions set up and tracked in Google that follow the buyer process of your customer. When they land, what pages do they go to and what do they read before downloading something or completing a form, etc.

7. Source/Medium/Campaign.

Determine which external sources are driving the best traffic based on goal completions. Did you get more new subscribers to your email list from LinkedIn or was organic search based on documented keywords driving business results?

8. Drill down into specific campaigns.

Be sure to look into the details, as well as the overall picture of specific campaigns to see how they are performing across all sources/ mediums.

Redesigning a website is a lot easier said than done. Before you even start thinking about execution or creative you need to be very clear in your plan and strategy. Evidence-based Marketing ignores opinion and drives a successful strategy based on data that can increase leads and make your website your greatest sales tool of 2017.

These 8 data points only cover a small section of your planning phase but they will be your first crucial step in an effective redesign. Good luck!


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