The process of redesigning a website is a inspiring time for brands. You gain the opportunity to provide a new experience for your users and a renewed anticipation for fresh leads. You also get to refresh how you represent your brand through content and design. It’s easy to want to dive right into the details of a redesign. We get it. As humans we love stories and the visuals that bring them to life. As marketers we want to see what the future of our brand looks like. But, before you can get to the execution, you must first set goals for your redesign.
Goal setting is the first step of a website redesign because it informs your strategy and influences each decision you make. Goals ensure your new site works toward reaching your most important marketing, sales, and business objectives. The catch, is that your goals can’t be as simple as “I want a website that appeals to my customers.” Your goals need to be highly specific and they need to be rooted in data.
Here’s how to set SMART goals for your website redesign:
1. Involve your stakeholders
Marketers often spearhead a website redesign, but you aren’t the only team that should be involved in the goal-setting process. You must keep the wants and needs of sales, leadership, and other business departments that benefit from your brand’s website, in mind. Involving stakeholders in the goal-setting conversation from the very beginning will save you from having to backtrack later. By including your stakeholders’ needs in the scope of your goals, you’re ensuring everyone, even beyond the marketing team, benefits from the updated website.
If you’re a mid-sized business, it’s not going to be possible to involve everyone in the goal-setting conversation, so pick and choose your stakeholders wisely. Choose representatives from each department or facet of your business and select from a variety of experience levels. Don’t count the president or newest employee out as everyone will offer a different perspective and you may not be able to predict the value each person could add.
Your clients and customers are also valuable stakeholders that shouldn't be overlooked. Their perceptions, desires, and frustrations with your website are going to most closely align with the opinions of your target visitors and leads. Common desires and pain points between your clients or customers should be heavily considered when building your redesign strategy. We recommend framing at least one of your goals around improving your website experience for existing buyers.
Here are some of the stakeholders you should consider including in the conversation:
- Sales team representative
- Tech lead
- Marketing manager
- Marketing assistant
- Office manager
- Valued client
2. Gather Information
Stakeholders are only beneficial to the goal-setting process if you gather enough quality information to influence your goals. To unearth valuable insights, you must ask the right questions in the appropriate setting. You’ll want to build trust with your stakeholders so they feel comfortable being open and honest with you. It’s also wise to review all of your research after it’s gathered to identify common wants, needs, and goals for different areas of your brand. Remember to keep an open mind as you’re collecting information. The intent of checking in with your stakeholders is to uncover unknown website redesign objectives. You can gather information in whichever manner you feel most fitting, but there are two types of stakeholder research that are commonly beneficial.
Surveys, by phone call or digital questionnaire, are perfect for communicating with clients, customers, or members of your company who you don't need to meet with in person. Since surveys allow you to prepare questions ahead of time, you can carefully dictate the nature of the conversation and address your most pressing curiosities. Specific questions about how your current website performs and represents your brand, and how the redesigned website could improve, are often good places to start.
You may find these questions helpful:
- How do you perceive the brand?
- Does the website accurately reflect your perception of the brand?
- What do and don’t you like about the current website?
- What would you like to see on the new website (functionality, information, visuals etc.)?
For a more conversational, open-ended means to gather information, try hosting a goal-setting meeting with some of your brand stakeholders. Consider members of your marketing team, someone from high in the ranks, an assistant, and representatives from different departments. Prompt the team with questions and take notes as they openly discuss your current and future site. These meetings are ideal for discovering where you’ve been and where you need to go with your website, and how it affects each area of your business. We also recommend hosting a goal-setting meeting between just your marketing team to cover budget and marketing-focused wants and needs, since your marketing team will likely be directing the redesign strategy.
Here are some key questions to address during these meetings:
- How did the current website excel?
- How did it fail?
- How did the new site meet your needs? Fail to meet your needs?
- What are your wants and needs for the new website?
- What do you hope to accomplish with the redesigned website?
- When would you like to accomplish our website goals?
- What is our budget?
- What are your expectations?
3. Collect Relevant Data
After meeting with your stakeholders, dive into any data or website analytics you have available on your current site. Doing so helps you know where your site is succeeding and where it may be falling short. Since your redesign goals will be data driven, this step is crucial to helping you set realistic goals for your new site. You need to know where you’ve been to make an accurate hypothesis to where you can go. Ignoring this step could lead to unrealistic expectations and failed goals before the site even begins.
Start by gathering this data:
- Bounce rate
- Top-performing pages
- Top-performing keywords
- Number of visitors and unique visitors
- Time average visitor spend on the site
4. Set Your Goals
Now that you’ve gathered a variety of insights from your stakeholders and data, you should have enough wisdom to set some actionable, attainable goals. There’s two parts to designing your goals.
1. First, you’ll want to create some general goals. These statements are thought starters for the more specific goals you’ll document and adhere to. These overall goals are often the prime motivation behind undergoing a website redesign, such as:
- I want more website leads.
- I want better search rank.
2. With your overall goals in mind, it’s time to write out your SMART goals. SMART goals are realistic, attainable, and highly specific versions of your overall goals. They take into account all the research you gathered and make good use of the data you collected. Document your SMART goals so you can refer back to them throughout(and after) your website redesign to ensure you and your brand are always working toward the same end objective.
Smart goals are:
Not only do your goals need to be SMART, they should be centered around one of three elements: visits, contacts, or customers. A visit-based goal centers on getting new visitors to your website. A contacts-based goal focuses on getting more of those visitors to turn into leads. A customer-based goal looks toward transforming those leads into customers. Be sure to document your goals and save them in a spreadsheet or within your CMS. Here are a few examples for what your SMART goals could look like:
Visits: We want our number of monthly website visits to increase by X percent each month for the first year following the website redesign.
Contacts: We want to double the contacts in our database from X to X by the end of Q2.
Customers: We want to increase our lead to customer conversion rate by X percent, by the end of Q4.
5. Share Your Goals
Now that you have your goals set in stone, it’s time to share them with your entire organization. Making sure your team is aware of the goals before the redesign helps ensure everyone works together to achieve them with shared expectations. Since many of your stakeholders were involved in the goal-setting process from the get-go, they should understand your motives behind the goals, and already feel invested in their success. But, you’ll want to confirm their support of the goals and respond to any red flags they may raise. Goal-setting is a fluid process, so feel free to tweak them if you need to. But, when you make a change, ensure that it’s for the better of the organization and not a swift reaction to an individual opinion.
6. Include Your Agency
Goal setting is a detailed process, but it’s one you don’t have to go through alone. If you’re partnering with an agency for your website redesign, you should involve them from day one. That means they should have a hand in goal setting, so they can help shape the objectives for your site and adhere to them throughout the redesign. An agency can perform the stakeholder research, look at your existing site metrics, and help you define your goals. When the redesign agency is involved in the goal-setting process, they’ll have a much deeper understanding at why the redesign is taking place and what you need to accomplish.
Okay, now can we get to the fun design part? Not so fast. Now that you have goals, it’s time to put together a strategy for your redesign. The good news is, your goals will direct this strategy. And, if you already have your agency involved in the goal-setting process, they can help you transition smoothly into putting together a strategy. Once the strategy is complete, you’ll be on your way to a goal-oriented, fresh website.
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