It may be because I’ve been doing a bit of research for mortgage companies lately, but I’m going to start with a housing metaphor. Imagine investing in a house. It’s modern and functional, but over the years you start to see the holes. After 3 years, you scrap it and buy a new house. You let it stagnate for another few years, and finally decide it’s time for another new house.
You would be putting a lot of work into acquiring new houses, and losing money on every old house you simply forgot about. Sadly, this has been the mindset people use for website redesigns. Between redesigns, your website can sit and become dated, while not taking full advantage of the website’s potential. Just so I don’t bore you with more of this metaphor, I’ll just say that a website should be treated the same as your home. Invest in a strong build, make gradual improvements, and complete some major renovations when it becomes apparent and necessary.
Here are 3 Basic Steps to Continuous Website Improvement:
1. Gathering Impactful Data
Feedback is one of the most important parts of continuous website improvement. Part of creating a website that’s successful is understanding that your first ideas might not be the best ones. If you’re planning to build your site deeper and create subpages, you should be basing all of the new pages on keyword research, performance of your current pages and feedback from your users.
When your website launches, you should already be recording all of the available data with tools like Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture. This means proper tracking of page views, and proper tracking and valuation or lead scoring of form submissions.
Once you have that data, you can use it to start improving pieces of your website. For example, you may find that if your landing page visitors are first-time visitors, they need some more information about your company. Or if you find out that many of your visitors are viewing on mobile devices, you can make sure that their experience is catered to and simplified by making sure you have a responsive design. Using impactful data you can ensure that you’re working on continuously improving your website.
Multivariate testing is sometimes depicted as some version of social engineering. It’s often oversold as changing one button color and doubling revenues as a result. However, knowing what changes will continuously improve your website may take some more digging and that’s where testing comes into play.
When you split test two website pages and compare the data, a major difference usually comes from overall strategy. The difference in approach can come from visual changes. Your decision can be made based on whether your potential customer is more enticed by technical details or a refusal to disclose that information yet. Split testing can help you learn what approaches work for each of your customer groups, and whether the things that you learn can be applied to your other landing pages.
3. Thinking About the Long-Term
Continuous website improvement also means having a team that is involved and invested in your website for the long-term. Rather than starting from scratch each time your website becomes outdated, your team’s mindset should be to think of the website as a project that’s never truly finished. When working on a website project for your company, you’ll need to think about impactful changes and new features to add to your website that will be influential for your users in the long-term.
The Launch + Growth™ method to continuous website improvement allows you to always keep your website fresh and ahead of your competitors. Following these basic steps you can ensure that your website project will never be out of date.