Lean Labs

Lean Labs
Website Health Exam

Chapter 1: Diagnosing the Need for Redesign

Here are the most common reasons companies redesign their website:

  • To update the look and feel of their website.
  • To improve conversion rates.
  • To drive more social engagement.
  • To generate more leads.
  • To sell more product.
  • To rank better in search engines.

The truth is most redesign projects will only update the look and feel of a site. A typical redesign will do little to significantly increase leads, sales, search engine rankings, or conversion rates.

Of course, you can try to incorporate incremental improvements in a new design, which may help. However, if your core objectives are listed above, talking to your creative team about a redesign needs to wait until you've created the proper plan to achieve your underlying business objectives.

Chapter 2: Redesign Pre-Op Exam

Before you redesign your site for the wrong reasons, make sure your existing site passes this pre-op exam:

Design:

    1. Is your site responsive, stretching to fit any device or screen size?


    2. Does your current site's pages load quickly?


    3. Does your site have intuitive navigation and site structure?


    On a scale of 1-10 (1=ugly, 10=amazing), how does your site look?


Content:

    1. Does your homepage deliver a clear and compelling value proposition?


    2. Does your site's content engage visitors, resulting in valuable comments and inquiries?


    3. How often are you publishing new content on your website?


    4. How well does your current site and address the needs of your customer throughout the buying journey? (scale of 1-10)


Marketing:

    Is your website more focused on sales/solution language or engaging customers with valuable/helpful content?


    Is your traffic increasing at the rate of at least 7% per quarter?


    Do you present a valuable and engaging Call to Action (CTA) to boost the value of your site's content?


    Does your website advance leads through a sales funnel with lead nurturing and email touch points?


Chapter 3: Alternatives to Surgery

If your pre-op exam suggests your content or marketing strategy is not healthy enough for redesign surgery, there are strategic alternatives to simply proceeding to redesign your site and hoping for the best. 

#1 Get a Second Opinion

Reach out to internet marketers and ask them if they feel the site needs a redesign. Lean Labs' founder, Kevin Barber, offers free,  30 minute consultations. HubSpot offers free marketing assessments as well. If you're not amped about talking to someone yet, start by reading, 7 Ugly Truths a Pretty Website Can't Hide.

#2 Audit Your Analytics

Google Analytics is a wealth of knowledge and direction, if you know how to read the tea leaves.  Review the following metrics and honestly ask yourself, "will a better looking layout resolve the underlying problems with my website?"

  1. Audience > User Flow
    What percentage of users, who enter through your homepage, are dropping off and not clicking into your site? Why is that? Is it a design issue or a marketing issue? Is your homepage engaging and structured with a clear path of what users should do next?
  2. Audience > Mobile
    What percentage of your users are on mobile devices? I recently reviewed the analytics for a website that had over 60% of its traffic as a mixture of tablet and mobile devices. But the mobile experience was horribly lacking, so of course bounce rate was higher, time on site was shorter, and conversion rates were horrible. Yet, another website I reviewed recently had 87% desktop, 12% tablet, and only 3% mobile. Not only was mobile a very small subset of their traffic, their mobile metrics were right on par with desktop and tablet users. This suggested that users have an adequate experience on mobile, but there's just not that many of them yet. Make sure you don't redesign to please an audience you don't have.
  3. Behavior > Site Search
    What are users searching for on your website? Are these pages hidden in complicated navigation or confusing sub pages? Sometimes simply drawing out your most desired content and ensuring it is accessible and positioned in such a way to convert leads is far cheaper and more effective than a redesign.
  4. Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings
    Which pages are loading in more than 3 seconds? If it's your homepage or your blog, I'd stop here and find out how to speed it up. Cutting load times in half is often not too hard and can drive a measurable impact.

We could go on in analytics all day. What's most important is to measure what's working and what's not before you seek to improve your site. It helps ensure you're working on the right problem.

#3 Ask Customers

What's often overlooked today is asking customers how they feel about your company and whether they'd recommend you to a friend or colleague.  By asking customers the following question, you'll get great insights into how they view your company:

"On a scale of 0-10 (10 being extremely likely, 0 being not at all likely), how likely would you be to recommend [COMPANY NAME] to a friend or colleague?"

Then, ask the most important question: "Why?"

Most customers will speak plainly and transparently about their experience with your company if you just ask them. You may uncover key findings that need incorporated into your redesign plans.

#4 Limit Redesign Risk 

If you're convinced that an updated design will improve your underlying metrics and help you achieve your objectives, why not start with a maximum of two key pages and confirm that the improved design actually moves the needle before you revamp your entire site?  

I recently launched a "minimum viable product" website, a 4 page website that replaced hundreds of pages, which had not produced a single sales qualified lead in a year. We launched it in 45 days, including a total revamp of content and direction. This four page website had higher engagement, longer session visits, lower bounce rate, higher pages per visit (shocking with just 4 pages), and generated over 20 leads in 30 days. 

Needless to say we proceeded with the redesign. However it's worth noting, not only did we validate that it was the right move, we also learned quite a bit about what engaged customers in just a few weeks. That learning helped shape the rest of the design and content of the site. For more information on how we design and launch websites using a Lean Startup methodology, grab our ebook " 10 Steps to a Lean Launch."

Continuous Improvement

We believe that almost any objective is possible if you fully commit to continuous improvement. To get bigger, all you need to do is get better. This can be your content, your brand experience, your sales funnel, or your ongoing marketing efforts. 

Our company is founded and grounded in the lean methodology of "Build - Measure - Learn," delivering on our clients' business objectives through short, but continuous, improvement cycles driven by accurate customer feedback loops.  We believe our service to many in this objective leads to our own greatness. If we can be of assistance in helping you improve, please consider engaging Lean Labs in a conversation.

Great designs are really simple, and that's what makes building them so complex.

Kevin Barber, Founder - Lean Labs

About the author

Kevin Barber

Kevin Barber is the Founder and President of Lean Labs. At Lean Labs Kevin defines the vision, strategy, and resources that achieve Responsive Web Design, Internet Marketing, Inbound Marketing, and Web App Development. Kevin is also head entrepreneur at Net Profit Services, Inc. Kevin values being spiritually grounded and living a principled life focused on family and serving others. His interests include: Cycling, Motorcycling, Boating, Homesteading, Family Life, everything Entrepreneurial, and talking with motivated/driven people.

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