Your firm’s website is arguably your most valuable marketing asset in today’s digital-centric, modern marketing ecosystem. It deserves ongoing attention and resources, and as a result, making regular website improvements should be a top priority.
You simply can’t have a set it and forget it attitude when it comes to your website. Just because it may be “perfect” when it launches, doesn’t mean there isn’t room (or reason) for improvements or additions, days, weeks and months later.
So whether you’ve just launched a new website or are planning to redesign in the year ahead, updating and improving your website should always be on your firm’s to-do list. As with any marketing strategy, your website should be constantly measured and refined for optimal performance.
The digital age has ushered in dramatic change into how buyers (whether potential clients or potential employees) conduct research, vet their options and ultimately make purchasing decisions. And that evolution is ongoing, which means that your website will continue to play a larger role in the business development and talent acquisition process. Prospects, clients, teaming partners and job candidates alike visit your website to answer questions, perform due diligence, understand your capabilities and inform selection decisions.
Generating website traffic and giving prospects the information they need is paramount, but turning visitors into leads and nurturing leads into clients is the end goal. And it takes more than simply having a website and good search rankings. You need all the necessary lead generation components to get results. When prospects begin researching for their next purchase, you want your website to be an online business development tool, so it needs to do more than just look good.
What worked when your website launched, isn’t necessarily going to work 3, 6, 12, 18 or 36 months later. While we don’t recommend that you redesign your website too frequently, you can’t wait until the next redesign to make website improvements. Instead, you should assess your website on an ongoing basis, continually looking for ways to refine and improve it as you go along. Examples could be something as simple as adding additional functionality, updating photography, refining messaging, improving page load speed or something more involved such as redesigning your home page or navigation.
You don’t necessarily need to be constantly changing the look and feel of your website or even making noticeable changes. You just need to relentlessly focus on your buyer personas, adding content that will answer their questions, solve their problems and assist them as they move through the various stages of the buyers journey. Use web analytics and conversion metrics to influence what changes and tweaks need to be made to your website.
Just like your car needs regular maintenance, so does your CMS. Building the time into your schedule to regularly backup your website, monitor security and performance, perform plugin and software updates and conduct regular housekeeping on your website will ensure that your site stays running safely and smoothly. With just a little bit of time and commitment, your website will be safeguarded against potential problems and will continue to perform well for users.
Just because you recently redesigned your website, doesn’t mean you won’t need to dedicate additional time or resources to it for the next couple of years. Instead, treat your website like property management companies treat their building properties. They have annual budgets dedicated for regular maintenance and improvements, but they also have capital improvement plans to prepare for larger, long-range projects that require more investment.
It’s possible you had to pare down your website scope due to a lack of budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) add those features and functionality in at a later time. The bottom line is, you should put both time and money into your marketing budget every year to make ongoing improvements (both small and large) to your website.
Obviously, if you are trying to improve upon your website, you need to have a great website foundation in the first place. So it could be that more than just improvements and tweaks are required and a complete redesign might make sense. Keep in mind that redesigning your firm’s website is going to involve a sizable investment of your time, resources, budget and energy. Like any marketing investment, it shouldn’t be decided on a whim, but rather it should be a strategically-aligned decision made to have a positive impact on your marketing objectives and the bottom-line of your business.
Having a great website that drives results is not going to happen on accident and just because your website is performing well now, doesn’t mean it always will. The right strategy and design are required, but also ongoing attention and resources to ensure continued success.