A good website is a champion for your business. It's your digital storefront and the first impression many customers will have about your organization. Your website can build awareness about your brand, boost your sales, enhance your customer experience, and even reduce your costs—but only if it's well-designed.
Whether you're building your first site or planning to redesign your current one, we're here with an in-depth guide on how to get it done. Our aim is to help you maximize your reach, align your content with your goals, and boost your overall success as a business and as a Zoho Partner.
Let's get started.
Why should you redesign your website?
Before you dive in and start tearing your site apart, take a step back and think about the reasons you want to redesign it. Here are some key indicators that revamping your website will be worth the time and effort:
The site is no longer representative of everything you offer
Traffic has been consistently low for some time
The site is not converting leads at the rate you want
We get it. Fighting for brand awareness online is brutal. A 2015 study showed the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. If your website isn't eye-catching with a clear value proposition, you're not likely to attract traffic organically. You might think that you don't need organic traffic—you have ads, after all—but increasing organic traffic is the only reliable, sustainable method to generate leads online.
Unlike paid traffic, organic traffic attracts real people with an intent to purchase. This means higher conversion rates and more success over time as your brand builds its reputation. Unfortunately, we live in a world where most people don't go past the first page of search results when looking for what they need online. This is why paid advertisements are so attractive, but what happens when you can no longer pay? That traffic dries up, and you get fewer and fewer leads over time.
Competition may be fierce and it may take some time to see success with it, but the audience that you build organically will be stronger than the one your money can buy. So how do you do it? The answer is search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is like compound interest. The results are small at first, especially if your traffic was low to start with, but be patient. As you start to incorporate SEO methods, your organic traffic will begin snowballing, and your website will achieve higher rankings on search result pages. SEO is key to brand building. It not only ranks your website but also enables higher media visibility and helps build referral traffic. We'll cover SEO in more depth below.
It's tempting to think that redesigning your website isn't necessary because your paid marketing efforts are doing well, but don't be fooled. If your leads and traffic are primarily generated by unsustainable ad spending or your website doesn't incorporate SEO best practices, it's time for a revamp.
The key to a successful redesign is bridging the gap between what your customers want and what problems you are trying to solve. Simple, right? If only! We know that restructuring your website is no easy feat, especially if you're working on your own or you only have a small team. Our goal with this step-by-step guide is to help you get through the process efficiently and effectively so you can start seeing results faster.
1. Do a little introspection
Perhaps it's been a while since you last assessed your website's design. Take some time to look at your organization's journey and where you stand today as a Zoho Partner. This will help give you a framework for redesigning your website that is more consistent with your current values, goals, and offerings.
Here are some basic questions to ask yourself about your organization before you restructure your website:
Who: Who are you? Who are you representing? Who do you provide services for?
What: What value do you offer? What Zoho products do you sell? What training certifications do you have?
When: When did you become a Zoho Partner? When do you post resources on your website? When were those resources last updated?
Where: Where are you located? Where is your target audience located? Where did you source the information on your website? Where do the links on your website redirect to?
Why: Why have you chosen to be associated with Zoho? Why are you passionate about what you do? Why should someone choose your service?
Which: Which Partner Tier are you at? Which product is your specialty? Which countries or regions do you serve?
How: How can you be contacted? How are you better than your competitors?
2. Assess your current site
You've decided a redesign is worth it, but don't be hasty in deleting everything just yet. Assess your current website and see what's working and what isn't. Try taking a deeper look at some of these areas:
Is it immediately obvious why someone should choose you over your competitors? Within the first five seconds of landing on your site, visitors should understand what value you're offering them. It doesn't have to be all-encompassing. It just has to be comprehensive enough to encourage further investigation. Take a look at Zoho Recruit's homepage. "Faster hires, Better hiring." Short, snappy, and every visitor knows what benefits to expect from the product.
A good website shouldn't make it difficult for visitors to find what you offer. Your main products and services should be updated and clearly displayed on your homepage, preferably near the top. Again, there's no need to go in-depth right away if you don't have space for it all. Short descriptions or CTA buttons can work wonders. As a SaaS consultant, these are just some areas that you could branch in to and advertise on your site:
Content is the backbone of your website, so give yours a good audit by reviewing its structure, quality, and performance. Is it informative and well-written? Is it displayed attractively? How does it appear on mobile devices?
Take special care to measure how your content is currently performing. Analyzing the following metrics will help you set specific goals for your redesign process.
Content audits play an important role in deciding which content to repurpose from your existing website, and this can save you a lot of time down the road. It can also help you optimize your information architecture, determine the scope of your project, and align your overall redesign efforts with organizational goals.
Content won't get you very far if your site's design is unappealing. This goes for both visual elements and UI interactions. A thorough design audit will help you identify UI bottlenecks and design inconsistencies so you don't carry them over to the redesigned site.
The following design elements should maintain a level of consistency across all of your webpages:
An analytics tool can help you understand your website even better with heat maps, bounce rates, average time spent per page, and data about user flow and navigation. This helps you optimize your UI, including CTA placement.
Keep in mind that web design says a lot about your brand and organizational values. For example, ensuring your website is user-friendly on all platforms is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to an excellent customer experience. You can even get feedback about your website from your users and see if there are suggestions you can act on.
A SWOT analysis will help you uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your current site. It will also allow you to identify threats from your competition and see new opportunities for your site or organization that you hadn't considered before. You can collect data from customer interviews, analyze your customer journey and have a look at your competitor analysis reports.
3. Set your goals
Wanting a better website is a goal, but it's too broad. It's like saying "I want better business." What does "better business" look like to you? It's important that you define exactly what you're hoping to achieve by restructuring your website. If you're stuck, remember the SMART acronym for goal-setting: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Some goals to start off with could be:
Then try to get even more specific. If you use the SMART acronym, "I want a better website" can easily become: "By the next quarter, I want to decrease the website's load time from 3 seconds to 2 second, increase traffic from 2000 visits to 5000 visits, and increase our conversion rate from 18% to 28%."
While setting SMART goals, remember that not all metrics and business objectives directly translate to business success. Beware of the vanity goal trap! Increased website traffic may be a positive trend, but are you attracting the right traffic? The key lies in finding a balance between setting the right goals and adjusting your goals over time as you begin seeing results.
4. Research trends and competition
Restructuring your website gives you the chance to explore new design ideas that are making their way through the internet. You can also take this one step further and research the newest UI and UX trends in your industry. This will help ensure you're not missing out on must-have website features, like mobile-optimization or chat widgets for customer support.
Looking for design inspiration? Try these sites:
Another great place to seek out inspiration is from your competitors. How are their sites performing? What features or design qualities do they have that yours doesn't? Apart from looking at the design, structure, and content, you could also evaluate their:
Just by navigating a competitor's site on your own, you can assess factors like its search ranking, UI, content, localization, and social media integrations. You can even load it up on your phone to see if the site's appearance is mobile-friendly. But if you are looking for an even deeper analysis, there are free tools online like Alexa that will evaluate a website's competition, top keywords, online engagement, load times, and more.
5. Share a wireframe
Let's pause for a moment. Before you read on and start making final changes to your website, be sure to put the ideas you generate into a wireframe first. A wireframe is like an architectural blueprint for your website. It should provide a clear outline of your website's new structure, layout, information architecture, user flow, and functionality. You can design it with pen and paper or digital site mapping tools, and the amount of detail you add will classify it as low, mid, or high fidelity.
This may seem like a minor step, but it's important not to skip it. A wireframe is meant to be shared with your stakeholders, introducing a critical review stage in your website design process. This is a great opportunity for low-stakes feedback, and it ensures everyone is on the same page about the website changes before they go into design and development. This will save you time and money, and involving your stakeholders will show that you value their input and suggestions.
If you are creating your site from scratch, doing a huge overhaul, or simply don't know where to start, take a look at the downloadable resource for pages to include in your new site.
6. Design your website
It's finally time to implement the ideas you've been brainstorming, and the design of your website will be the first task to handle. Content may be king, but your website's design is where most users will make their first impression about your organization. If the design is poor, they won't bother engaging with the content.
When redesigning your website, identify key pages to work on, create a minimum viable page, and then build on it to create additional pages. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Be mindful of the typography, fonts, and color palettes you use. They should fit with your brand image in a visually cohesive way. Try out seasonally-themed pages for promotions on your website. This gives users a fresh experience without you having to change the major color palettes for the whole website.
Ensure that you have a clean UI with digestible content. It's best to have a simple navigation menu so users are never wondering where to click. It's good to use exit pop-ups to encourage users stay on your page, but don't rely on them too heavily. Blur and fade out the background whenever you need to enhance readability. According to the usability guru, Steve Krug, the first law of usability is "Don't make users think." Prioritize user experience and create a design that's easy to understand.
Create a mobile-friendly website. A website optimized for use across different devices is a big bonus. Consolidate and compress your visual elements to decrease your mobile website's load time. Use social media to promote your website, and place your social media handles on your home page. Take advantage of small opportunities to show off your organization's personality. For example, you can build a custom 404 page.
Visual content will get you further than words on a screen. Integrate sharp data visualizations, infographics, and charts in your website design. Always add real profiles in your customer testimonials section so users develop more trust in your product. Live chat widgets are also a great way to build stronger customer relationships by improving support and response times. As our partner, we encourage you to use the logos in our branding kit and ensure they are updated to the latest versions. Always add your logo and a Zoho affiliation logo to your home page. Flaunt your training certifications to gain better authority!
Remember that it's natural for brands to evolve with time. As your organization shifts and expands, update your goals, mission statement, and values accordingly.
7. Create quality content
The first step in actually creating your new website is putting together all of the content that will be on it. From earlier steps, you should already know how much you'll be able to reuse from your old website and how much you'll have to create fresh.
Through the years, web designs and layouts have evolved, but the need for quality content has remained stable. Successful copywriting for a website means it's appealing to both readers and search engines. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
While writing content for your landing pages, keep in mind that a clear message and CTA is key to success. Ensure that you start with a headline that addresses the main pain points your audience has. Follow that immediately with how you can solve the issue, and then introduce the CTA.
Some of your old content may not need to be updated and can be reused as is, and some of it may have to be repurposed to suit your new content goals. In both cases, you're saving time. The mantra to good content repurposing is keep, update, delete.
You'll earn more credibility with your audience if you keep your existing content updated regularly instead of only touching it when you revamp your entire site. Keep in mind that you can change the format of your repurposed content as well. For example, try creating a podcast or webinar series out of your old blog or consolidating your long-form articles into an e-book. This is your chance to experiment and reinvent!
8. Optimize for SEO
You knew it was coming! SaaS is taking over the cloud computing market. In fact, it has been predicted that the SaaS industry will be valued at $143.7 billion by 2022. This means more competitors and more pressure to generate leads, convert customers, reach new prospects, decrease churn, and achieve long-term profitability. SEO is a cost-effective way to help you stay in the league.
Here are some useful SEO tips for your content:
Technical SEO helps optimize your website for search engines. In order to access, crawl, and index your site properly, your site's back end has to follow certain rules. It doesn't matter how well your front-end content is written and displayed. If your back-end SEO is poor, your website will not gain traction on search engines.
Sitemap - This file helps search engines crawl your webpages to see how well they are connected so it can index them appropriately. Keep your sitemap updated based on your site's content. An updated sitemap will ensure your site is indexed but duplicate content on your site is not.
Site architecture - Refers to the structure and hierarchy of your site's webpages. Ensure that you have what's called a "flat structure," where all your pages are just a few links away from each other.
URL - You can optimize your URL by structuring it logically and consistently. Try including target keywords you want to rank for. When you repost your content on other promotional platforms, don't forget to add a canonical link element to the HTML.
Schema markups - The magic behind rich snippets! HTML scripts only help crawlers know what your data says, not what it means. A schema markup is a code that you can add to your website's back end to give search engines more context about your site content. This allows the algorithm to know when to display your content for relevant search queries and what rich snippets to add to those displays. Adding schema markups to blogs and articles is a great SEO practice.
Page speed - Slow load times equal high bounce rates. The point of the internet is to find answers fast! These days, that translates to load times that are less than 3 seconds. Try using a page analysis tool to measure your load times. If this is a struggle for you, try compressing your website images, checking your code for inefficiencies, and reducing redirects.
This is what most people think of when they hear the term "SEO." It refers to optimizing your content marketing strategies so that your target audience can find your products and services through search engines. To do this, you have to know what keywords and phrases your target audience searches for in the first place. If you have a keyword tracking tool, the search suggestions feature is a great place to start. You can also have a look at trending terms for your industry, use a keyword planner, or see what your competitors are ranking for. Here are some SEO best practices for your site content.
Meta tags - Include relevant keywords in your meta title and meta description.
Title tags - Always separate your content with headers and subheaders. There should be a distinct difference between H1, H2, and H3 in your content. This makes your blogs easier to read and optimizes them for SEO.
Categories and tags - Use categories and tags to group your content. Categories are general labels that help you broadly classify your content. They makenavigation easier and enhance the accessibility of your content. Tags are specific labels that are usually 1-3 words long. Not only do these micro-categorise your content, but also makes it easier for search engines to index your content.
Keywords and phrases - Use a balanced mix of short and long-tail keywords throughout your content. A content management system can help you track the keywords you have used so far.
Alt tags - Use alt tags for all your images. These are added into an image's HTML code to describe its appearance and function. Not only does this help boost your SEO, but it also gives your site better accessibility to people who rely on screen readers to surf the web.
Internal linking - Providing links to other relevant content on your site enhances user experience and encourages visitors to stay on your site for longer. It also helps search engines discover more pages on your site. That said, be sure to remove any broken links on your website.
EAT principle - EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Including information about your team, their achievements, and your company goals are essential. Adding author profiles to your content helps you meet Google's quality guidelines.
These are links from pages on one website to pages on another. If they are positioned and designed well, they can increase discoverability and build referral traffic. Any link you include on your site should come from a trustworthy source with good domain authority, and the anchor text you use for it should be relevant and descriptive. To increase the number of backlinks to your website, try guest posting, creating quality content that others will source, or engaging with reporters and media outlets.
9. Test and evaluate
Testing your website is a crucial step. It helps check performance, identify bugs in content and design, checks usability, compatibility on different devices and offers scope for optimisation. Here are some easy and trustable ways to test your website:
When you have worked for weeks upon weeks on your project, it's easy to lose sight of the original vision (or stick with it too rigidly). It helps to get some outside perspective when major elements of the website are completed so you can get some feedback. A quick and easy way is with the 5-second test. Show someone a part of your website for 5 seconds and question them on what they recall and if they saw anything they particularly liked or didn't like.
A/B testing is the process of showing two variations of the same webpage to different segments of visitors to compare which drives more conversions. Your redesign decision should be based on a data-driven A/B testing. You could test components of the page like:
Your A/B testing process should follow these general steps:
Research the A/B testing tools available in your market, and see which tools suit your requirements and budget.
Observe your visitor's behavior and draw insights. Formulate a hypothesis on what would work better than your current version.
Identify variables and create variations you want to test based on your hypothesis.
Run your test once these variations are assigned to visitors. Make sure to use temporary redirects (302 redirects).
Measure their interactions and compare how each version performs.
10. Promote yourself
Just having a great website is not enough on it's own. Promotion is essential to staying ahead of the pack and gaining more visibility. Here are some ways to promote your website and content even if you are on a budget:
SEO/PPC - Rank on search engines by bidding for AdWords if you have the budget for it. For organic reach, use SEO with your web design and content to rank higher in search engine listings.
Social media marketing - Having an active presence on social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit can help spread the word about you. Posting content there and regularly interacting with users is a great way to build brand awareness.
Email marketing - This involves sending a mixture of product resources, service updates, and commercial emails to your email subscribers. Keep in mind to follow privacy guidelines while implementing this strategy.
PR - Public speaking engagements help you grow as an individual and evangelize your brand. Getting featured in articles and other media outlets is a great way to promote your brand.
Content marketing and promotional platforms - Build a reservoir of educational content like blogs, help resources, podcasts, and webinars to generate leads. This strategy creates value for customers while building more awareness through post traffic. In addition to posting on your own site, use platforms like Zest, Medium, Quora, Quuu promote, Growth hackers, and YouTube to further advertise your expertise.
Referral marketing - Word-of-mouth marketing and referrals are still some of the most foolproof promotion strategies. Especially in the SaaS market, where software is considered an investment, this works like magic.
Co-marketing - Collaborating with other brands and business partners to promote each other not only strengthens your business relationship but also helps you access new target audiences.
Congratulations for reaching the end of this guide! We hope it gave you a great start on redesigning your website. We wish we could say the journey is over, but the truth is that it never ends! With ever-changing customer needs, browser technologies and design trends, there is always something to improve. But if you've followed the steps this far, you're well on your way to better success in today's competitive internet landscape.
2 Replies to A complete guide to redesigning your website as a SaaS consultant
This was a valuable post. Thank you, Rithikha!
Glad you liked it!