How to Get the Most Out of a Site Redesign: A Digital Analyst’s Perspective

Article ImageOrganizations investing in digital transformation initiatives to drive more of their customers to their online channels are taking a far more deliberate and bottom-line approach to site redesign—and using customer data to inform, evaluate, and iteratively improve the website customer experience. Getting started on this path requires you to think very differently about site redesign and data collection. Instead of thinking of a site redesign as a one-and-done project, you should use a measurement and evaluation process that helps you continuously optimize the customer experience.

This five-step process will give you the foundation for a “wash, rinse, and repeat” cycle that you can use over and over again for any number of digital channel initiatives involving clickstream data:

  1. Define top desired use cases, actions, and goal completions.
  2. Conduct a data-gap analysis on your current site.
  3. Conduct a current-state analysis.
  4. Establish design and analytics requirements for your new site.
  5. Conduct a post-launch analysis to direct a program of ongoing improvement.

Define top desired use cases, actions, and goal completions—What do you want visitors to do when they come to your website? Common use cases include purchasing a product, service, membership, or subscription; completing lead-generation forms; interacting with a self-serve customer service portal; and self-managing accounts. Chances are that your website is already built around these use cases and that you’ll have the same use cases on your redesigned site. But perhaps you’ll change how they work, or the customer journey elements will be somewhat different.

If you haven’t already done so, identify which acquisition paths, content consumption patterns, and goal completions will define success using a metrics framework. The metrics framework will enable you to measure the performance of your new website versus your old website after the redesign. 

You can start with high-level traffic data that gives you a general sense of performance, including the overall numbers of visits, visitors, and page views within a given time frame. To understand whether your new site meets the goals that you have set, define metrics that are based on percentages and targets that address your goals instead of trends and raw numbers. Here are some examples:

  • Engagement—A session that incorporates a collection of behavioral activity that shows high interest, such as viewing at least three content pages per visit or viewing and sharing content in the same visit
  • Customer experience and lead generation—Develop metrics that explain how your customers are navigating through the site. If you total the number of lead-generation task completions and divide by total visitor sessions, the resulting percentage can be used as a baseline score for site-lead-gen effectiveness.
  • Shopping cart completion value—For an ecommerce redesign, you can start by showing shopping cart completion percentages. The next step would be to measure value per customer order or repeat order value per customer. These metrics should be calculated from your current site and compared with your redesigned site.

Most organizations have pretty well-defined concepts of offline personas for their visitors (such as a male, 35–50 years old, father of two kids). While you may use these personas to create use cases and customer journey maps, you need to develop behavioral profiles that correspond with digital activity, such as referral source, content visited, and frequency of visits.

Conduct a data-gap analysis on your current site—Doing a gap analysis will allow you to get a picture of the data that you currently gather and how you need to gather it from the redesigned site. At a minimum, you should use 3 months of data from your current site to understand seasonal or business-cycle factors that can explain dips and spikes in activity. If you’re not capturing the data, it’s time to configure your digital analytics platform (such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics) to be set up for measurement once the new site launches.

Do a current-state analysis—Armed with your metrics framework and a good baseline dataset, you can do a current-state analysis to understand performance of the site. This scorecard can be created and used as the comparison for the new web. 

Establish design and analytics requirements for your new site—Now that you understand how visitors are interacting with your current website and have defined your website engagement goals, you can form a plan for how you’ll design the new site. Developing requirements may include preparing behavioral use cases to suggest how visitors will interact with your site and designing around them.

Conduct a post-launch analysis to direct a program of ongoing improvement—Once you’ve launched, you can start to evaluate if key visitor interactions have increased, as well as how you can continue to improve customer experience, increase task completion, and drive higher-quality visitor engagement.

These points will enable you to understand if there are any issues with site content, function, design, and navigation that need to be addressed. Additionally, they’ll help you uncover why users leave your site, if it’s easy or difficult for them to find what they’re looking for, and whether your site is intuitive enough for them to use without assistance. The result is that you’ll now be on the path for using analytics to support a continuous cycle of website optimization.

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