As a growing company, you re-evaluate your website periodically to make sure it is serving your business objectives.
One question you should be asking your partner web agency is, “How will you measure the ROI of a website redesign?”
I believe that any website redesign should either 1) increase revenue, 2) save time or money behind the scenes, or 3) a combination of the two.
There Has to be a Measureable Return on Investment
In my travels, I’ve noticed that not every web agency measures the impact of a new website design on your bottom line. Since no executive team wakes up thinking, “We should spend thousands of dollars on a new website this quarter”, it stands to reason that there has to be some sort of ROI on a site redesign.
Perhaps you need more web traffic to get your products in front of your target customers. I’m positive more revenue is always a good thing. Lead generation is another metric that might inspire a website redesign.
Whatever is prompting you to hire a web agency, there has to be a ROI to a new site, the only logical question is, how is it being measured?
Website Redesigns Must Take SEO Into Consideration
There’s a fatal flaw that I’ve seen in the process of many web agencies. Often times, an agency will redesign and launch a website, and afterwards, there is no follow-up — poof, gone, nada.
To be sure, the new sites will look really impressive, but there is zero measurement of whether the new design had an impact on traffic, lead generation, or revenue. This leads to a fundamental question, “how do you know if this re-design was a success or not?”
Is your web agency setting up Google Analytics on your site? Are they keeping track of how your traffic is doing after the site launch? Or are they off to pat themselves on the back and move on to the next project?
The reason I’m asking this is that visual design is one aspect of a successful redesign, with content and functionality being the other two.
In the end, if the redesign doesn’t lead to more traffic, conversions, and revenue, then what good was the redesign?
What Happens When There Is No Measurement?
Recently, Sara Dunn of 11Web talked about a business owner she met at a conference, whose traffic fell off from page one to page seven after a website redesign. Needless to say, this made Sara really mad.
Professional web agencies should be looking at SEO and content from the beginning of a website redesign, not just passing the buck to the SEO specialists to clean up their mess.
I wish I could say this is an isolated incident, but it’s not. Many smaller agencies specialize in beautifying old websites, but haven’t educated themselves about good SEO practices. As a result, their clients suffer when their back links get wiped out because they didn’t understand 301 redirects, or the on-page SEO gets thrown out in a redesign.
SEO takes a long time to build up, and it is frightening to know it can be devastated by lack of planning.
Steps to Take to Ensure Your Agency is Measuring Success
There are many ways you can do to gauge whether a web agency is going to measure the ROI on a project or not.
One thing to ask prospective agencies is what type of research they will be doing prior to the redesign. Will they be finding out about your pain points? (Because no one wakes up wanting to spend thousands on a new website). Will they research your competitors and see why they are successful? Do they plan to see what your customers say about you?
A low-risk option is to go through a discovery process or roadmapping session with prospective agencies. This will allow you to see what details they are looking at, and how they view your web project.
For the record, we feel that long-term relationships with clients are the most fruitful, and that a relaunch is often the beginning of improvement, not the end. The reason being is that measuring the impact of a redesign or SEO campaign gives us insight into what’s working, and what isn’t, allowing us to measure the results, and make necessary adjustments.
The Bottom Line
You owe it to your company to find out how your design agency will measure success after they launch your site. IF you have a traffic or revenue goal, you need to know if a redesign was successful.
Most often it will be some combination of the following:
- Improved search rankings.
- Increased sales and revenue.
- More email signups or leads generated.
- Saving time or money behind the scenes.
- Streamlined process or increased efficiency.
- Website traffic going steadily up.
- More donations (if it’s a non-profit site).
The next time your design agency talks to you about hand-wavy stuff like “brand experience” or “design awards”, tell them, “show me the ROI”!