Deciding how much or how quickly to overhaul your website can be a complex decision, with multiple factors (and stakeholders) to consider. Here, we’ll lay out the two fundamental types of optimization and website redesign approaches – comprehensive or incremental – and how to decide which Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) strategy is right for your brand.
What is a comprehensive redesign?
When an agency is conducting a “comprehensive” redesiign of your website, that simply means they’re completely redesigning all or most of your company’s website from scratch.
How do you know if you need a comprehensive redesign of your website?
Typically, these types of comprehensive website redesign projects are best suited for outdated websites with a very poor user experience across the site. If your website is not mobile responsive, it’s also probably a good candidate for a comprehensive redesign.
What is the process for a comprehensive redesign?
An agency’s typical workflow for this approach would look something like this:
- Discovery: During this first phase of a comprehensive redesign, an agency will work to understand your overall business, goals, competitors, objectives, revenue model, etc.
- Site Mapping: This is a deep analysis of your entire existing website so the agency understands all of the new pages that need to be designed or built.
- Wireframing: The agency then builds out a “skeleton” of the new pages, which are usually just black and white designs so you can see the basic structure and layout for each new page on your site.
- Design: Once the wireframes are finalized and approved, the design team goes to work bringing them to life, making sure that each page is aligned with your own brand guidelines.
- Approval: The approval phase of a comprehensive redesign is crucial. This is where you give any final feedback or requests for changes to the site as the finishing touches are added to each new page. Once this process is complete, you’re ready to launch your completely new website!
But what if you don’t want (or need) to redesign your entire website?
As an alternative to a comprehensive redesign, iterative additions of redesigned components (or gradual redesigns) are often more practical for websites that only need a few optimizations or changes. For example, maybe you just need to add a responsive view to your site or adapt your content to a more mobile-friendly user experience. Or maybe you need to improve the functionality or content on your homepage.
When you make iterative additions or add redesigned components to your existing website, this is also a form of website “Conversion Rate Optimization.” Optimizing your website involves looking for any improvements you can make to the site that will increase conversions, drive acquisition and engagement, or improve your user experience. Optimization also typically involves rigorous A/B or multivariate testing to understand which improvements will yield the greatest results.
But, while testing, it’s also common to run into smaller or incremental opportunities to optimize – without testing – that will improve your UX. This kind of gradual website redesign is a real-time response to what’s happening on your site.
These are the kinds of on-going optimizations and iterative redesigns you can expect a Conversion Rate Optimization agency to make for you as a part of their ongoing effort to improve the functionality, performance, and overall experience of your website.
And, sometimes, you need to do both!
Let’s say you’ve just completed a comprehensive redesign and have a brand new website for your company. After a few months, you may begin to notice that, to keep running at peak performance and stay competitive in your space, your website will need continuous attention, improvement, updates, and optimizations. Or, you can even iterate or add on to your redesigned components. But, how do you know what to keep improving on?
Listen to your users
These kinds of post-redesign iterations can take many forms depending on what your users are saying and where your website performance is lagging. In fact, this is another very important stage in the life of your business where you should be getting direct feedback from your users about their experience with your new site.
You can do this, for example, by analyzing videos of users as they navigate your site or try to complete a specific task that you give them. This sort of user testing analysis can be invaluable in understanding your user journey and where your users may be experiencing a difficulty that’s preventing them from completing a task or making a purchase.
For example, in one user testing video analysis that we conducted for a travel website, we asked users to search for a hotel at a specific destination to simulate the booking process. As the were conducting their search, they gave us feedback in real-time and explained any problems they were having with the functionality or interface of the site.
By doing these with several users, we were able to determine that most of the users were running into difficulty at exactly the same point in their journey, therefore we recommended further iterative redesigns to the client based on their own customers’ feedback. As a result, their site’s performance increased and they saw an even further increased ROI for their newly designed site.
- On 26th September 2019