[This is the third part of a six part series on projects you should do before you commit to a redesign. To learn why redesigns are expensive and often serve the agency much better than the client, read my introduction.]
I have an assertion for all of you considering a redesign of your website:
Your website is probably failing you in some way, and you don't know what it is. If you redesign your website without knowing why it's not fulfilling its goal, you're going to waste a lot of money. You're redesign is unlikely to randomly fix the problem.
Let me be clear about what I mean by fail: websites that don't have clear goals defined are failing their owners. And websites that have clear goals but can't get sizable quantities of visitors to complete their goal process are failing their owners.
If you either don't have a goal established, or you aren't measuring that goal, the redesign will be a waste of money and you're website will still be a failure. So let's assume you have goal already and a notable number of visitors aren't completing it: how can you learn what your users can't do? Let's start with the simple ones:
Check your site feedback email
I can pretty much guarantee that if you have a problem completing goals on your website, people have complained about it. Find the person who suffers through the site feedback email and ask them to show you what there is from the last three months. I remember I once started a relationship with a new nonprofit and asked about their high abandonment rate on the default multipage donate form. I asked "Do people ever complain about how many steps it takes to give you money?" The response I got "Oh yeah, all the time, people hate that."
Well, I said, let's change it to a shorter form. We did.
And the completion rate tripled.
Check your "user voice" tools
I won't repeat the instructions here, but if you installed a tool like 4Q to survey your users, you're set. A user survey tool will tell you what they came to your site to do and if they could complete it (or why not).
Study Your Goal Funnels
All analytics tools allow you to see what happened to users on their way to your goal, but failing to get there. Look at this goal funnel below for my first fundraising ebook. On the left are listed pages that drove people to the download and registration page. On the right are listed the places people went when they didn't finish and download.
Here's what those links on the right tell you:
- Some just quit (exit), thwarted by the requirement to register.
- Some went to my other ebook about measuring facebook.
- Some went to the about page to see who the heck I am.
- Some went back to the homepage.
- Some went to an article I wrote about measuring social media.
Though you'll never have a 100% conversion rate for a page like this, you can always study the reasons people don't finish by looking where they went and attempt to raise that completion rate by addressing those concerns.
And the project to solve that problem is a lot cheaper than a website redesign.