A good website redesign has to be a careful balancing act between making the client happy and staying true to the company brand, while also making website visitors happy and achieving business results such as visitor traffic and lead conversion.
This can be accomplished by listening to the data. When you reach out to web design agencies, you’ll likely be asked a number of questions about your website’s current performance, including:
- How many pages are on your site?
- How much traffic do you get?
- What percentage of visitors bounce off your homepage?
- Do visitors return after filling out your contact forms?
- Does Google index all of your pages?
- Does your site rank for the right keywords?
- Do you have broken links on your site?
- How do you answer these questions?
There are many ways to gain this kind of insight, but four free tools, in particular, are very useful for understanding your website’s performance and your users’ behavior. To use them, all you need to know is how to install a tracking code (or a plugin, if your site is built on WordPress) in order to start collecting data.
Tool 1: Hotjar
Hotjar is a heat-mapping tool that shows where your users are actually clicking on your site and how far down they scroll on each page, across multiple devices. It can even track an individual user’s mouse movements.
You can use this information about how people respond to your website’s page designs to take the subjectivity out of understanding the user’s journey through your website and make data-backed decisions about how the new site will be designed.
For example, you may be assuming that people are scrolling all the way down your page, or that an offer in a prominent location is getting a lot of attention, but the Hotjar data may tell you that your visitors are not even going beyond the hero image on mobile.
Hotjar provides you with quantitative information, showing a quick visual representation of what actual users are doing on your website.
It won’t give you a ton of numbers, but rather visual cues to help you understand how your website’s design can have an impact on performance. If your website doesn’t have a lot of traffic, this is very powerful information.
You can see what happens on your site without wondering if the numbers that you’re collecting are good news for you.
Tool 2: Google Analytics
You might already have Google Analytics installed on your site. If not, you should do so right away, because any agency design team worth their salt will need at least 30 days of data to see trends that can help them create a better website for you.
The good news is that Google Analytics is free and very easy to install.
You’ll need to collect data about how many views each page gets, what the overall traffic to your site is, how users move through your site, and which pages they bounce away from. This information also allows you to see which pages are in most need of a restructure or need to be more closely evaluated.
Many companies that we talk with want to rebuild their website with a fresh new look and feel, without necessarily reviewing the site’s content. Google Analytics provides the kind of data that might make you realize that certain pages need an entire overhaul of the on-page content as opposed to simply a new design.
For instance, if a page has a low ranking or barely gets any visitors, is it even necessary to carry over into a redesign? If a page should be very important but it has a high bounce rate, is the content on this page relevant to the user?