There are different reasons to completely overhaul a web presence, for example:
Your site is simply on an outdated visual or technical state – long loading times, not optimized for mobile devices.
You want to add new features that the previous site didn't support – for example, selling products through the site.
Your site has grown organically in a way that visitors can't find their way around.
Your site does not meet current privacy requirements.
You're in the midst of a merger and need to adapt the website accordingly.
The competition has relaunched its website and is now in a better position than your company.
You want to brush up your image – perhaps even in parallel with a rebranding.
If you want to create a new website for your company, you should approach this task in a structured way. Because a truly successful website relaunch involves more than just replacing the CMS or updating the design. Read the following sections to find out what you need to consider:
A website that has the goal of bringing customers and sales to the company should be considered an integral part of marketing and sales activities. This is precisely why the relaunch project should not be placed in isolation in the IT department, but should involve the non-technical decision-makers in the company right from the start.
Analyzing Target Groups and Defining Personas or ICPs
Who is your website aimed at? The more precisely you define this, the more precisely you can align the website with the target group. So analyze your target group: What are their needs, desires, and interests?
Based on this analysis, define personas. These are fictitious characters that represent the most important target group representatives and describe their characteristics, needs, and expectations. Alternatively, you can also define an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). These personas or ICPs form the basis for the further design of the website and help to ensure a targeted approach to the target group and effective implementation of the marketing objectives.
Defining Goals and KPIs
What do you want to achieve with your web presence? Do you want to use it simply as a business card or also for lead generation? Do you want to sell products via an online store? Maybe you want to communicate your expertise? Or do you want to create a community on and around the website? All these are exemplary strategic reasons for the existence of a website.
Based on this, you define specific goals, for example, more visitors, higher conversion rate or longer time spent on the website. Based on these goals, you define the appropriate key performance indicators (KPI), with the help of which you can measure the success of the web presence and constantly optimize the website. Be careful not to define KPIs that have no impact on the business result or provide no insights for improving the website.
What Page Types Will the Website Contain?
Once you have defined your goals and can estimate how your target group will search for and use your company, products and services, you will already have initial indications of how your website should basically be structured. This is because there are different page types that support your goals differently and have different requirements for the CMS and connected systems. Some examples:
Home page: this is effectively the virtual main entrance to your company. This is where you give the visitors an overview of your website.
Products and services pages: This is where users get detailed information about what you offer. Depending on the scope of the offer, the content can be further divided into sub-pages. In the case of online stores, the products can be placed in the shopping cart.
About us: Here the visitors receive information about the company, its history, mission, vision, values and team members. This can help build trust and credibility with customers.
Contact and form pages: This gives visitors the opportunity to get in touch with you. These pages are usually also linked to other systems (for example, CRM system) in your company.
References and customer reviews: Here you can present testimonials from customers - possibly even as a feed directly from rating platforms – as well as certificates and awards from your company. This generates trust in your company among potential new customers.
Blog, FAQ page and forum: These are different types of pages that you can use to provide users with additional information. For direct exchange with users, you can set up a comment function for the blog. You can use the forum for support, but also for inspiration from the community.
Career: This section has a different focus than the other page types. Here, your company introduces itself as an employer, presents the current vacancies and offers jobseekers the opportunity to apply. You can also connect your applicant management system here.
Press area: As the name suggests, this page type is aimed at journalists and media who want to report on your company. Here you make press releases, image material and relevant branding assets available to this target group. Usually, users will need to request access to the press area from you. This way, you can ensure that the media is the “first” to report on your news. Independent reporting about your company increases credibility with your target group.
Shopping cart and checkout: These are typical pages that should not be missing in online stores. They give customers an overview of their desired products and guide them through the transaction process.
Who manages the website and what technical skills are available for this? Who is responsible for which areas of the website? Who is involved in the ongoing production of content? How do the approval processes look like? Who needs access to the CMS and technical infrastructure? Do external partners require access? If so, to what extent? Answering these questions will help you implement a technical infrastructure for your new website that is optimally aligned with your technical capabilities and workflows. This is because modern content management systems also offer the possibility of mapping responsibilities and approval processes within the tool. This increases the work productivity of all employees and partners involved.
Design and User Experience
A well-designed website must also be visually convincing on every screen. Navigation and operation must be intuitive for users so that it is fun – or at least does not generate frustration. To achieve this, you need to consider the following points:
Design Development and Prototyping
The aim is to develop an appealing and user-friendly design that optimally represents both the target group and the corporate brand. In addition, initial prototypes should already be created to test the design in practice and identify any weaknesses at an early stage. Close collaboration between your designers, developers, and marketing experts will result in a web presence that meets the needs of users while supporting the company's goals.
Responsive Design and Mobile-First Design
For its search engine, Google prefers websites that are “mobile first”. But more and more users are also accessing websites via mobile devices, especially in their personal lives. Therefore, you need to design your website in a way that it displays optimally on all devices. Mobile-first design means developing the design for mobile devices first before adapting it to larger devices. This is important because mobile devices have smaller screens and different navigation options, unlike desktops. Responsive design ensures that the website displays optimally on all devices and adapts to the screen size.
User Experience (UX) and Usability Testing
The user experience (UX) describes the entire experience a user has on a website, starting with navigation, content, and usability. It is crucial that the website is intuitive and pleasant for the user to use in order to lead the user to the desired action. Usability tests help to uncover weaknesses and potential for improvement – for example in terms of accessibility – to enhance the user experience.
A website without content is like a blank slate. But it is not about publishing just any content. It must fit the points described above under Strategy to achieve the defined goals. The CMS also has to fit to the planned activities in this area.
Choosing the Content Management System (CMS)
When relaunching the website, the choice of the content management system is a central step. On the one hand, the CMS should be easy to use for editors so that they can manage and update content quickly and easily. Ideally, the previously defined responsibilities and approval processes can be mapped in the CMS. In addition, the CMS should offer sufficient scalability and flexibility for the future development of the website. Modern content management systems based on a headless frontend are usually a better choice than outdated frontends and systems such as TYPO3. This is because a good developer experience is just as important for retaining the necessary technical skills for future technical development of the website. Agencies and IT service providers that have been relying on one and the same system for 10 or more years should be viewed critically – massive changes and, above all, improvements have been made during this time in particular, and a CMS at the current state of development offers significant advantages on all levels.
Integrating the CMS and Migrating Existing Content
You don't want to start from scratch with a website relaunch, do you? Therefore, it is essential that you act in a planned manner: Existing content and data from old systems must be inventoried and selected for integration into the new CMS. This is also a good opportunity to avoid migrating obsolete content. In this way, you ensure that the content to be retained is available and usable in the new environment. In addition, third-party systems such as CRM or website analytics systems need to work seamlessly with the CMS to ensure a smooth customer experience and to compare traffic data before and after the migration.
Multilingual and Multisite Websites
If your website is international in scope, reaching audiences in multiple countries and languages, you should develop a multilingual and multisite strategy. This means creating a clear structure for the different language versions of the website and for different locations, so that users can navigate the site easily. A solid multisite strategy also provides the opportunity to customize content and products for specific regions and to run individual marketing campaigns for specific target groups. Therefore, you should choose a CMS that allows you to manage the different websites and language versions.
To do this, consider your target audiences and personas and identify relevant content that meets users' needs and interests. With a content plan, you determine the type, frequency, and responsibilities for adding new content and editing or removing existing content. This planning can also extend beyond website content, for example, by considering your email and social media marketing activities.
Creating and Optimizing Content
This is essentially the operational implementation of the content strategy. You create search engine optimized content in various formats – text, image, and video – that is useful for users and triggers emotions in them. By continuously revising the content based on the previously defined KPIs, you increase visitor interaction and engagement on the website – making it more likely that your goals will be met.
A sleek sports car is just a lame duck without the technology inside it. However, the technology is hidden under the chassis – the outer appearance of the vehicle – and is difficult for non-technical people to grasp. We can also apply this image to a website: only through technical implementation does a web presence come to life. Here, too, you need to pay attention to a few points:
Modern Frontend Approach
Implementing the UX/UI Design
As written before, more and more users are accessing websites via mobile devices, and Google also takes this into account in its website rankings. That's why you create a Responsive and Mobile-First design. Now you need to implement this design in the technical environment. Ideally, your UX designers and web developers have been putting their heads together for this since the beginning of the project.
Optimizing Load Times and Performance
A fast website is crucial for the user experience and visitor engagement, as longer load times can lead to a higher bounce rate. Therefore, you should take various measures to reduce load times, such as caching, optimizing images and other media, using content delivery networks (CDN), and minimizing HTTP requests. These optimizations make the website load faster. In this way, you improve the user experience through a few technical tweaks – and so, ultimately, the conversion rate and the ranking in search engine results can improve.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When you relaunch your website, bring your SEO specialists on board. Because this is how you ensure that your website is still found by search engines such as Google and Bing after the relaunch and is placed prominently in the search results. This includes techniques such as optimizing meta tags, internal links, page structure and loading time, implementing sitemaps and checking mobile optimization. A matching SEO strategy helps to increase the visibility of the website, generate more traffic and ultimately improve the conversion rate.
Support and Further Development
A website is a “living” document. But it is not only the content that needs to be constantly adapted. Since technical standards are subject to constant change, a successful web presence must be constantly adapted to the ever-changing technical conditions.
Technical Support and Maintenance
A professional and reliable support ensures the fastest possible solution of technical problems and the elimination of errors (also called bugs). Regular updates and maintenance ensure that the website is always up-to-date and runs smoothly. Ongoing performance and security monitoring ensures a high user experience and protects against potential security threats. Implementing new features and user experience improvements can also help increase conversion rates and boost visitor engagement. Good support and regular maintenance thus contribute significantly to the long-term success of the website.
Analyzing Web Analytics Data
Web analytics data is a gold mine: Using this data, you can see the performance and success of your website and identify potential for improving user experience, conversion rates, and other business goals impacted by the website. Using tools such as Google Analytics or Piwik PRO, you can capture and analyze user behavior, traffic sources, conversions, and other key metrics, among others. Based on these insights, you can then take targeted action to optimize the website and your marketing activities.
Planning for Future Enhancements and Developments
When you relaunch your website today, be sure you're already thinking about tomorrow. Content formats, new standards, user behavior and user expectations are constantly changing. Therefore, keep an eye on the trends and let them flow into the decision as to which CMS and other technical systems you want to introduce as part of the relaunch. This way, you can later plan and implement new features and enhancements to improve the user experience and increase the conversion rate.
Data Protection and Privacy
A website relaunch is also a good opportunity to bring your website up to date with regard to data protection requirements or to the legal situation that applies to the purpose and target groups of the website.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR requires that all personal data on the website is protected and processed lawfully. However, don't think of it as a burden: If your website demonstrably complies with all applicable and legally binding data protection laws and standards, you also strengthen users' and customers' trust in your company. The GDPR, with its strict interpretation, is a global model for similar data protection laws in other regions of the world. By complying with the GDPR, you are preparing for the event that other data protection laws outside the EU also apply to your website.
Third-party systems and tracking solutions such as Google Analytics (US provider) are often problematic because they process personal data outside the EU or do not inform users transparently enough about what data is collected and how it is used. You can easily avoid many risks by using a privacy-friendly solution that complies with European data protection standards and ensures secure processing of personal data. Piwik PRO as a GDPR-compliant alternative to Google Analytics stores the data on its own servers. This way, the tracking provider ensures higher data security and control, while you are still able to gain insights from your website visitors and their behavior.
Cookies and Consent Management
The to-do list of a website relaunch is long. As you can see, for a website to be trimmed for success, the work begins well before the technical implementation of a new content management system. You need to approach the project strategically and get many internal and external stakeholders from IT, marketing, management and beyond on board from the start. Also, don't think of the above as a list to be worked through chronologically. Many areas are interwoven and need to be worked on simultaneously.
To ensure your relaunch project is a guaranteed success, get an experienced digital agency on board. An agency like Bright IT.