Let’s take it back a step and first look at why you made those changes in the first place…

Most changes made to an established website are iterative, they’re ideal for businesses that want to remain agile. We advise hundreds of clients a year to make small changes to their website in the most important places.

It’s less risky and easier to fix, costing less time, money and tears (the three crucial building blocks of business.)

But sometimes a website needs a complete overhaul. Whether it’s changing the navigation framework, upgrading the ecommerce platform or revamping the site’s look and feel, or all three!

Whether you’re making design changes or functionality changes it’ll be more like flicking a switch than turning a dial, its effect is sudden and distinct.

A website relaunch is very successful at losing repeat customers. Nothing like changing the wallpaper to make somewhere feel less like home, eh? But they are a necessary step in growing a business and must be done right.

So how do you measure the success of your relaunch?

When measuring conversion rates you’re only taking on board 3-5% of your customers as a source of information. What about the other 95-97% that didn’t pay for anything? Why? What’s going on there?

Dynamic attitudinal analytics on your first time visitors is the way. First time visitors are a reliable constant, rolling in like a fresh wind to lift the sails, so you can use them to compare to how you were doing before.

Making the most of this measurable constant, and a decent methodology, it becomes easy to quick-fix the stuff that you’ve overlooked. Since actively listening to the people who don’t give you money will help you understand what will make them give you money. Or, if they plan to use you in a way you didn’t think they would.

How do I know if I’m making the right choices?

Option one is to ask a fortune teller. Option two is to ask your customers. By finding out exactly what they want from your website it takes out the guess-work and gives you a reliable answer.

Our data has advised different sites to focus on navigation, look and feel, security and product descriptions when looking at website re-launches. No two websites are ever the same, so it’s vital for a business to grow faster than its competitors by understanding the most important areas for change.

However, there are a few key areas which seem to be a constant:

Two different companies from the same industry saw a drop in customer satisfaction after their websites relaunched. Despite the fact they had only made design changes – nothing functional – customer satisfaction took three to six months to recover (before surpassing previous scores).

This is a trend we see where it takes visitors a long time to adjust when faced with a new website.

Adopting a one-size-fits-all policy across the website doesn’t work either. With one client it became clear the way people used the navigation menu to browse for a new kitchen was very different from the way they browsed for a single piece of furniture.

But the site didn’t account for this, making the process far more cumbersome than the customers were expecting, leading to all sorts of problems.

What if it all goes wrong?

You fix it! Fix the right things, the things that matter to the customer. Prioritise the biggest issue by making sure you understand what the customer expects and where it’s going wrong. 

  1. When handling a digital re-launch its vital to know the most important areas you should improve. You won’t get it perfect with just an educated guess.
  2. Measure the experience and continue making iterative changes in the right place. Listen to what your customers want and measure first-time visitor satisfaction.
  3. Be patient as you let those changes take effect, confident you have made the right choices in the first place. With a reliable analysis of your customers you’ll hopefully see your new site soar.

With thanks to Chris Stroud at Foresee Results Ltd.