Things to consider when re-designing or replatforming your website

As the internet continues to grow at a rapid rate, considering if your website is up to date and flexible enough to cope with growth and technological innovations has become a clear deliberation for business owners everywhere.

Forbes has stated that the inability to acquire market share from larger companies no longer applies. Innovative ideas, superior products and a unique selling point can often build fast mounting market share. However, with the internet progressing faster than anyone expected, the key is to grow your website alongside it.

An outdated website design along with redundant and antique features will quickly bore customers and begin to negatively affect your sales. The ideal strategy is to keep up with blue chip trends and to frequently update your websites capabilities. After all, your website should be your best performing salesperson and the salary, bonus and expenses you invest in sales personnel why would this not be invested annually in your website?
However, it is understandable that not all businesses can offer the biggest and best facilities; therefore many businesses are taking the plunge into choosing to either redesign or replatform their website.

Replatforming involves launching a new website through a new or varied platform, usually accompanied by a re-design that provides the opportunity to evolve your branding and refresh your website presence. In the rapidly growing world of ecommerce, many businesses are undertaking website changes every 12-18 months or even on a more regular basis. Furthermore, statistics have shown that 68% of marketers have already undertaken a website redesign in at least the last 12 months.

For businesses experiencing rapid growth, often a re-design is not enough to cope with a growing customer base. Consequently, replatforming their site may become a necessary option in order to increase site speed, offer the opportunity to automate your website with your business processes and offer integration across multiple sales channels. A new platform should offer better usability through enhanced features, making your customers life easier when ordering online.

Businesses undertaking a redesign or replatforming of their online business can achieve significant growth in performance metrics. A study by Forrester Research in 2012 found conversion rates to improve by 20%, order sizes to rise by 19% and a reduction in overall marketing costs of 7%, all from companies choosing to opt for a better equipped platform. These statistics being coupled with improved site performance, retention of customer interest and increased multichannel interactions, makes it even harder to deny the importance of selecting the platform best suited for today’s consumer market.

However, these improved performance metrics require don’t come overnight. Changes like this require careful, intelligent consideration and marketing effort. What many business owners must be understand is, a re-design and/or a replatform of their site may result in an initial drop in performance for the first three to six months. With the sufficient capital and effort invested into evolving your brand and business online, this might come as quite a shock, but there are ways to overcome this and it’s all to do with your customers.

Generally speaking, your customers will not welcome change. Understanding how your new website works may look like unnecessary hassle to a busy customer. If you don’t make an effort to market to them the changes made in your online business, the implications for them and put in place the tools to help educate your customers about the changes, business’s may experience an initial drop in conversion rates. Bringing your customer along with you will go a long way to minimising an initial decline in performance when your new website goes live.

Similarly, business owners who make design decisions without gaining insights from their customers and do not evolve their branding in a measured and careful way may end up alienating their existing customer base, resulting in a negative impact on web sales.

Other issues which need to be considered is the time taken on replatforming could have implications on your short term sales and the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your existing website could be compromised. Fortunately, the best way to tackle this is to outsource your redesign or replatforming to professionals who understand the complications, will maintain link equity (the quality of the website structure) and will accurately redirect your old content to the new.

The Digital Ministry have highlighted that even after your replatform move, it is always advised to expect lowering of position on search engines. After all, your websites platform presents an alteration to the search engines, so the process of ranking your new site can take a few months to do. The best course of action is to continue as normal, invest in your SEO and if after a few months results are still not proving themselves, begin to evaluate where the new site is incurring issues.

Digital marketing blog Econsultancy state that although there could be potential issues you confront during your move, as long as you outsource the move to the right company, results should exceed costs, thus securing the long term success of your business.

Research by OSF Global Services has found 80% of mid-sized businesses have identified the development and growth of their ecommerce as critical to their overall business. Consequently, if you feel your website could be improved, why not consider changing your ecommerce platform to benefit from improved features, the ability to scale as your business grows, fully integrated online presence in order to secure a successful online future.

References

Staveley, B. (2012). What is replatforming and why is it important. Available: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7910-what-is-replatforming-and-why-is-it-important. Last accessed 9/1/2013.

Rodenborg, R. (2013). E-commerce statistics that will shock you. Available: http://www.info.insitesoft.com/Insite-Software-Blog/bid/93757/e-commerce-statistics-that-will-shock-you?source=Blog_Email_[E-Commerce%20Statistic]. Last accessed 9/1/2013.

Jenkins, M. (2012). Maintain SEO value while replatforming your website. Available: http://digitalministry.com/AU/articles/1715/Maintain+SEO+value+while+replatforming+your+website/1. Last accessed 9/1/2013.

Moehring, K. (2009). 13 Website Migration Steps to Keep Your Rankings. Available: http://www.pr2020.com/page/13-website-migration-steps-to-keep-your-rankings. Last accessed 9/1/2013.

Hubspot. (2012). Science of website redesign. Available: http://www.hubspot.com/Portals/53/docs/ebooks/science_of_website_redesign_presentation.pdf. Last accessed 11/01/2013.

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