Our last webinar, “Content Marketing Trends” conducted on 22.08.2014 saw quite a bit of participation from the audience end. Many interesting questions were asked; we have tried to compile them here for others to benefit as well. If you were unable to attend the webinar, you can access the recording here any time. You can access our past webinars as well.

Content Marketing Webinar

 View the Recording

So, here are the questions as they were, along with our answers to them.

Question 1

What kind of content can one create in travel domain?

In travel domain, there is a lot of opportunity to create engaging content, because you have to sell the experience, and what better way to do it than in the form of visual content (images, videos etc.). For, instance, if you sell travel packages, you can have your tour guide take video clips and photographs during the travels, to share later.

User Generated Content

1. You can even ask the people who bought the package from you to share their experience with you in the form of photographs, videos etc. You can then promote that on your website (and social channels), along with the testimonials of these travellers about their experience in the place, the stay (hotel experience) and everything else.

Before people take a trip, they want to make sure of what kind of experience they can expect at a particular destination, and photographs, and testimonials are a great way to do that. Instagram is great for sharing this kind of content, even though it’s just growing in India – you already have the content (photographs etc.), you just need to promote them on the right channels.

2. If you have some social following, you can even run contests on social media channels, like Facebook and have your followers share photos, and their experiences with your service. Not only is it a great way to get user generated content, but it can be used as social proof as well. Here is an example:

Content marketing Trends - user generated content for travel
Image Credits: www.fenixapps.com
Content marketing trends - User generated Content for Travel Industry
Image Credits: http://www.hoteltrip.com/

You can even create an app that can help people plan their trips. It is not only highly engaging thing, but would also build your credibility in front of potential customers, thereby encouraging them to buy from you.

Question 2

For Corporate Training (video training courses for entrepreneurs), what is the correct strategy to get people on-board? (Our strategy is sending emails through auto-responders containing demo videos, but they are not able to understand this kind of course).

Sending video links in emails is a very good idea for training businesses. However, for any audience to understand and trust your service would take sometime. Entrepreneurs are generally smart guys, and they really need to see value in what you are offering. For that, you have to play on promoting the course in a manner that would most appeal to them – by talking about how it would help them get more ROI on their efforts, more productivity etc.

Get more people to find you

Besides trying to get these guys on-board, your another aim should be to allow more people to find you. You already have these videos, so you should upload them on YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo and other video sharing platforms as well. This would make your content highly discoverable, and sharable. You would therefore be targeting people way more than your emailing list right now, thus broadening your chances at closure.

Content marketing Trends - Video Sharing Channels

Question 3

What kind of content is interesting for real estate sector?

1. Customer Stories and testimonials

Like travel, experience is what you need to sell in real estate as well. So, you can create stories about your real customers and their experience of working with you. It isn’t really interesting, eye-grabbing content, but it would help people make decision about your service, and that is also one of the objectives of content marketing.

2. Help Articles

You can also write content that would help potential buyers make a decision about investing in the real estate sector in general – articles like “How to go about buying a property”. This would not only make you discoverable, but would also provide value to a potential buyer, thus building credibility for you. Even topics like how potential buyers can go about getting loans would be interesting.

3. Property Videos

Question 4

Could you specify some tools for creating non-text content, like infographics etc?

There are multiple tools available online for you to create infographics, like PiktoChart, Easel.ly, etc. One great thing about these tools is that there are hundreds of pre-created templates, and you can modify them according to your requirement. There is another great new tool called Canva that can help you create images (for your social media channels, blog posts etc.) in no time at all.

Question 5

What are the prime points that need to be considered while starting off with content marketing?

i) The very first thing you need to do is understand what are your industry peers doing.

ii) The next point is to find out who your audience is (persona), and where do they hang out (channels). Not everyone is on all digital channels, so you need to identify your ideal content sharing platform.

iii) The third thing would be analyzing what kind of content works best for your audience, this you can once again find by looking around, and after you begin your own content marketing efforts through experience.

Question 6

Is it compulsory to give source or credit when I create content taking reference from someone’s prior work?

It is not compulsory, but very important nonetheless. Not giving credit to a source is not just unethical, but would also be penalized by Google. Google has been really active in the past in trying to find and clean up duplicate content. You don’t want to be hit by Google’s penalty. Besides, someone worked hard to create that content, so it’s only fair that you give them credit.

Question 7

How should we develop the best content marketing material?

1. Talk to your existing customers

The foremost thing would be to look at what interests your customers (or your prospective customers). Talk to your existing customers, and ask them what problems they were trying to address when they opted for your service; chances are that if they faced a problem, others in your audience would also face something similar. Create content around that. Your focus should be to solve a problem.

2. Look at Webmasters to find popular and relevant search queries

Also, look at your Google analytics reports and webmasters reports to find out the search terms that people are using to find you, and if they are relevant, create content around that. That would give you better context.

Website Redesign - Search queries in Webmasters

3. Use Google Trends to find trending topics in your industry

You can even use Google Trends to see the kind of keywords that are trending in your space, and then work around that.

Look at Google Trends to find the best content marketing trends
Use related queries in Google Trends - Content marketing trends

Also, you need to understand that to create the best content, you need thought leadership, which would come by problem-solving approach discussed in point 1.

Question 8

What ideally should be the content marketing approach to attract the decision makers of Indian SMEs and ensure fast sales closure? We are using various assets including whitepapers, blogs and social media.

What you have to realize is that content marketing would first and foremost guarantee that you get found, and that you differentiate yourself from other players in the market. So, you are first making sure that they see you. Fast sales closure is hard to guarantee with anything, however, once they are in the buying process and they know you and are considering you, then setting up auto-responders that have customer testimonials etc. can help them decide in your favour.

What you are doing right now is good to get the attention of people.

Question 9

What would be the minimum ticket for a micro enterprise to invest in content marketing?

To answer this question, you have to understand 2 things:

i) What kind of content would make sense for your target audience,

ii) What are your goals?

For instance, let’s take an example of a website. You can get a template for a few dollars and set the website up in-house, or outsource a complete project to develop your website – what you decide would depend on your goal. Like, are you trying to get 10,00 website visits, or 100,000 per month. The same rule applies to all the content marketing activities you do.

The foremost thing is investing in hiring a capable person who would create the content depending on your goals.

Question 10

What could be the right metrics and methods to measure engagement of the content?

There are many metrics that would help you analyze how engaging your content is.

1. Google Analytics: For starters, you can look at bounce rates and time on site (both pagewise and overall). This would tell you which of your content is most engaging. The following is a custom Content Efficiency Analysis report created by Avinash Kaushik. You can add this report to your Google Analytics through this link. Just remember to be logged in to your Analytics account. As you can see, there are metrics like average time on page, bounce rate, and goal conversion rates here; these are the ones relevant to you for measuring blog/website engagement.

2. Social Stats: Facebook and Twitter have their own insights that you can access to see the kind of content that’s getting most attention. The simplest metrics you can look at are Reach and Engagement (Likes, Comments). You would find them under Insights –> Overview.

Content Marketing trends - Facebook Insights

If you have a blog and you have a social sharing plugin on it, then the plugin can tell you which of your content is more popular on what particular social channels.

Question 11

I have a blog and I am writing content for bank CMOs/other descion makers. Currently the blog is in a budding stage. So I would like to know what kind of content would interest them.

Take a multi-pronged approach, as your target audience (Bank CMOs) are hard to catch attention of. In-person events (conferences etc.) can be one approach, but it certainly would be expensive, and is not really helping them find you in online search. If you haven’t already, you should try to find out what are the typical challenges that bank CMOs face, and create content around that.

You can create a simple tool/app that would be of business interest to them to grab their attention, and make you stand out.

Question 12

What kind of content should go into a invite mailer to bring more CXOs to an event in case of B2B?

You have to consider a few things while sending event invites to CXOs:

1. Do you have their permission: The very first thing is to make sure that you have the permission to email the CXO (don’t send unsolicited emails).

2. Are the emails too long: Keep the email short and to-the-point because CXOs don’t really have a lot of time to read emails.

If your event information is quite a bit, then instead of a long emailer, you should create an email with a few lines, and a link to a page where further information, videos, list of popular speakers, popular attendees etc. is present.

3. Are your subject lines to the point: Subject lines are very important, because these guys would get a lot of junk, so make sure your subject line immediately makes sense to them.

Question 13

Can you give difference between Article & Press release news? Which one will give more advantage for learning/education sector?

A good content marketing strategy would be much more than just 1 article or 1 press release. If you really have some interesting news to share, then press release would be a good option, however, if the news is boring, then it would not really get that much attention. Instead of comparing the 2, you should judge which format would make sense for the content that you are trying to share.

For instance, as you are in education sector, you will have a lot of opportunity to create content in all different sorts of formats – you can create articles, press releases, PDF documents for download (test papers etc.), videos etc. So, do everything, but learn to identify the best format for a particular kind of content.

Question 14

What is recommended keyword density as per Google?

You should not concentrate too much on the keyword density (especially if the keywords look unnatural). Of course, they need to be there, but concentrate on the context instead. Earlier 1-3% used to be recommended, but right now it doesn’t really matter; if the keyword appears 3-4 times naturally in the content, it should be enough. If you use WordPress, you can use Yoast SEO plugin – it would help you optimize your SEO, but once again don’t focus too much on the density.

Question 15

Can I use hashtags in the content? If yes how it can help in traffic?

Hashtags are searchable in the respective social media channels where you use them. So people can search for that and stumble upon your content/posts. Look at an example below. I searched for #marketingtips, and I got a list of related hashtags, and posts tagged with #marketingtips hashtag. This is for Google Plus. It applies for Facebook and Twitter as well.

Content Marketing Trends - Use Hashtags to be found

Question 16

Our target audience are the CXOs. What would you choose to market to them – a Whitepaper or a short Article?

Both are good options, but there is a lot of content out there; you have to put in an extra effort while creating the whitepapers/articles to help you stand out – use your own research, use 3rd party data etc.

You can plan on doing the whitepaper in association with a business or individual who has an authority in that particular domain. If you do that, the chances of it being read and trusted is more. One advantage that whitepaper has over the short article is that you can send across the whitepaper, but article needs to be discovered.

Question 17

In what ratio do you think we can share content – own and curated?

Generally, the most recommended strategy is 4:1:1, which means 4 content pieces of value from other sources, 1 soft promotion (like an offer), and 1 hard promotion (like buy). However, if you are creating original content that provides value, you can change this to include your content pieces in the 4 bracket as well. Just that you should not be flooding people with updates all the time. you would be able to figure out the best frequency by trial and error.

Question 18

Does repeating the same content on website & mini-sites helps in content marketing?

No, it is not really a good practice to duplicate content. You could even be penalized by Google for that. If you want to repurpose content, do it in different forms, for instance you have  a blog, you can convert it into a PPT, a PDF etc. and share it on relevant sites like SlideShare, Scribd etc, but never same content on different sites.

Question 19

If I update my website, is there a value in spun content?

You should generally avoid using content spinners, because they do not really provide very human results, and if you are copying content from elsewhere and spinning it, it’s unethical as well. You should look at manual spinning if you have an in-house team, or some time on hand. However, if you choose to use an automatic content spinner, then you should definitely use a human editor. We did a blog post also on the topic, You can read it here.

Question 20

What is the connection between content marketing and digital marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses everything that you do on the web. This means your website, your social presence, your blogs, etc. If you are creating a lot of good content in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos etc. (whatever is relevant for your business), you would be able to drive organic traffic as well as social traffic to your website/blog. Then, aided by good offers and CTAs on your website, you can capture more qualified leads. This is the basic goal of your any kind of digital marketing campaign.

Question 21

For education what could be the ideal content..testimonials ??

For education there is a variety of content and channels you can use. You can use the videos etc. that you create for training and upload them on YouTube, you can create mock test papers, news and updates about the exam/sector you are trying to pitch to.

Testimonials are just a part of the whole thing; and yes they can be very helpful in building credibility, and in encouraging people to buy your course. But you need to create actual content that people are looking for as well.

So, these were most of the questions that came in during the webinar “Content Marketing Trends”, along with their answers. If you have any question to ask, or anything to add, please leave a comment.

So, after the Facebook’s newsfeed filtering algorithm that caused organic reach to drop for brands, Facebook is up and flexing its muscles yet again. The change is a small one this time though. If you haven’t heard about it yet, it is this: [Tweet “No hiding content and contests behind “Like Gates” anymore is Facebook’s newest verdict!”]

Facebook ready to make more changes

What does this mean?

This means that fan-gating as a mechanism to collect more page-likes is dead. So, as of 5th November, 2014, all the active Facebook like gates would be disabled; you already cannot create new fan-gates any more (since the announcement – 7th August).

Why does it matter for marketers?

Everyone running social media campaigns has at some point used Facebook like gates to increase their number of likes in exchange for some content, or a chance to win something. This is what you would not be able to do anymore. This is how a fan-gate typically looked:

Facebook Like Gate

So, the fan view and non-fan view of the contest page were different. Non-fans had to “Like” the page to pass through the gate.

Do you see the problem there?

1. No quality filter for likes

To enter the contest, people liked a page, who might actually be irrelevant likes for the business if they were not really interested in the actual product/service. So, you are accumulating likes, without any quality filter. Of course, you would get relevant likes, but junk likes would make a high percentage as well. Consider these stats:

42% of Fans like a Page in order to get a coupon or discount

35% Like a Page in order to participate in contests (according to ShortStack’s research report from late last year)

That means quite a few “pseudo” likers would follow you, enter the contest, and never interact with your content again, or worse, unlike you after the contest. Yup, that’s right, wham bam thank you ma’am! Sucks, but that’s what it is.

2. Facebook’s ad targeting suffers because of false signals

Given the fact that Facebook’s advertising (therefore, revenue) depends on things like “Interest Targeting”, the like-gating business was bound to get shut down somewhere down the line.

Consider this: a user liked your page to get freebies, but is essentially not interested in your product. Now, some other advertiser ‘B’ wants to target users based on keywords similar to your business. So, the user that liked your page only for the purpose of getting the freebies would also see advertiser B’s ad. This disrupts good user experience, and wastes advertisers’ money as well. So, basically, these false signals are eating up your own advertising money.

3. Compromise with good user experience

After liking your page, the user might see your organic posts also (very slim chance though, because of the algorithm update), which once again disrupts good user experience, as they don’t really want to see posts from you.


 

True, marketers have been using Facebook Like Gates in highly relevant ways as well, for instance, a musician gating new videos behind a fan gate. In this case, the user would like the page only if he/she is interested in the band, or at least in that genre of music.

But, even though this like-gathering technique is gone, this really is not such a big deal!

Do you remember the hue and cry that ensued after Facebook eliminated custom landing pages early in 2013, when timelines were launched?

That..was kind of a big deal.

Why? Because, brands could custom land first-time visitors on whatever kind of tab they wanted. These likers were more or less relevant, as they searched for you and landed on this page. If you don’t remember what I am talking about (which is highly unlikely if you have been marketing for more than a year on Facebook), check out this RedBull landing page that was quite a popular example of a good landing page, because of the use of awesome directional cues.

So, if marketers got over that, they can definitely get over this as well.

This time marketers seem far less distraught; in fact, most of the reactions that I have seen are of indifference, which is a very good thing.

But, there still are people who are outraged – to them I would say, stop swearing by likes (especially the ones that might not even be relevant to you.) I have discussed a couple of tips at the bottom of the post, if you still want your contest entrants to like your page.

Why Facebook’s Move Makes Sense?

There has been a huge outcry about the organic drop of Facebook posts since late last year. The reactions that time also ranged from marketers choosing to invest more in ads, to this brilliant break-up letter written to Facebook, before Eat24 closed its Facebook account in protest.

While I understand the brands’ agony, because they did spend countless hours building an organic following, which has suffered due to the changes, but as I have said before, it was inevitable.

The point was and still is the same – mellowing down the noise.

Consider this:

1. There are more than 50 million pages on Facebook, which includes more than 25 million small business pages.

2. An average Facebook user has 350 friends, and more than 40 pages that they like (this stat is from 2013).

Facebook like gate demise reasons: Average number of Facebook friends of U.S. users in 2014, by age group | Statista

 

Facebook like gate demise reasons - average page likes It would suffice to say that the Facebook population (of both pages and people) has hit a point where there just isn’t enough surface area for every brand to survive organically (not on all their likers’ timelines anyway). On an average, when a user logs in to Facebook, they would see 1500 posts; this gets narrowed down by Facebook’s algorithm depending on the kind of content the user likes to interact with.

The big challenge for Facebook

The challenge before Facebook is to ensure that everything that the user sees is something that they want to see. This would ensure that they stick around on Facebook.

Therefore, instead of a chronological order of all the posts by the user’s friends and liked pages (that would be crazy), Facebook picks and displays notifications similar to the ones the user has interacted with in the past. This, in addition to the paid posts (ads), which once again should be relevant based on the person’s likes, dislikes, past interactions and friends’ recommendations.

This is quite a challenge; therefore, Facebook takes feedback from users to find what exactly is it that they want to see on their newsfeed.

Feedback_of_facebook

 

Now, to this challenge, add the fact that Facebook’s algorithm has already been affected quite a bit in the past by the use of Facebook like gates, where people are asked to enter a contest to say “Win a Book” in exchange for a like. Consider these stats yet again:

42% of Fans like a Page in order to get a coupon or discount

35% Like a Page in order to participate in contests (according to ShortStack’s research report from late last year)

Of these 35%, there would be many people who wouldn’t have liked the page at all, if there was no Facebook like gate.

This means that whether or not a person likes what you are selling, they would follow you to have a chance to win the book that they want. This skews the algorithm that assumes that the user likes the page for real. This messes up the entire Facebook experience for the user, which is what Facebook is trying to avoid.

What this move doesn’t mean?

The contests are gone: No, you can still run contests on Facebook using 3rd party apps. You just can’t ask people to like your page to enter them.

Facebook ContestWhy this isn’t a complete tragedy?

I know that Facebook like gates can be very useful, especially in cases where the gated content is also very relevant to your brand, so that only the people who want access to that kind of content would see it. But, it’s not a perfect world, and many advertisers have unknowingly used this brilliant mechanism to get relevant likes to just gather random ones while running contests.

So, Facebook isn’t really “completely” the bad guy; it’s just trying to clean up the mess.

Advantage: You won’t be deceived by inaccurate numbers

People that like your page just to access something not relevant to your brand, would generally never interact with your brand otherwise. And, you do not want your stats skewed by this.

Just accept the fact that this way of gathering likes is gone, but also be happy that you will have much less “junk” likes on your page.

People still stuck on the “number of likes” as opposed to the relevance of these likes may want to change their strategy.

What can you do instead?

1. Collect leads: Use form tabs to just collect the email IDs of the people entering the contest. By this, you are already getting something so much more valuable than a like.

2. Run a custom audience campaign to get likes: If, getting these people’s likes is so-so important to you, you can even run a custom-audience campaign to get these people to like your page, now that you have their email IDs. Again, this would cost you money.

3. Don’t force, just ask: Don’t gate the content; instead, if you are running a quiz, just ask people to “Like your page for updates”. So, Liking is not really a condition here; it’s an option. That is okay.

4. Use Contests for other awesome things, like getting social proof: You can still run contests for numerous other things. Many businesses do it to get user-generated content as well, as that is generally quite popular with fans. For instance, have a form that has an additional field, like a text field, and in exchange for entering your contest, they can share “Why do they like your product” or “How has their experience been in using the product.” This would get responses from real fans, and you would get social proof (credibility element) to use elsewhere as well.

And, lastly, don’t really bother about these likes, as they were a by-product of whatever else you were trying to do anyway (capture leads, get fan interaction).

So, there it is. Were you using Facebook Like Gates as well? What’s gonna be your next move?

Suddenly, website redesign seems to be the de rigueur of 2014. It’s a good thing really; people realizing the importance of adopting newer, more customer-centric website design. We know this, because many of our clients are in the process of website redesign right now, and, get this, they understand that website redesign is much more than just aesthetics now – here’s your voila moment for today, marketers!

If you are also considering a website redesign, here are a few things that you must keep in mind while you go ahead with your plan.

But first, have you mapped your reason for the redesign?

I am sure your reasons for redesign have been laid down straight, before you plunge into the act. This is very important because your website redesign strategy would depend on your motive, and you would be able to give your designers a much better goal statement for what you expect from the redesign.

Following are the most common goals of website redesign

a) A newer look for the website – especially when competitors change their website
b) Aligning the website with changing brand image
c) Improve the usability/user-friendliness of the site
d) Improvement in search rankings
e) Improving website conversions
f) To make the website responsive

So, probably you also fall under one, more or all of these categories. But, you must remember is that doing a redesign just for the sake of a redesign, your competitor’s website change, or just aesthetics is not an ideal thing to do. There are multiple things to consider, besides cost and the actual design. You should look at your website’s existing statistics, and then plan out your redesign accordingly.

And while you are at it, consider these small things as well to actually see better website metrics post-redesign

1) Is your site too slow?

Many times good user experience take a blow right at the moment a visitor lands on your website. 

How many times have you abandoned a website that took even 1 microsecond extra than your patience permits? Apparently, the patience limit of most people browsing the web is not more than 2 seconds.

Page Load Speed and Bounce rates

So, while you are out there redesigning, take sometime to find and fix your website’s speed issues. Here are a few things that would help:

a) Analyze your website’s load speed

Make use of Google’s Page Speed tools to find what your website’s loading time is, and what are the elements increasing the loading time on each page. Next – fix the problem elements while doing the redesign.

Here’s an example of how that would look:

Website Redesign - Check your site speed using Google Page Speed Tools

As you can see in the image above, Google shows not only the problem areas but ways to fix them as well (both for mobile and desktop). Also, it shows what you are doing right. You can use Pingdom for the same purpose as well.

b) Choose an appropriate hosting plan

If you have opted for a low cost hosting plan, chances are that you would see mediocrity in response time as well, which means low website speed. So, choose a plan while thinking of the number of visitors you expect to see on the website, and if you are anticipating an increase in visitors, make a choice accordingly.

c) Reduce the number of external resources required to fetch data

When your website loads, the browser has to look for the IP Address corresponding to your domain name. Now, if you have quite a bit of external website data on your home page (like YouTube videos, etc.), it would have to look up the corresponding IP Addresses for that domain as well. So, try to minimize the use of external resources to display content on your website.

d) Reduce the number of redirects

Redirection is a very important exercise, especially if your domain name has changed or is going to change (which might be possible during a complete website overhaul), but if you have redirects over redirects, i.e. redirecting to links that further redirect elsewhere, your page speed is going to suffer.

e) Reduce the image size

Try not to use external urls for images, and use tools like SmushIt to reduce the image size. This would improve your page load time.

Use tools like BrokenLinkChecker and W3C’s LinkChecker to periodically monitor your website for broken links.

There are many other things you can do to optimize your website for a better load time, but this would give you something to start with.

2) Is Your Navigation Structure Confusing People?

A navigation structure with too many levels (drop-downs), or too many elements on the first level can be really confusing to the visitors, unless you are an e-commerce site. So, now that you are doing the website redesign, look at your navigation structure as well. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Your navigation labels must not be generic

Instead they should be descriptive of what you do.

2. Avoid too many navigation items

Emphasizing Everything = Emphasizing Nothing.

This holds true for everything on your website, including the navigation. If you have too many navigation items, it would just confuse people. Instead, check the navigation items getting clicked the most – you can use a tool like CrazyEgg to find this. While you are working out your new website navigation structure, try to retain the most popular navigation elements. Also, make a call, and keep only the most important pages as top-level navigation items.

See, if anything in the navigation is redundant, and to do away with it in the redesign. Instead, place them in the footer or some other secondary navigation.

3. The First and Last Effect

Place the most important items either in the beginning, or towards the end.

4. Don’t use images in navigation

Instead of using button images, use simple text and links. There are many reasons why this is the best thing to do. Button Images would take more time to load, thus increasing page load time. Also, text is more SEO friendly than images.

Here’s an example of a pretty neat navigation structure. Creative portfolio and self-promotion website for visual artists, Behance won 2014’s Webbys Award for best navigation structure, and here’s what they have:

Website redesign - check your navigation - webbys best navigation winner

1. As you can see, the primary navigation is pretty straightforward, with only 3 items – Discover, Jobs and Hiring Talent

2. The secondary navigation has mega-dropdowns, because of course there are a lot of relevant categories under it.

The best part of the navigation is clarity and simplicity. Of course, coming from Adobe’s family, it is a good looker as well.

What is important for you as a navigation item would depend on what kind of a business you are. If, for example, you are an online training provider, your Courses would form a much important navigation item than your About Us section. However, if you are a SAAS company, then your Product and Pricing pages might be the most important ones.

3) Are your Conversion Paths Optimized?

Improving website conversions is one of the goals common to almost everyone redesigning their websites, and optimizing your conversion elements, i.e. CTAs, Web Forms, Landing Pages, Resources section etc. would help you achieve this. 

Review your conversion paths

The first step to self-improvement is identifying the problem. To identify your conversion problem areas:

a) Review your existing conversion paths,

b) Find the problem points, and

c) Map out more logical conversion paths.

i) Analyze the CTAs

Use Analytics to look closely at the pages where most drop-offs are happening, pages with the best/worst Goal Conversion Rates (you should have Goals defined in this case – E-Books Downloads, Product Price Inquiry form fill etc.). Now analyze these pages – use CrazyEgg once again. See whether the people are actually clicking on your CTAs. If not, what can be the probable reason:

i) Maybe, the CTAs are not perfectly aligned with the content.

ii) Maybe you have a bottom-of-the-funnel offer on a page attracting top-of-the-funnel traffic.

iii) Maybe the CTA doesn’t stand out amidst the clutter.

ii) Analyze your Forms

Now analyze your Forms – are they working as they should. If it’s a document download form, are the downloads happening properly etc.

iii) Analyze your landing pages

a) Make sure that CTAs don’t point to broken links

b) Look at your landing page conversion rates

c) Make sure the landing page is perfectly aligned with your CTA – in terms of offer, headline etc.

d) Make sure the landing page form is working properly

e) Check the Landing Page for the different elements of the HABITS framework.

Having reviewed your content, CTAs, forms and landing pages, if the conversion path is not logical, or is broken, map out the changes to be made.

For your reference, here are a few good conversion elements you can use on your website:

a) Your blog sidebars, and topbars.

Website Redesign Things to Consider - Conversion elements

b) Live chat windows on the website

Website Redesign - Live Chat on Site

c) Pop-ups – Even though they might seem disruptive, they can improve your conversion rates by a pretty large margin.

4. Are you Prepared to tackle SEO backfire?

A common website redesign goal is SEO; however, many times, the redesign affects SEO adversely. You have to be smart to take measures against this. You might be planning to add a blog, and your action plan may be moving to a CMS with built-in SEO capabilities, and easy to manage interface. You need to identify the problem elements in your overall SEO structure.

Ask yourself these questions:

i) Is my sitemap proper – what changes would occur after redesign

ii) Is my URL structure going to change?

iii) Does my content read natural – is it optimized for humans?

iv) Does my content have natural placements of important contextual keywords?

iv) Other elements like site speed, navigation also need to be questioned here again.

Now, do this:

a) Note down your rankings for post-redesign reference

From Webmasters reports find out which keywords are getting traffic to your site.

Website Redesign - Search queries in Webmasters

Now, use a tool like Rank Tracker, or SEO rank Reporter (if you are on WordPress) to find out what are your rankings for these particular keywords. This would help you find any drop in rankings later on.

b) Prepare to set up 301 Redirects

Are you changing the domain name, or the URL structure? Either way, you need to set up 301 redirects. If you simply delete the old URLs:

i) You are throwing away the SEO authority you have built on those pages over time.

ii) In addition, if your deleted pages rank somewhere on the web, your visitors coming through there would land on 404 error pages, thus disrupting good user experience. Not only would this bother the users, but search engines as well, that would notice the repeated drop offs from those pages.

If you have a WordPress website, then you can do this using a plugin as well, otherwise you would do it manually in your .htaccess file.

c) Notify Google of “Change in Address” if domain name changes

If your complete domain name changes, you should tell Google about this through your Webmasters, using “Change in address tool”.

Website Redesign - Change of Address Tool
d) Decide your sub-domain structure, if you are a multi-location business

If you want to assert your presence in all the states or countries where you are located, website redesign is a good opportunity to decide how you want your sub-domains to be.

i) You could choose ‘xyz.com/state’ structure, or ‘state.xyz.com’.

ii) In case of an international presence, if you have the money to claim the different domains, like xyz.in, xyz.nz etc. you can do that, or simply go for country.xyz.com structure.

iii) Even if your business is within one country, and you choose sub-domains within  the same domain, you should use schema.org markup in all the location pages with relevant location details, and link all the different Google Plus Local pages. This would help you rank in the respective locations, for the relevant keywords. Read this post for more insights on the topic.

e) Resubmit your website through Webmasters

Resubmit your website through webmaster tools after you launch, and submit a new sitemap as well. You can create a new sitemap.xml file using your CMS plugins or manually.

Following these simple points would help you consider few very important aspects of website redesign. So, are you redesigning your website? What are your reasons?

How much do you know about your competitors? Are they ahead of you in the game, what is it that’s keeping them ahead? Have you ever made an effort to monitor their lead generation strategies – (what keywords are they bidding on, etc)? If not, let me tell you that all your smart competitors are watching you. So, if you aren’t watching them too, you are at a definite disadvantage. Watch the webinar recording on  ‘5 Spying Strategies to Stay Ahead of Competition’, and learn how you can access and use competitive intelligence to your advantage.

5 Spying Strategies to Stay Ahead of Competition

View the Recording