The five hottest questions you need to ask before you start a website redesign project

We’ve identified the factors that shape a bespoke website development project.

Whether you’re looking to refocus how your business operates during the COVID-19 outbreak, you’re at the start of a website project or launching a new business, working with clients to answer these questions is vital to us during our discovery phase and sets clients on the road to success.


1. Do you understand what a CMS can do, and how often will you need to update your website?

A Content Management System (CMS) is an amazing piece of software used to create and manage digital content. Essentially, a CMS makes it a lot easier to manage website content simply and quickly with a little initial training. When your website design is complete, your website developer will use a CMS like WordPress to build your website. After the launch or refresh is complete, you can continue to evolve your website by adding valuable content – whether written, photographic, graphic, audio, animation or video.

How often you need to update your website depends on the type of website you need. A brochure website may need minimal updating. An eCommerce site will need frequent updates to add images and descriptions of new product lines or promote seasonal offers. If your business is based around expertise or thought-leadership, you’ll need to be able to expand your written and video content frequently to provide relevant and valuable advice.

It’s important to consider who will be responsible for keeping your website updated. If you don’t have the resources internally, this is a service your website agency should offer. It’s useful to identify this in the early stages as this will impact elements of the website build, such as whether a layout builder tool is required.

WordPress for Mary Frances Trust

2. Is SEO important to you?

The key is to show up on page one of a website search engine. Why? Because users trust search engines. And 75% of people don’t scroll past the first result page. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is always at the forefront of our website development and website content creation. If it’s essential for your business to be found online, then SEO should be important to you as a technical and marketing tactic that drives users to your website – both in terms of quality and quantity.

A website that’s technically optimised as well as containing relevant content that includes key search terms, will rank more highly organically in Google. Organic search means your target audience finds you without coming to your website through paid advertising, social media and other online platforms. For SMEs it’s critical to understand keywords and create content that helps people find your business. Understanding the search habits of people who have an intention to buy is key.

There are a few instances where SEO isn’t a vital consideration for a website project. Where online searching may not be how your sales journey starts, such as a short-term campaign website for a select audience, or if you simply need a website as a validation tool, it may not be as important. However, for the vast majority of companies, SEO is relevant and vital. And for SMEs, it’s also important to focus on local SEO tactics. If you’d like to know more, it’s worth taking a look at Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

WordPress SEO using Yoast

3. Are you aware of the importance of website speed?

You may not have considered speed when it comes to your new website project. But did you know that website speed can affect your bottom line?

Not only do people move off your website if it’s slow to download, it gives a poor user experience and reflects negatively on your brand. Google has indicated site speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. A one-second delay in page response results in a 7% reduction in conversions, so all businesses should take note. We aim for three to four seconds for a page to load; a recent project we completed for Mary Frances Trust has a load time of 3.46 seconds.

Zalando saw a 0.7% increase in revenue when they shaved just 100ms off their load time and COOK increased conversion rates by 7% after cutting average page load time by 0.85 seconds; bounce rate also fell by 7% and pages per session increased by 10%. The BBC has seen that it loses an additional 10% of users for every additional second it takes for their site to load.

We always look at ways we can ensure website speed is fast, drawing on a bank of tools to make this possible for clients’ websites. The tools we use depend on your type of business and are particularly important if the website holds a lot of data, or is image heavy, which is increasingly the case.

Speed test for Mary Frances Trust WordPress website

4. Do you need a bespoke website build and a layout builder tool?

A bespoke website is one that is designed and built for a specific set of users or purpose. A website built using a purchased theme is an off-the-shelf website design that can be adapted, within certain limits. Designing a bespoke website means developers can take a more strategic approach; addressing core business strategy from the outset, which can help drive enquiries and boost conversions.

All our bespoke websites have the added functionality of our layout builder tool, which enables administrators to expand and improve their website content, while keeping within the brand. Google loves fresh website content and since it’s the most popular search engine, it’s important to implement a regular programme of new content. Search engine web crawlers constantly look for new content and add it to the Google index, so you have a better chance of ranking well. New website content means you have more keywords, which are high on the algorithm chart of indexing and ranking, and also increase your authority.

The layout builder tool used for the CityStore Self Storage and Mary Frances Trust websites mean website administrators can add and amend elements like banners, titles, images of different sizes, testimonials, features, testimonials, quotes, contact us and FAQs. All sections allow control over background colour, layout (left and right position of text and images), text size, SEO H1 to H6 Tags, button labels, colours and links, while still keeping the website on-brand.

5. What web traffic are you generating and is that converting into leads?

When we start a website project, we always look at how much traffic the website is currently getting versus conversions (positive actions taken by website visitors) and generating more leads. It’s all very well getting people to your site, but if they’re not taking action it won’t be benefiting your business growth.

The aim is to maximise conversions; encouraging people to take an action on your website. This could be:

  • An online purchase: the most common conversion, particularly if you’re operating an eCommerce website. This is even more critical at the moment, especially as many bricks and mortar shops are now focusing entirely on online sales.
  • Form submission or sign-up: such as an enquiry or quote request, to be sent a newsletter or to book an event. The conversion is to gather email or mobile phone details for marketing and sales purposes.
  • Click a button: whether it’s to download a guide, brochure, price list, view a portfolio, watch a video or share content, this is a way of expanding reach.
  • Create an account: here businesses can collect vital information about customers, enabling tracking of the customer journey, which can inform marketing.
  • Install an app: supported by the growth in mobile browsing, the conversion of installing an app means you can market to people directly on their phone or tablet.

If your conversions are low, we’d look for reasons preventing this. As a guide, an average conversion rate is between 2% and 5%. It could be that your current site has a poor user experience or user interface. It may be that navigation is poor, it looks busy with too many options, users struggle to find what they want or calls to action aren’t clear. Equally, your customer base may have evolved, but your website and messaging hasn’t, or your photography or copy isn’t persuasive enough for your audiences. Are you showcasing your product or service benefits clearly? Your marketing automation might need tweaking. Your site might not be optimised; if analytics show the majority of your visits are from mobiles, but your mobile experience is poor this will also impact conversions.

When we assess conversion rates, we make sure we emulate well-performing pages across the site.

If you’re at the start of a website project, need to evolve your site or add eCommerce functionality, please get in touch with Arps using the form below…

Discuss your website needs with Arps.

In these testing times, reviewing your digital presence is an absolute must. Get in touch for an informal discussion:


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