When I built my first real website back in 2011, the only thing I was focused on was making it look pretty.
It had to be the perfect color, with the perfect layout, with the best nav bar… and I would spend HOURS tweaking here and adding there.
My first website was not pretty.
But when I joined the team at Entrepreneurs On Fire in 2013, I really wasn’t too focused on how our website looked. I was busy learning about entrepreneurship, getting to know our audience, and navigating how I could add value to the business and to our audience.
But over time, as our brand grew and evolved – and as I grew and evolved – our website design became more of a focus.
I started to feel like everyone around us was coming out with these great looking websites. Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, James Clear, Ramit Sethi…
But by this time, it wasn’t just about our website looking pretty anymore.
I mean sure, that’s important, sure, but with all the marketing strategies I had learned, and with all the projects I had been involved in that were directly tied to our business goals, I started realizing our website holds so much more power than just being a pretty thing people visit to learn more about us, our brand, and what we have to offer.
I finally made the connection between a website looking good, a website providing a positive user experience, and a website delivering results.
Why a homepage redesign
We’ve done some pretty massive overhauls with our website over the years.
What started out like this in 2012:
Evolved into this by 2015:
And today, in 2018, it looks like this:
There were several iterations in between each of these, and we’ve worked with several different designers to help us get to each new stage.
Again, in the beginning, it was mostly about the look and trying to figure out what our brand was actually becoming.
Once we knew our brand, we shifted focus to the experience a user has when they visit our website and the results our website could help us acheive, which is what prompted our most recent homepage redesign.
How to figure out what needs to change
Tweaking things on your website is a tricky little game.
Figuring out what needs to change is sometimes the most challenging part.
Not only does it take a lot of testing, but with that, it takes a lot of time. Therefore, patience is definitely required.
Always remember: if you’re making small tweaks – regardless of what page it is on your website – they should be made ONE at a time and always have a measurement tied to them.
One way of doing this is using an a/b test, which is when you put two similar pages up against each other (with one difference) and let the metrics guide you.
For example, you might do an a/b test with a webinar optin page, with version a giving simple bullet points of what the webinar will deliver, and version b giving just a 1-line description of what the webinar will deliver.
After one week, which page had a better conversion rate – the one with the bullet points, or the one with the 1-line description?
You could go on testing like this with many things:
- Your button color
- Your Call To Action
- The image
- The headline
Again, the important thing to remember when testing the small stuff is to do it ONE thing at a time.
So what happens when you’re looking to do a complete overhaul, not just small tweaks?
Well, this still takes a lot of time, and testing (or doing some type of research) is definitely a part of it.
Here are some questions we asked ourselves before redesigning our homepage:
- What do we want someone to do when they land on our website?
- What’s the journey we want to take our website visitors on from the second they land on our site?
- What is our ideal visitor looking for when they land on our website?
- How can we provide the best user experience every time someone lands on our website?
- What would a successful homepage redesign ‘look like’ for us metrics-wise?
These are not easy questions to answer.
In fact, the answers to many of these questions only come with months and months of research, surveys, tracking, reviewing data analytics, and of course, knowing your business and avatar.
To give you a behind-the-scenes looks at our most recent homepage redesign, let’s break apart each of the questions above and match up the answers to what you see on our redesigned homepage.
Looking at our homepage redesign
When you visit someone’s website, unless you’re a designer, a user experience expert, or an online marketer, chances are you don’t immediately start to think about why certain things are in certain places, or what the purpose of how it looks is.
You simply think about how it looks and whether or not you’re able to find what it is you’re looking for fast enough before x’ing out.
But as an entrepreneur, your website – your home base – is such an important part of your foundation, and so when it comes to your own site, you should be thinking about much more than just whether it looks good.
Because I’m sure you’ll agree: when you visit a website, all you want is to find what you’re looking for quickly.
That’s how every user who visits your website feels, too.
But there’s also a certain amount of guidance you want to give your visitor. You definitely want to make sure they find exactly what they’re looking for, but you can actually do this while simultaneously taking them on the journey you want them to go on.
The importance of this is your website serves as an entryway into your business.
It’s tough getting someone to your site, but it’s even tougher getting them to take the steps you want them to once they’re there.
That step might be joining your email list, consuming your content and then signing up for a webinar to learn more, or even investing in one of your products or services.
We’re ensuring that happens through our most recent homepage redesign, and here’s a look at how.
Question: What do we want someone to do when they land on our website?
When someone lands on our website, we want them to sign up for our free course: Your Big Idea.
Question: What’s the journey we want to take our website visitors on from the second they land on our site?
The journey begins with being introduced to our brand through the look and feel of our site.
If they’re familiar with Entrepreneurs On Fire, then they already have a good feel for this.
If they aren’t familiar with Entrepreneurs On Fire, then we want them to feel like they’re in the right place to take their next step on their entrepreneurial journey.
After seeing JLD’s familiar and friendly face (know), feeling confident in the content and guidance he has to offer through his credibility (trust), and liking the fact that we’re offering them a completely free course to help them with the most important step on their entrepreneurial journey (like), they’ll be super excited to dive into the training.
Question: What is our ideal visitor looking for when they land on our website?
Guidance. He/she is looking for a resource that can help them feel confident about the next step on their journey. Looking back on our journey, we know it all started with going all-in on one BIG IDEA. That was the one domino we pushed over in order to build the business we have today.
Through Your Big Idea, we’ll guide our visitor every step of the way: from discovering their big idea, all the way to turning that big idea into real revenue.
Question: How can we provide the best user experience every time someone lands on our website?
Make sure they’re able to find what they want when they visit, which is why the search function is an important one.
We also want to make sure they don’t feel overwhelmed by their visit. We’ve purposefully hidden the nav bar until someone starts scrolling and taken away the sidebar completely in order to help keep the focus on the one thing we want them to do, in addition to preventing them from feeling like there are way too many things to do (and therefore leaving the site).
Question: What would a successful homepage redesign ‘look like’ for us metrics-wise?
Increased conversions into Your Big Idea.
Our goal with our homepage redesign encompasses everything I’ve talked about above, but when it comes down to the numbers, our goal is to get more people into our free course, Your Big Idea. If we can do that, then the homepage redesign will be considered a success.
Is it time for a website redesign?
You probably are very familiar with the feeling: a new project or opportunity comes along – or you see that someone else has implemented something with great success – and you immediately wonder “should I be doing this in my business, too?”
Most of the time, the answer is NO.
Because most of the time whatever new project or opportunity you’re considering is only being considered because it’s been presented to you.
The best projects or opportunities you’ll ever have in your business are ones you’ve created because they’re directly tied to YOU accomplishing YOUR biggest goals. NOT ones that randomly come along and you feel you should dive into because someone else just did and saw big results.
Project and opportunities will always be there, but your time, bandwidth, resources, and focus are finite. You simply can’t do everything.
Remember: sometimes saying no is a good thing. FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Success.