Your website is an evolution, not a revolution: Part 1
By Rob Jarvis | 4th April 2017
In my last blog, I explained how success starts with an innovation-first culture, but when we talk about innovation, it doesn't have to be game-changing. Innovations can be small improvements, enhancements and iterations, not just the big show-stopping initiatives.
You can innovate with your content, changing your tone and creating new perceptions. This is innovation. It can be the way you structure you site, avoiding pre-defined structures and flows, moving towards something different, more streamlined or daring. This is innovation. It could be removing all the overtly salesy messages and creating purely insightful content to build trust and credence without actively being lead driven. This is innovation.
But rather than trying to gain insight from sticking your fingers in the air, or reading the tea leaves left in your cup after a good brew, as brands we must gain real insight based on fact and feeling combined.
"Data tells us that a tomato is a fruit but it is insight which tells us not to put a tomato in a fruit salad"
So when it come to your website, what should you analyse? A good starting point for the basis of gathering the right data for insights would be:
There are a plethora of tools that can help you with this, but I'd recommend getting your hands on:
Remember - these tools help present us with data allowing us to visualise and interrogate it. As humans, strategists and marketers, it is our job to turn them into meaningful insights that drive change. This data is only as insightful as a person's ability to analyse it and understanding it. I always proudly (and annoyingly) say to clients and colleagues that "data tells us that a tomato is a fruit but it is insight which tells us not to put a tomato in a fruit salad." People tend to scoff at my repurposed analogy about knowledge and wisdom, but the message is indeed true. Data will help provide the facts, but we need to interprut those facts to provide reason to enhance experience.
Strategic analysis and insight allows you to enhance your site by:
This analysis, insight and enhancement process isn't just a one off. The way that you can really maximise your returns and continuously improve your website is to undertake this as an ongoing process. I like to call this the Innovation Cycle. It's made up of four key activities which remain active and ongoing throughout the lifespan of your website.
Gone are the days where companies could get away with developing their website and then leaving it to slowly stagnate over the next four years, posting the odd news article and updating a service or two, only to heavily reinvest time and money in to a complete redesign and build. During this period of stagnation, you will lose ground to competitors, become detached from the needs of your users, behind the trends in your industry and how this utlimately drives consumer behaviour. Your website and brand runs the risk of becoming out of touch.
"Gone are the days where companies could get away with developing their website and then leaving it to slowly stagnate over the next four years"
I whole heartedly urge you to embrace the Innovation Cycle and learn from the fall of the late, great social platforms - may they rest in peace. In this age where your customers can switch to a competitor with such ease, you must understand their needs and continuously adapt to offer more tailored experiences to meet their expectations. The benefit of this approach should be obvious by this stage; lower investment through ongoing iterative enhancement and more engagement by being relevant, tailored and giving the user what they desire. It's about evolution through insight, not a complete revolution when it's too late.
Your website is an endless project, make sure it keeps changing, evolving and surprising.