Working on your website is a neverending story. Once designed, it enters the most important stage of a lifecycle – maintenance.
The maintenance process ensures that your website functions properly, receives updates, stays secure, and performs well. Yet, this is only some of what could and should be done to your website in order to stay competitive and grow your business.
Regular website improvements are needed to meet the growing needs of your customers and stay ahead of competitors.
What happens if you don’t think about improvements? There are 1.7 billion websites worldwide with only 0.06% being active and maintained. The question you need to answer is if you want to be among those 0.06% and your business to prosper.
What are the exact improvements? This is the question that requires several sources of truth to be involved:
- You as a business
- Your web development or maintenance partner
- Your customers
Every single party owns a certain knowledge that needs to be extracted and analyzed together. The result is a prioritized list of improvements and features that can help you reach your business objectives.
In this article, we will look into how to work with those parties in order to extract the most important and valuable feedback.
No one knows your business better than you and your peers. As a business, you are the holder of the knowledge and insights about your industry, market, and business processes.
Your digital marketing strategy should be built around your website. With that in mind, all of the reports and research you have in place can contribute to improving your website.
It is also recommended to consult with all departments that own a touchpoint with your customers. Marketing, sales, customer care – any of the departments can have information on their hands that you can use.
On top of that, there are various reports you, as a business, should have in place and can be used:
- SWOT analysis
- Customer persona
- Customer journey
- Competitors’ analysis
- Market and industry reports (ex. Gartner)
With the information available, analyze the reports and new data that keeps coming in. Create internal focus groups and run brainstorming sessions with people from different departments and management. Dive into analytics (ex. Google Analytics) of your website and get your web developers involved.
Developers and Maintenance: Analysis
Relying on professionals and experts is always a good idea. Web design and development is no different.
Your web development and maintenance partners are behind the technical decisions and know your website inside out. More than that, they hold the experience in web design industry and follow the latest trends and technologies. Use that to your advantage.
While there are insights coming in from different sources (your business, customers, market), make sure to validate them with web developers. Web developers can have more input from the technical side and guide you through the most effective implementation of the changes you have in mind.
In addition, your maintenance partners are monitoring your website to keep it healthy. During that process, there is plenty of data gathering and analysis happening that reveals the weak spots you can improve.
To streamline the process with your development partners, think of regular reports or collaboration platforms that will help both parties document things easily and keep track of the progress.
Listening to your customers is crucial. At the of the day, they are the ones who will decide to buy from you (or leave you with empty pockets).
Collecting feedback about your website experience is an important part of your website lifecycle. Customers and website visitors can specify how they feel about the design and functionality. They can provide you with insights about what is currently missing or not working properly.
Combining feedback with your business insights and reports (suggestions) from your developers can serve as a confirmation of your hypothesis.
How to properly collect feedback? There are several ways to get in touch with your customers:
- In-person interviews
- Video calls (with/without recordings)
- Email surveys
- Website surveys
- Blind testing
While you can choose one method, it is recommended to combine several since they provide different perspectives on things. Combine email surveys (ex. MailChimp), with in-person calls, and integrated website survey made for feedback to have quantitative and qualitative data.
At the same time, it is important to start small to ensure you have the resources available to analyze the results. Otherwise, you risk having feedback collecting and pilling up the shelves of your backlog.
Another important aspect is to understand when is the right time to ask for feedback. There are simple rules to follow and certain things to avoid:
- Don’t block your customers from achieving their goal
- Brand your surveys to make them part of the customer journey
- Follow customer timezones and locations
- Keep surveys short and focused
- Consider localization
- Don’t force surveys
Measure your success
You have feedback, analysis, and insights. You’ve made improvements to your website. What’s next?
Measuring your success is equally important. It tells you if things really worked out and what impact they made on your customers and site visitors.
Measuring customer satisfaction score (CSAT) will allow you to set benchmarks and define KPIs for your website. Being a part of the customer satisfaction surveys, the score displays the health (satisfaction) of your customers allowing you to discover issues and build closer relationships with your customers.
Seeing how the score changes throughout website improvements will give you clear signals about your success (or failures).
If you feel there is too much on your shoulders, you can always ask your maintenance partners to extend their offering to take care of your customer satisfaction score. A monthly report of the CSAT score from your maintenance partner will help you keep things on track.
To be successful online, you need to constantly improve your website. In terms of content, structure, design, features, and technologies.Mixing your own insights, with customer feedback and a trusted maintenance partner will ensure your website stays competitive and helps your business to prosper.