Website Redesign Horror Stories - The Top 9 Nightmares to Vanquish!

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If you've ever been through a website redesign, you'll enjoy WiderFunnel's new whitepaper, which, in the spirit of Halloween, we're calling a "blackpaper." It's called "Website Redesign Horror Stories: The Top 9 Nightmares to Vanquish!" and is available as a free to download.

We realized that, although we hear repeatedly from marketers about their horrible website redesign experiences, they're often not widely shared. It's so common to hear of the over-budget, late-delivery, and post-redesign conversion rate drops, that it's become predictable.

Most marketers are not comfortable sharing their experiences publicly to avoid awkward situations at the office. But we, as impartial observers, can share the themes to help you avoid their situations.

Check out the horror stories and how to avoid them!

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Website Redesign Horror Stories - The Top 9 Nightmares to Vanquish!

  1. 1. A WiderFunnel Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories The Top 9 Nightmares to Vanquish! !“Anybody can say charming things and try to please and to flatter, but a true friend always says unpleasant things, and does not mind giving pain. Indeed, if he is a really true friend he prefers it, for he knows that then he is doing good.” - Oscar Wilde Brought to you by Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  2. 2. 2 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories Are you considering a website redesign? Beware the terrifying tales of woe that lie within. Study this blackpaper thoroughly and be warned! “The team was focused on creating a beautiful new identity, and everyone was convinced that the new branding and homepage would help take the brand to a new level,” he told me. At WiderFunnel, we often hear from companies who have gone through an ambitious website redesign – often after years of neglecting their site. They always start out optimistically, expecting great results.   But in the end, they get a trick, not a treat – falling victim to just one of the many ghouls and goblins that plague website redesigns. Cont… Find out what happened. That’s what happened to Josh Braaten of Collegis Education when a client of his revamped their entire website and brand recently. This is an entirely true tale, in his own words:   Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  3. 3. 3 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories This story was off to a brilliant start, but things quickly turned for the worse.   He continues, “We re-launched the homepage with the new look and waited for the leads to come pouring in, but they never did. The new homepage actually tanked conversion rates by 20%!” What a nightmare! That’s a plot twist no one expects. But the scary truth is, terrifying results like these aren’t unusual with website redesigns. This is, in fact, a common outcome of a website redesign overhaul.   They fell victim to what we call Website Redesign Gremlins. When making wholesale website redesigns, these scary little gremlins can gnaw away at your overall conversion rates. Now, this marketer was lucky: They could see their conversion rate plummet, so they could quickly correct it, even if it meant reverting back to the old design. Not everyone is so lucky. There are plenty more bloodbath stories. Another senior executive, who wishes to remain anonymous, told a similar story. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on their new travel tourism ecommerce booking website, the project scope has become so bloated it was delivered months late and far over-budget.   To multiply the damage, when the new website finally launched, their conversion rates dropped dramatically. The promised revenue improvement never did appear.   Unfortunately, this company didn’t have an easy exit from their situation. After exhausting their budget, they had to stick with the new website and try to fix the conversion problems. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  4. 4. 4 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories The first nightmare: Website Redesign Gremlins Given their small size and their ability to hide, Website Redesign Gremlins are often difficult to spot. You make so many changes in an epic redesign that it’s impossible to see how all the little decisions will affect results.   The result? Even if your conversion rate could have been bumped up, these gremlins could be hiding and causing your overall conversion rate to drop.   A whole series of changes – each with its own impact on conversion rate – can help give gremlins a place to hide. For example, your new lean-gen contact form, call-to-action buttons, and survey popup may be less effective than before the redesign.   Without the revealing spotlight of A/B testing, you’ll never be able to find these scary critters, as they lurk in the shadows, eating away at your conversions – and profits – day after day.   Spooky! Watch out for these Gremlins! Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  5. 5. 5 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories But your website redesign project doesn’t have to be a horror story... There is a less risky approach than a complete website redesign—one that maximizes your conversion-rate improvement by isolating the impact of individual changes. This approach gives Website Redesign Gremlins and the other conversion-killing ghouls no place to hide: it’s called evolutionary site redesign (ESR), where new design, layout, and content elements are tested continuously, evolving your website with proven clarity toward the best-performing ideal.   It’s evolution instead of revolution. Because, let’s face it, revolutions are messy, unpredictable things that rarely end up as planned.   In an ESR redesign, you prioritize your most important pages, page templates and site-wide elements then test new layouts, design, and content with controlled split testing. You get all the benefits of a new site design without the risks.  ESR uses tried and true conversion rate optimization principles to redesign your site. You end up with a new site “look and feel” and conversion-rate lift at the same time.   This measured, results-based approach protects your website from mischievous gremlins who are so good at sabotaging full scale website redesigns. But the Gremlins aren’t the only creepy characters that can turn your website redesign into a horror story. Let’s meet some others… Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  6. 6. 6 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories Mummies body, a Mummy’s brains To help preserve theirWhen you’re talking aboutand innards are removed. Website Redesign Mummies, these modifications really show: They can’t think for themselves and have no guts!   Website Redesign Mummies are always wrapped up in mimicking the “the next new thing.” A few years ago, it was using splashy Flash effects on the homepage. Then it was everything “Web 2.0.” Now it’s likely to be social features, video, apps, rotating home page carousels – whatever the flashy new thing that’s out there, they’ll all turn to follow without thinking – or testing it.   With ESR, new interface methods and approaches can be tested to see if they actually improve business results and not just look “fresh.” The Conversion Champion is a fully living and thinking hero – with an intact brain and the guts to use it – who is open to new ideas that are proven effective through A/B testing! Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  7. 7. Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories 7 Zombies Zombies move mindlessly in large packs, drawn in by any random noise or movement. Website Redesign Zombies also travel in groups, slavishly following so-called “best practices” without ever testing if they truly apply to their own circumstances.   Amazon uses gold “Add to Cart” buttons? We should too! Drool… Standard approaches can be a good starting point for gathering new testing ideas, but smart Conversion Champions don’t stumble around following the pack brainlessly. They know that the only best practice really worth biting into is the practice of rigorous conversion testing to find out what really works for their unique situation. The trouble with zombies is that they can quickly spread and infect others. Large gatherings of them (also referred to as “Conferences” or “Summits”) cause unsuspecting marketers to be bitten by the zombie infection. They soon begin to mimic their competitors and so-called “experts” and their brains atrophy from disuse. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  8. 8. Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories 8 Princesses Now, you may not count fairy princesses among the usual monsters of Halloween, but like the seductive sirens of Greek mythology – beautiful creatures who lured sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky shore – Website Redesign Princesses can lead you to ruin you with their beauty.   You see, a princess doesn’t have to actually accomplish anything. Your website, on the other hand, does have a very important job to do. And your customers want more than just a pretty face. Conversion Champions aren’t fooled by beauty alone. They resolutely focus on business goals and results. By using the Goals Waterfall, they maintain a direct line-of-sight from the website’s goals up to business goals. Sexy new design treatments need to prove their value in driving business profit. No free rides for a pretty princess! Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  9. 9. 9 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories Frankenstein’s Monster Once a major redesign is started, every department will have an opinion, and will want to control it or get their content front and center on the home page. Made up of mismatched parts that don’t work together, the Website Redesign Frankenstein effect turns your website into a slow-moving, brainless monster that terrifies the villagers – and your visitors.   ESR helps guard against the Website Redesign Frankenstein effect by improving elements incrementally, rather than throwing everything out and starting with a blank slate. By testing and improving site-wide template layouts like Product Detail Page layouts, Persistent Calls-to-Action, Category Page templates and consistent button treatments, the Conversion Champion maintains consistency across their prospects’ experience and maximizes visitor enjoyment – and conversion rates! Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  10. 10. 10 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories The Invisible Man A full-scale website redesign can often affect web page URLs, the underlying code, and the distribution of content – all of which can have a negative impact on your hard-won SEO ranking – turning your new site into a Website Redesign Invisible Man! This is especially risky if the redesign coincides with adopting a new content management system (CMS).   The ESR approach, on the other hand, keeps your site visible, since you make changes incrementally on a page-by-page basis. This lets you keep track of how content changes affect your rankings, and is less likely to lead to disruptive site-wide changes that can make your site disappear from sight. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  11. 11. 11 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories The Scary HiPPO HiPPO? No, not the savannah, mud-rolling type of hippo. I’m talking about the highest-paid person’s opinion. When crucial decisions about your website redesign are based on the highest paid person’s opinion – and aren’t challenged or supported by data – you’re about to be crushed by the Website Redesign HiPPO. And believe me, this HiPPO carries a lot of weight and can crush the effectiveness of your redesign.   Thankfully, since ESR is all about results you’re always armed with a perfect defense against this beast. You see, scary Website Redesign HiPPOs run away when faced with data that disproves their options. Fortunately, a testing approach also allows the HiPPO opportunities to have their opinions proven correct sometimes too! Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  12. 12. 12 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories The Scope Creep There are a load of creeps lurking around on Halloween, but the scariest website redesign creep is Website Redesign Scope Creep. What starts off as a simple change becomes more complicated as different people clamor for new features. Suddenly the wish list grows, new technology is introduced, and, before you know it, the number of changes has multiplied tenfold.   ESR’s incremental, step-by-step approach ensures that your website never gets out of hand. It is constantly evolving and staying ahead of the competition. The iterative nature of the improvements means that you never face the daunting and overwhelming task of an epic overhaul – and the scary Website Redesign Scope Creep that often come with it. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  13. 13. 13 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories Vampire The Website Redesign Vampire is smooth-talking and charismatic. It’s easy to get hypnotized by the dream of a new and improved website. But the result is blood-sucking, budget-killing redesigns that go over budget, and way past deadline. Remember, time means nothing to these ageless beasts.   Not only do they suck your budget, they don’t stick around for long. They love you and leave you until the next redesign cycle.   In a company that practices traditional Radical Site Redesigns (RSR), not only do they face all these risks in-between redesigns, their website continues to have its blood drained compared with competitors. Instead of a risky overhaul, you have a measured, controlled process that drives a stake through the heart of the blood-sucking Website Redesign Vampire. Because evolved companies are always testing, ESR is like garlic to Website Redesign Vampires. Budgets are predictable on an ongoing basis, and you get an actionable set of results in a short period of time. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  14. 14. 14 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories Thankfully, like all Halloween trick or treat adventures, sometimes horror stories have a sweet ending.   After their run-in with the Website Redesign Gremlins, the marketer we heard from earlier at our friend’s higher education company are Evolutionary Site Redesign converts, and won’t even consider changing high-impact experiences on their website without a controlled A/B test. Having been tricked once, they’re more focused than ever on protecting their treats. Those 9 nightmare scenarios are frightening, but they don’t need to be. There’s another way. Cont… Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  15. 15. 15 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories How You Can Avoid these Nightmares Too By adopting the Evolutionary Site Redesign approach you can guard against these nasty creatures while dramatically improving your website every day.    As you saw with the goals waterfall above, once you’ve defined your website’s goals clearly, you can test and continuously optimize to improve on them. Continuous marketing improvement! With ESR, your website will continuously keep up and surpass the success of the rest of the web. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  16. 16. 16 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories How ESR Works ESR works by implementing a system of continuous A/B split testing throughout your entire website and digital marketing. Rather than relying on the gut-feeling and flawed intuition of an art director, your website decisions should be made against the crucible of customer actions. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  17. 17. 17 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories How ESR Works Before ESR When LemonFree.com, the vehicle search engine, needed a website redesign, they knew it had to maintain their revenue too or it would be a bad business decision. Through A/B/n testing of many home page designs, they gained a design that looked great and lifted revenue by 10.9%. Then, testing throughout the rest of their site-wide templates improved the design and lifted revenue-per-visitor by an additional 84.7%! After ESR: Good looks that boost revenue too Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  18. 18. 18 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories How ESR Works Before ESR Expensify is a fast-growth startup with a lean team facing large competitors. The expensify.com home page is the company’s primary landing page for free online signups. When they needed to improve the signup conversion rate, they came to WiderFunnel for a redesign. WiderFunnel used Evolutionary Site Redesign to A/B/n test new page designs. The result has been massive 47.2% lift in new user signup conversion rate, surpassing 1 million users. After ESR: A highly profitable, proven redesign Find more inspiration: You can find many more A/B test result case studies at http://www.widerfunnel.com/case-studies Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  19. 19. 19 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories You too can start ESR now! You should test everything in your web marketing:   •  Landing page design & content •  Your product or service value proposition statements •  Lead generation forms, shopping cart and checkout •  Product page templates •  Home page design, eyeflow, merchandising •  Imagery, copywriting, ads, calls-to-action, and offers •  Site-wide design styles •  Logo, header and tagline •  And everything in-between! To find out how you can implement an Evolutionary Site Redesign strategy, talk with the ESR experts at WiderFunnel. Request a Custom Proposal from the ESR Experts at WiderFunnel Email: iwant@widerfunnel.com Or, learn more at http://www.widerfunnel.com But, it’s important to test the right things in the right order with the right methodology to get the best results. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  20. 20. 20 Blackpaper: Website Redesign Horror Stories Read the Book that Redefines Conversion Optimization Marketers, Founders and Corporate Executives are finding that they get better results by championing scientific testing and continuous improvement in their organizations.  Download a Free Chapter Go to: http://www.youshouldtestthat.com In the book, you'll learn:  •  How to find the triggers that move customers and prospects to act •  How to find your ideal value proposition •  How to dramatically lift your conversion rates with the proven testing system and frameworks •  How companies like Magento, Google, Salesforce, Electronic Arts, Iron Mountain, SAP (and many more) have used these techniques to get up to 400% conversion rate lift •  How to prioritize where to test and what to test •  How to move beyond just conversion rate lift to make business decisions through tested insights. The book includes 15 full case studies of real tests plus many more examples of how companies are succeeding and failing in their websites and marketing.  Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.
  21. 21. The Original Conversion Optimization Agency, Since 2007 Improving our clients' marketing conversion rate and profit. That’s what we do. Whether we’re creating A/B split tests to lift our clients' conversions and revenue, or uncovering insights to understand their customers, our proprietary optimization system produces winning results for every client. WiderFunnel pioneered marketing optimization strategies for companies such as Google, Electronic Arts, SAP, Magento, Iron Mountain and BabyAge.com. Our LIFT™ Model and Kaizen™ methods are promoted globally at conferences and seminars, helping marketers test what really works in their marketing to get more leads, sales and profit. Get more information at: http://www.widerfunnel.com Connect with us: Twitter: @widerfunnel & @chrisgoward Google+: http://bit.ly/widerfunnelplus Blog: http://www.widerfunnel.com/blog ™/® WiderFunnel, the WiderFunnel logo, Kaizen Method, Funnel Experiment, FunEx, L.I.F.T. and Landing page Influence Function for Tests are trademarks or registered trademarks of WiderFunnel Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing, Inc. Subscribe)to)the)WiderFunnel)Blog)for)more)marke8ng)strategies:)) www.WiderFunnel.com / tel: 604.800.6450 / iwant@WiderFunnel.com h:p://www.widerfunnel.com/blog) © 2013 WiderFunnel Marketing Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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