Attributing ROI to web design in general is a slippery subject, but it seems as a rule people understand that if they have a more professional looking website that’s easy to navigate – more people will contact them, buy their product, and have a better overall perception of their company or organization. Here are the things off the bat that I’ve seen and experienced as part of the process designing, developing and monitoring success on many web design projects now:
- A boost in traffic from a better laid out site that keeps people on the site longer and has more content around things people care about.
- An increase in contact form submissions or sales because people have more evidence to trust a company
- Increased perceived value because of a higher end looking design. A website that people running the company and employees can be proud of and feel like it represents them well to the outside world.
There’s something beautiful and disruptive about being able to give a smaller company an edge with a well designed and built website – they can go up against larger competitors and not bat an eye. I get to help David’s show their strengths against the Goliath’s of the world.
When to not spend money on a professional website
If you don’t have a business model in place, where a website will increase the amount of leads you’re getting, or increase the amount of sales – if you have an idea but no proof – you should tread cautiously before hiring a web design company to do your site. Test out your model in a smaller way – Squarespace or Shopify might be great options. But when a business model is proven you will have to move to a more customizable and ‘grown-up’ platform like a custom WordPress site that is able to grow with you. For e-Commerce stores the benchmark is 100 products or more and you may want to move up to Magento or a similar enterprise solution that allows for better integrations with distribution and fulfillment. Until you’re ready for this kind of freedom – until you’ve vetted your concept and are sure that it’s making money and will continue to – you likely will not want to spend the money on professional web design. I say this because in contrast, when you do understand that your business model works and are on the up and up, working with pro‘s and creating a solid and truly professional website has the potential to really get results.
4 Things that lead to a better ROI on a web design project
1. Make sure the site will be easy to maintain. 2. Make ‘Search Engine Optimization‘ a priority so that people can find you. 3. Focus the whole website design process around usability and getting a high conversion rate. 4. A website doesn’t last forever – but try to make sure it will for at least 3 years.
Better forecasting for ROI on design for web design companies
How are you going to track conversions on the site? If you have 8 contact form submissions coming in a month and 1 of those is becoming a client, and each client is worth $8,000 on average, you can set up a goal in Analytics that tracks each contact form submission at $1,000 so that you can see in the end what the website redesign did for you. Ideally you’d set this up several months before the redesign so you could see – but you can do estimation and benchmarking based on current contact form submissions or sales that you’re aware of.
A technical tangent
Accuracy is key though to get a clear picture about what a redesign accomplishes. A redesign that leads to 16 leads coming in a month and 2 people becoming clients on average will be worth $96,000, but how do we get reasonable expectations about what a website will do for us? As the conventions of web design change – if you hire a company after 3 years since the last design there is likely to be opportunity. Responsive design was recently a giant opportunity for low hanging fruit in the conversion increase department. For the sake of example let’s say a company has no clear call to actions on their home page, the website is not responsive but they do have a short and optimized contact form linked in the header. – Offhand to me this company is at an 8 or 9 out of ten (8.5/10) as far as opportunity for low-hanging conversion optimization.
You take that number .85. If the market is in a decline, I’d take the last years documented revenue and divide that by the year before (example 2015 – 180,00/200,000) and use the result to multiply the opportunity number .85 X .9 = .765. All of this is very generalized to give you an idea of how this might play out, but the principle is sound; if there is a higher opportunity in the market and on the website you’ll get better results out of a professional website.
96,000 last year’s revenue from the website x .765 perceive opportunity = 73,440 – A reasonable but aggressive goal for revenue increase after the site is launched.
If your site doesn’t have enough traffic
If the site doesn’t have enough traffic to make enough money to justify a budget here, consider spending your dollars on content creation and design, tweaks on existing structure, Google Adwords or other traffic increasing things. Unless of course your website is really bad, then you might have to bite the bullet and do the project without clarity on ROI. The point is that a redesign that increases the professionalism of your company and better explains your key value propositions will always make you money – the key is finding and working with a designer or design team that understands how to translate this and make the key things that need to be available easy to navigate to and build a website that’s built to grow and built to last.
After doing my best to give you an overview of how you might get some idea of what kind of bump a professional website might give you, here are some thoughts on design, quoted from leading marketing professionals.
(From the book web design for ROI)
Better attribution for ROI on design for web design companies and you
Really this part of the process doesn’t need to be particularly complicated. But one step has to be done well in a E-Commerce site and a couple steps in a lead generation site.
- Their needs to be analytics tracking on conversions and the value of the purchase needs to be passed through to Analytics. Both a company and their agency should want to do this as it justifies the investment in the website.
- If you have a lead generation website and you’ve determined the value of a lead on your website – So once again, average sale from website divided by how many leads come in on average before you get a sale. So in the case mentioned earlier in the article – we need to set up a goal to pass the value of $1,000 to Google Analytics.
If these steps aren’t taken on a site – or if it’s to early in your business life-cycle to understand these numbers – you’re biggest digital goal this year should be to create them. To clarify how much a lead is worth, to get an understanding of how many people on average you convert from your webite out of 10. These numbers alone will amp up your attribution game.