In our experience one of the biggest pitfalls in digital marketing is underestimating the number of things you need to consider before making a website change.
Too many times we’ve seen problems result from urgent/last-minute/”quick” changes that ended up causing knock-on effects or were simply one of the many ideas that didn’t end up working out. We recommend using a checklist like the following before making any changes to your website. Consider this a starting point, you are likely to get most benefit by customising this to your organisation:
- Is this decision supported by solid data analysis?
For example, if you want to get rid of a feature because you feel that it’s useless, is your analytics data actually telling you that few users are using it or that it’s impacting conversion, retention or user experience?
- Is this decision important enough to run as an A/B test first?
Rather than just changing the website, you could test the changes first and compare it to your baseline. It won’t eliminate the chances of a bad decision but it will reduce them.
- How will this decision impact: the current website/tracking/user experience/SEO?
Probably the most common example in this category is a drastic reduction of website content for the sake of simplification when that content may be bringing in a lot of SEO traffic.
- Will this decision keep my users (and their privacy/data) safe?
If the change requires collecting additional user data, how will this be stored, transported and used? Could this feature be used by bad actors beyond its intended purpose? We are ultimately responsible for the effects our digital platforms have on our users.
- Do any external assets (EDMs, ad campaigns) need to be updated?
The most common example of this is URL changes/restructures, but almost any major website change would require synchronisation with off-site assets.
- How will you be able to evaluate whether this was a good/bad decision?
If the point of the change is to improve some metric of KPI, is there a process and timeline to measure the change? Is there an opportunity to roll back if the change proves unsuccessful?