In my post, “Why a Website Overhaul is Like Redoing Your Bathroom,” I talk about how redoing your B2B Website is similar to redoing a room in your house. When you’re considering redoing a room, the first thing you do is call a contractor or an architect, and this person then asks you *lots* of questions in order to develop a plan.

For small companies, a Website Overhaul typically begins with a call to a designer. This is fine, but as I stated in my “bathroom” post, you need to consider much more than design when overhauling a site. What you need, before you even think about design, is a strategy that answers many questions and that lays the groundwork for the overhaul / redesign.

You have to take into account:

  • Whether or not you’re upgrading to a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress
  • Where you’ll host the site (on your corporate server or a hosting company)
  • Integration with CRM (e.g. SalesForce) and marketing automation (e.g. Infusionsoft, Marketo, etc.)
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media, a blog or an e-newsletter (such as Constant Contact)
  • Developing new content / repurposing existing content

But, before you do any of that, you really need to sit down and determine your Website’s objective/s. By “objective,” I mean asking yourself what you want buyers, potential employees, prospects and visitors to do when they arrive at your site.

Determining your site’s objective is important for three reasons:

You’ll save time and money down the road — Because you’ve created a strategy, with goals and objectives, you won’t find out your site “isn’t working” after it’s been built or redesigned.

You’ll see an increase in conversions — Because your site is built with prospects and searchers in mind, you’ll notice they’re doing what you want them to do (download reports, sign up for a newsletter, leave a comment on your blog, sign up for your demo).

You’ll be able to measure ROI – Because you have objectives or goals, you’ll know exactly what you need to track and measure. You’ll no longer base data on vague metrics, such as, “We had 2,000 hits last month” (which is meaningless, by the way). Instead, you’ll have clearly defined metrics, such as, “We had 2,000 new visitors last month and 5% signed up for our newsletter and 2% emailed us to inquire about our service.”

In addition to determining your site’s objective, you’ll also want to focus on the following three key areas:

1. Your business objectives and goals

As a small business owner or marketer, you probably have multiple goals and objectives. Of course you want to increase revenues and add to your customer base. You may have marketing campaigns planned for next 6-9-12 months. Or, maybe you’re hiring or you’re considering using e-commerce for the first time.

Your Website should support ALL of these activities — and more. If you’re planning on allowing customers to pay for and download software, for example, you’ll need to consider a shopping cart that includes licensing keys and other functions. If you’re hiring, you’ll want to make sure you’re communicating why someone would want to work for you and/or how to submit a resume. And of course, your Website needs to support your marketing activities, including collateral downloads, social media, and lead generation (to name just a few).

2. Your sales process

Most small business owners know how prospects learn about them (usually word-of-mouth or referrals). However, few map out the sales process itself:

  • How long does a typical sale take from beginning to end?
  • What are the steps in the sales cycle? For example, a months-long sales process may include: Referral, Website visit, download a white paper, sign up for a newsletter, attend a Webinar, contact sales, send out an RFQ, negotiation, issue PO.
  • What are some of the objections that must be overcome to get to the next step in the sales process?
  • How many sales get lost to the competition and why?
  • Once a sale is made, do customers order again? Why or why not? Do you have other opportunities to increase business with them?

When developing your Web Overhaul strategy, it really pays to answer these questions and determine how your new site — and its content — will facilitate your sales process.

3. The site map

Now is the time to start thinking about content — not after the site is built, which is what typically happens. You wouldn’t decide where the bathrooms, bedrooms, plumbing, etc. will go in your house after you’ve built the frame. It works the same for your Website.

It’s helpful to sketch out a site map, which is simply a list of the sections and pages that will make up your site. You don’t have to get too fancy with this — I do mine in Word just as you see below. A typical site map for a small B2B firm might look this:

About Us
-What Makes Us Different
-Press / News
-Client List
-Capability Type #1
-Capability Type #2
-Capability Type #3
-Product #1
-Product #2
-Product #3
Knowledge Center
-White Papers / Reports
-Case studies
-Product collateral
-Newsletter archives
Trial / Demo

By planning out your site map now, you’ll be able to quickly see what types of content you’ll need — and whether you’ll need to create new content (or hire someone to do it for you) and/or repurpose existing content. You can gather the content you have and either update it, repurpose it, or throw it all away and start from scratch.

Your Website is your number one marketing asset. To help ensure it “works” for you, take the time to map out your Web Overhaul strategy before you call a designer. You’ll be glad you did.

Do you have additional tips regarding a Web Overhaul strategy? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

Dianna Huff is the founder and president of Huff Industrial Marketing, a full service agency that tackles a host of marketing and communications challenges for manufacturing companies.

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