WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT & RADICAL DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

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Website results process old

We learn from mistakes. We have delivered many hundreds of websites over the last 15 years. We have made many mistakes, and we continue to make mistakes. This is how we learn and improve in this fast moving industry! 
We see clients make many mistakes and it is important that we share these with you to reduce the chance of you falling into the same traps.

opinions1. Results are data driven not based on personal opinion

Most websites don't get results because they’re usually built like this:

  • Client (or a committee) describes the kind of website they want, and the design shop delivers. Did the committee consist of conversion experts? Nope.
  • Client tells the designer to come up with something, and the designer has a “vision” or follows the latest trends. Are typical web designers data-driven or conversion-minded? Alas, most are not.

Everybody should stick with what they know best. Clients are experts at what they do, and designers and developers are NOT conversion experts.

- Peep Laja - ConversionXL


specialists22. A broad range of specialisation gets results

The online world is complicated and constantly changing. There is so much to learn and keep up with. To keep ahead you need a team of specialists.

Zeald employs a wide range of specialists that come up with a cohesive and coordinated plan based on your objectives. It is unique and a challenge. Few other companies have cracked this. Other companies:

Jack of all trades - master of none is great for a first website, but as it gets more competitive and you look to improve results you will need specialist skills.

Single specialists - Some companies provide specialist services such as SEO. They get great results in this area. But because this is all they provide, this is all they promote. In many cases that service is not the the most effective investment.
Online marketing is most successful when the promotions are tightly connected with the website. The Google ad or the email campaign need to flow seamlessly through to the website. A successful Adwords campaign requires analysts, planners, designers, builders and someone to manage that work.


project management riangle3. An agile, flexible,  investment to grow your business

Fixed price is inflexible. When someone quotes fixed price they add fat. Every business is different. One business wants to fast track their results. Another wants to grow over time so their operations can keep up. You cant squeeze every business into a fixed price box. - The budget needs to evolve with the project. It is ongoing, and you should have a monthly budget. That budget should be flexible to change with the seasons, the potential and dependant on how aggressive your goals are for the business.
This is known as Agile. Agile methodology has a greater chance of success - This means that we accept that things will change as we go, we will discover all sorts of things as we go, as we discover and learn along the way. the budget needs to be flexible

This is not your IT cost. This is a sales and marketing investment to grow your business. This is to find you new customers, make more sales, increase your average $$ sale and your revenue.


invoice4. An honest & transparent approach to billing

We track our time and invoice every 2 weeks. Similar to an architect or an accountant. You can query your invoices at any time. 

You will work with many specialists. A typical results project is made up of planning, project management, peer review, quality control, content loading, Design, Development. If required, all of these specialists will log their time which will appear on your invoice with a code and short description.

Some clients find this method of billing unusual. Honest and accurate billing is driven by our company values.
Individuals are supported to ensure that they 
bill honestly and accurately and the logs are audited by management every two weeks. All results work is quality controlled by a peer.
We catch up on a regular basis to discuss how we are going with the project and how we are going with regard to the budget.

Creative people need to be free from billing stresses to do do their best work.
 It is important that our specialists are passionate and focussed with your project. Creative people need to be free from billing stresses to do do their best work. It is important that we trust each other.
 
If you don't feel that you are getting value from this service please talk to me or my manager as soon as possible. The company is committed to continual improvement - If there are issues we want to know about them as early as possible so that we can fix them. You can cancel at any time.


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5. Don't under-estimate the importance of planning

Sometimes it is difficult to see the value in planning. It is tempting to skip the boring data analysis and jump straight to the fun design.

Marketing without data is like driving blind – you can only go so far with your gut feeling. Clarity and focus are a must. Without clarity of purpose and the situation, it's almost impossible to work your way to a relevant and influential solution. We work very hard to test assumptions and uncover the truth.
We don’t design websites based on somebody’s subjective opinion.

There are many methods and tools we use to discover this. The more we learn the stronger our foundations.
We need to understand our customer, their motivations and their purchase decision process. We need to understand our competitors and how we fit alongside. 
Before we start, we do the research. Look at the numbers, analyse the business, study the users, and turn our insights into wireframes; the layout, structure, and messaging.


Only now we can start the design and make the site look awesome. Even the best design is a hypothesis – one that needs to be tested in the real world. We will not promise that the design will instantly be more effective. This is just the first step. Now, continuous optimisation begins.


ms

6. A Marketing Specialist to project manage and drive results

At the beginning, we introduce you to your Marketing Specialist (MS)Your MS will oversee the project through the various stages. They will coordinate and drive your project


You will get busy and forget about the website and the goal. Your MS helps to motivate, persuade and remind you why we are doing this at each step along the way. Your MS will advise you on products & services to help you achieve your objectives.

They become your key point of contact so that it does not become your burden to manage your project and the various specialists along the way. They understand your business from the outset and they understand the Zeald system. They are an extension of your team located here at Zeald.


mands7. Website redesigns can be risky

This is why an information-driven approach is a must.

If you change everything at once, some functions may get better while other functions get worse, leaving you with results that cancel each other out.

This risk can be minimised by analysing your existing site first. Once we learn what’s working, and what’s not, we can keep the good parts and re-think the bad ones.

The risk is also minimised by breaking the project down into smaller steps and testing each idea to see what works and what does not.

There is sometimes a place for a radical redesign if the website does not achieve results. But this is a scary proposition if the website is currently generating leads and sales.


success

8. Sometimes we will go backwards before we go forwards

Like getting better at anything you have to do it again and again. It often takes many changes to gain valuable insights about what works and what doesn't for your unique business & customers. 

Best practices & theory only take us so far, ultimately we need to prove our ideas by changing your website and split testing different versions. In some cases we are limited with what we can test because your site doesn’t get enough traffic. In these cases it can take longer to prove if a change has been successful.

Some changes we make won’t produce huge gains. We go into every project expecting some ideas to fail along the way. Industry leaders consider 1 in 8 tests being a success as a good hit rate (Founder of Appsumo Noah Kagan). It often comes down to how well optimised your website is before we start working on it, the potential of your business, and the amount of time & money you are willing to invest. The better your website becomes the harder it is to make large gains.

In some cases we will agree not to test every change we make, and push on with what our experience tells us will be the best. In these cases it is important to realise that seasonal changes, changes in your business, & marketing can have a huge impact over the short term. It will be very hard to compare your results after we make changes vs before the changes and make any definite calls.


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9. The best website designs evolve

The easiest way to increase your conversion rate by 100% is to increase it by 1% 100 times
Even though we work with structured tools and methodologies, it is important that we adapt and change along the way as new information comes to light.

This is known as the 
Agile approach - The agile approach is the industry standard for software development and proven to be more successful than any other method. This method involves; Release early, get user feedback and optimise.
You should avoid labouring over perfecting designs and content, especially if it is based on personal opinion.
The best websites grow and develop. New ideas are tested and if they fail they are cut loose.


wheedle2

10. We can't promise results

There are many things outside of our control that affects the results of a website. 

  • The product might not be unique, or valuable. No conversion miracle is going to help if people don’t want what you sell
  • If you are not willing to make changes to your business or implement recommendations in your business, we cant help.
  • We are not responsible for the offline conversion of your leads. This relies on the skill and expertise of your internal sales people. We are not responsible for your staff training and success.
  • We are not responsible for your customer service and the reputation of your company.
  • Your industry might be highly competitive. Gains are hard won and expensive when competing against well established and trusted brands with large marketing budgets. 

trust11. This might make you nervous - Results require a tight partnership built on trust

Our approach to web design is data-driven. We’ll create designs that are built for high conversions from the get go, but we need the freedom and space to do our job well.
We accomplish tasks faster since we don’t need to agree on every little detail and cost

That is more efficient and costs you less. It is also in place quicker and returning results quicker
For this to work, we need to work closely together, and there needs to be solid trust between us.

If at any stage you feel a break in this trust, you should speak to us and we look into it.


12. This service is not for everyone

We can work with companies of all sizes, but our continuous conversion optimisation is best matched with established businesses who have:

  • monthly online revenue higher than $20,000 (or get leads worth as much)
  • monthly traffic at least 1000 unique visits per month, but ideally over 10k/mth

Websites that get 25,000+ visits per month (we can deal with less, just takes longer to mine the data).

We will not argue over personal preferences. If you’re not comfortable with following the data, and would rather go with your personal design preferences, we are happy to provide general design and build services to you, and you can direct the design yourself. We will provide a time and materials estimate for this.

It’s not that we’re arrogant. Running tests and measuring real world use is humbling. Testing teaches us that we are not as smart or intuitive as we’d like to think. We learned a long time ago that opinions don’t make money.

The Radical approach is better when:

  • You’ve tested everything you can and no longer achieving gains
  • The technology is severely outdated, flash, not usable on mobile devices, etc.
  • The design of the site is amateur; it has a negative effect on your brand
  • There is very little traffic, and conversion analysis reveals so many problems that it’d take years of split testing to fix it one component at a time


The evolutionary approach is better when:

  • Online sales and leads are important and even a small drop is a risk ($200p/d in online sales or leads)
  • The existing design is “good enough”, no major technology issues
  • There are a lot of returning visitors who are familiar with the existing design
  • You have enough traffic to run tests in a reasonable time (at least 1 test/month).

The evolutionary design approach is what you should use when you can. This should be the default option.


13. The Zeald Optimisation Process

results process4

We use an agile approach to website optimisation where we work within your budget to methodically improve your website.  By taking a data-driven driven approach and using tools like Google Analytics, surveying and interviewing your customers, setting up Heat mapping etc, we come up with a list of ideas which we know will have a big impact on your website.

Building an action list - We use this information to create an action list for improvements to your website (and often your other marketing channels like email & Adwords).

Implement - Once we have a good idea of what changes have the most potential to increase the results of your website we’ll review with you, and schedule the work in to be done. The same person who has already researched your business and got to know your site will plan out any new wireframes and copywriting, and then work with our team of expert designers and developers to implement the changes.

Continual - Because the project is broken into lots of manageable chunks, there is no waiting around for everything to be complete before pushing the button and hoping for the best. As each item in the action list is completed it goes live on your website, and we start to measure the effects.

The more changes we make, the more we learn about your customers, and this quickly leads us towards new ideas for continual improvement.

Minimum of 3 months - How long you want to keep the cycle running is up to you and you have complete control over how much budget we use. This approach lets you evaluate your results much faster than a traditional redesign, where you often don’t know for months what the results of the changes were.

Talk to us about our offer for 3 free User tests valued at $150 when you commit to 60hrs of results time.


Options moving forward

Typical website redesign (Website redesign) - With a results focus. For when your website really stinks, is non-existent or the business has completely changed - the entire thing needs to be thrown away and we need to start again

Evolutionary CRO website redesign (Website optimisation programme) - Data driven, continual improvement - We split test and optimise the entire conversion pathway over time - Comes with marketing like Adwords,

Website design services (T&M design services) - Personal opinion - Subjective  - Third party designers - We will do by the hour.

More reading


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About Zeald

Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest SME website design and digital transformation agency in New Zealand and has clients throughout both New Zealand and Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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