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An introduction to Evolutionary Site Redesign

Words by: Chris Goward & Chris Goward Last updated: August 27th, 2020 5 min. read

I’m pleased to share our new blog design with you today.

A couple months ago, after neglecting our website design for several years, we concluded that we finally had to pay it some attention.

Since we’re in the business of improving websites for our clients, our readers should assume that we’re applying what we learn to our own site. While we do follow our own advice and run tests on our website regularly, our clients get more love than our own site. We put all of our energy into our client projects and tend to neglect our own home base.

But, enough is enough! The parable of the cobbler’s children having no shoes wears thin after a while.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to how we approach the challenge of a website that needs a redesign using ours as an example. We take an approach that I call Evolutionary Site Redesign (ESR)—yes, it’s yet another acronym…but I believe it’s an important concept. ESR represents the future of website redesigns.

The Redesign Goal

Our primary goal for the WiderFunnel blog design is to make the content more readable and increase its share-ability. We want more people to read and share our perspectives on marketing optimization.

Thinking in terms of the LIFT Model, we identified many problems. We knew that some of the dated design treatments in the old blog were affecting the credibility aspect of our Value Proposition. As a trusted brand for our readers, our blog design was not living up to that expectation.

website design analysis using LIFT Model
WiderFunnel Blog LIFT Analysis

We were able to apply many of the tested insights from the conversion optimization tests we do for our clients’ and it now gives us a better platform to continue testing other elements.

The Approach: Evolutionary Site Redesign (ESR)

There was no need to redesign our brand or the overall look & feel. This is more of an incremental evolution. Most companies that I talk to who are considering a website redesign are in a similar situation. The overall brand isn’t broken. They just need to continue to keep up with the evolution of the web since their last major redesign.

But a dramatic, “Revolutionary,” redesign isn’t needed in most cases. For most companies, a continuous process of testing and incremental improvements will give a better visitor experience and results versus the traditional throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach. Most companies should be using Evolutionary Site Redesign.

Here’s what I see happening with the traditional “Revolutionary Site Redesign” (RSR) versus our ESR approach.

The problem with website redesigns
The traditional “Revolutionary Site Redesign” creates under-achievement
the new approach to website redesign
Continuous design improvement with A/B testing is a better strategy

The RSR approach leaves your website lacking and continuously falling behind in the intervals between major redesigns. But, with ESR, your website will continuously keep up and surpass the success of the rest of the web.

To be clear, in our example, we haven’t kept up the testing and incremental improvements on WiderFunnel’s website over the past three years. We haven’t been our best client. Today’s update is an example of a catch-up that will allow us to keep iterating and testing moving forward.

[Update: Regular readers of our blog will know that the evolutionary changes I’m advocated should be accomplished through strategic A/B/n testing. New readers have mentioned that this wasn’t clear from this post. So, let me make it clear: the only way to know what really works to lift your conversions and revenue is by using a strategic, controlled testing system.]

Here are the incremental changes we made in this update:

  • Increased the font size for the headlines and body content
  • Reduced the columns from three to two to reduce Distraction
  • Increased column width to allow for large diagrams and images
  • Redesigned the right column content to reduce visual Distraction
  • Improved pagination and popular article rankings to expose readers to more of the good content
  • Soon the blog main page will feature more whitepapers, case studies and articles that may be interesting to readers
  • Easier social following buttons and links throughout

This blog update is also a step toward further incremental improvements of the rest of the website. We will soon be moving into a Responsive Web Design platform with even more exciting improvements. And, of course, we’ll be doing more A/B/n tests to continue our Evolutionary Site Redesign.

What do you think?

Is this new design an improvement over the old?
What’s your perspective on RSR versus ESR?

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