Key Post Highlights
> Users are spending too much time on your homepage.
> Users lurk on your site and then leave.
> There is a major difference between your desktop and mobile analytics.
If your website is decades old, you’re completely changing your brand, or no one is making it to your site — these are all obvious signs that your website needs a redesign. While these are all important factors to pay attention to, there are less noticeable metrics that can signal it’s time for an overhaul.
Your website is how prospective patients, staff, and donors get to know your organization. It should reflect the professionalism, personality, and overall quality of what you have to offer. If your website isn’t doing that, it’s time for a new look and function.
In part one of this two-part series on website redesigns, CareContent’s, Kadesha Thomas Smith, CEO, and Brandies Meva’a, VP, Client Strategy, discuss 3 surprising metrics that scream it’s time to redo your healthcare organization’s website.
Kadesha Thomas Smith: Hello, Brandies. How are you doing?
Brandies Meva’a: I’m well, how are you doing?
Kadesha: I’m good. So we’re talking about surprising metrics that scream it’s time for a website redesign. So, obviously, our company does a lot of website redesigns, and by the time most of our clients come to us, it’s because they are at their wit’s end with their current website. But there are probably some metrics that they could be tracking beforehand that indicate, okay, we need to be planning for a redesign this year. What would you say is the first one?
Brandies: The first one is that you notice that people are spending a lot of time on your homepage.
The homepage’s whole job is to be a traffic director. It is to get people into the site. So it should be your number one Google organic traffic planning page. And then when people get there, it should take them to where they got to go immediately. If they’re hanging out on your homepage for a very long time, they are lost. Help them.
Kadesha: What is a very long time? Like, what would you see? What have you seen on our clients’ websites to say, okay, this means this is directing traffic well. Or what does it mean pre-redesign when you say, this means we really need to move forward with something.
Brandies: So good design will give them the top three things that most people do right up front at the top. So I would like to see well-optimized home pages get people off the page in 30 seconds or less.
But sometimes your website is more like the flagship company site, you might be headquarters and you have a lot of different things that people can do on your brand. Even that should not exceed 60 seconds. So they should be able to get to see the breadth of things that you have to offer and get where they have to go because it’s optimized for that kind of movement.
Kadesha: All right, what would you say is the second metric?
Brandies: The next thing is time spent going from one place to the next. So I call it the wander kind of problem. You have people just kind of lurking on a site for a really long time and then they leave. So you don’t necessarily know what they were doing.
Sometimes we think that if we build it and people can clearly see our services or they know how to take action, we have to tell them what to do. And so you can actually see how they’re moving. If your site is not designed, it says for every single service, there needs to be a call to action so that I can actually measure how people are moving through my site and if they’re doing what I want them to do, you’re going to lose users. And I think it’s really important to have that in mind when you’re designing your site.
Kadesha: And I love how when you’re doing a content strategy, you classify it as — is this a high lift call to action or is this a low lift call to action? Low lift meaning, download something, sign up for something. High lift meaning, make an appointment.
Kadesha: Third thing.
Brandies: The third thing is taking a look at how people are interacting with the site around desktop versus mobile.
Desktop and mobile should yield hardly any difference in terms of time spent on page, how many pages they come on the site to visit, what calls to action they engage with. If you notice there’s a stark difference, meaning people on mobile are not spending as much time, they’re leaving right away, they don’t ever take advantage of calls to action, that tells you that you don’t have a site that’s optimized for mobile.
We know that mobile — everything is on our eyes. People have phones, tablets — people have these hybrid models. So we want to make sure that we don’t have a different user experience for our mobile users. Back in the day, you used to literally have a mobile site. Now your single site should be mobile-optimized.
Kadesha: I’m going to add one that’s not so much driven by analytics, but more by just process management. If it takes too much time to update words and pictures — you call this growth-driven design. Tell me why that’s a metric people should track.
Brandies: So growth-driven design is about the opportunity cost too. So if you build a site this year and then Google changes its algorithm, the way you optimize pictures, for example, or images, you need to go in there, overhaul that work, you want to be able to keep the same website. You want to keep the same shell. You shouldn’t have to throw the whole CMS away and all of your different page layouts. You should be able to literally change it. So you want to pick a good CMS that’s fluid enough to evolve at the times.
We know that the change makers and the benchmarkers come out with all the rules. They’re like, okay, you can’t do this, you need to do this. How many times have we come to a client and they’re like, oh, yeah, just need content. And we realize that their site is not actually designed for growth. It’s not prepared to handle the changes that it needs for the client to meet their business goals.
And so you want to make sure — vetting your CMS is everything. It’s not about what’s on trend, either. Just because everybody else in the healthcare space uses this CMS or this seems really, really secure, and we want to sound like the most secure hospital or health system or association possible, doesn’t mean that this website, your content-based website that engages with your audiences, has to tick all those boxes. What’s most important is that it’s able to communicate with your audiences and get them toward your business goals as quickly as possible.
Kadesha: We want to be able to help you with the strategic changes that really help you drive growth.
Brandies: Yeah, that’s the opportunity cost, right? Like even when you look at your staff, how long does it take you to do something that should take 10 minutes? How much more could they be doing for themselves, the business, and their own happiness, if they weren’t, you know, going through the heck and a hard fraught path through your hard CMS?
Kadesha: All right. Thank you so much.