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Why You Should Use PPC Before You Redesign Your Next Website


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Yes, you heard it right. Using the power of Paid Search as a tool to help build your next website or website redesign could be one of the best decisions you could have ever made. You may be asking yourself, how the hell is PPC gonna help my website or even my client’s website. Well, there are many tasks, as well as a centralized plan/strategy for measuring what is a success and what is too opaque, so let’s discuss.

Before you spend thousands of $$ dollars on a new website redesign or to even build a new website, you may want to consider spending a little R&D money to "get a feel" from the reaction of real live customers who would ultimately be the driving force for your companies online success.

HOW TO GET STARTED?
Well, I suggest is putting aside a $1,000 for a paid search testing budget. In this test, you would create 3-4 different landing pages, 3-4 different Ads/Creatives, massive keyword expansion for each specific product/service you want to test and have it all tagged with Web Analytics.

Ok, so for that $1,000 Investment, what do I need to do "tactically" to make this happen. Well, first of all you will need to go through the following Setup Phases:

  • Website Functionality (minimal)
  • Paid Search Setup (ads, keywords, top products/services)
  • Landing Page Setup (how to differentiate)
  • What did we learn and how to use it

WEBSITE FUNCTIONALITY:

For this test, you will need to, at the very least have the bare bones functionality of a cart and checkout process (if commerce) or if (lead based), a functioning online form, with validation. No matter what you provide visitors, you MUST have a "thank you" page of sorts to track that a success event has been made and tying that event to a specific message or attribute of the landing page.

PAID SEARCH SETUP PHASE:

  1. Choose your Top 5 products/categories/services, etc…
  2. Perform very extensive keyword expansion with negatives.
  3. Create 3-4 completely different Ads/Creatives for each Adgroup
  4. Create 3-4 different Landing Pages (which all have different designs, color schemes and offers.
  5. Add/Implement Analytics code on every Landing Page
  6. Let initial test run for at least 2 weeks to get enough sample size.

WHAT ABOUT THE LANDING PAGE?
Building these landing pages is crucial to your success. This is where the visitor gets to see what you are about and how you present your business. So coming up with an attractive color scheme that is "easy on the eyes" and most importantly provides sensible USABILITY functions that enables the visitor to have a good experience on your website. Furthermore, there are many landing page optimization tools out there that can make this even easier for you.

Here are just a few examples of how you can differentiate your Landing Pages

  1. Color Scheme: Try different sets of colors in various places. (background, navigation bar, etc..)
  2. Content Layout: Test how content is perceived. This could be paragraphs vs. bullet lists. Depends on your product/service.
  3. Call To Action: Try adding prices, inventory information, offers, etc…
  4. Overall Layout: (1 column, 2 column, 3 column)
  5. Navigation: Try Footer, breadcrumbs, (ie. does too much affect anything)
  6. User Input Options: How many people are interested in signing up for an email newsletter?
  7. Survey: Add a survey on these landing pages to find out even more feedback. Winner receives $100 gift certificate or goes to a charity of their choice.

WHAT DID WE LEARN AND HOW TO USE IT
So, I have presented some ideas on how to use Paid Search and Landing Pages to determine what could be your next website. However, you may be uncertain as what the next step it. Even though there are many variables in this test which could or could not be the deciding factor in making a decision, you should at the very least start seeing some trends into what is better than the other. For example, if you noticed that having "prices" on the Ads and Landing Pages performed better than say a specific offer, then you have something. If you continue to compare and contrast, this will lead you towards a better idea on how to develop the website.

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CONCLUSION


A new website can be a very stressful and mind boggling experience in order to get it right right out of the gate, and I can promise you that never happens. Websites are constantly being redesigned and re-invented to try and keep everything new and fresh so that the customer or prospect keeps visiting the website. The examples I provided were not meant to be specific things you must do, but are simply examples of how to can think about this project. In the end, it is up to your business goals and objectives which will determine your success. But the true benefit of using PPC and landing pages is to get a general response to help you make better decisions before you unload a new website which will become the face of your company on the Internet.

Filed under: Online Strategy, Paid Search in General

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