The Ulimate Website Makeover: An interview with Brian Lewis



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Digital expert Brian Lewis shares his insights about website redesign and the user experience.

You know you need to do it. Are you hesitant to spend some bucks on a website redesign, unsure if it will increase traffic and revenues? What’s the right focus, you ask? It’s all about improving the user experience! The goal is a conversion optimization.

We interviewed Brian Lewis, CEO of Wolfhound Interactive, to get his insights on what’s important for niche publishers to understand about their websites, before they take the plunge on redesign:

NMHQ:  First of all, what do niche publishers need to understand about “visitor intent”? 

Brian: “The core of visitor intent is first identifying the different classes of visitor to your site that share common characteristics. You want to know what makes them tick – the context of the visit, their motivations, biases and their goals in interacting on your site. You need to take a step back, forget what you know about your site, content and your business objectives and look at the visit experience from the lens of your visitor. It’s not an easy task, but once you’ve really managed to walk a mile in your visitors’ shoes, you’ll be best equipped to look at your site from a different perspective, and you’ll begin to see opportunities to make changes that will ultimately lead to realizing your business goals, whether that’s increasing visitor engagement, newsletter signups, subscribers or attracting more advertising revenue.”

NMHQ: What are some common mistakes you see in website redesigns? 

Brian: “Unfortunately, many web marketers are guilty of thinking a website is their showcase to  “wow” the visitor with an overabundance of visual elements and a non-standard user interface that looks cool, but requires the visitor to learn how to use the site. Professional looking aesthetics that match your brand is very important, but don’t overlook the additional factors that determine how effective your site is – clear messaging, ease of use, establishing trust & credibility and aligning the site to your visitor’s needs.”

NMHQ: Can you share some real-world examples of how fine-tuning a few core elements can boost engagement and ROI?

Brian: “Our clients typically require us to sign NDAs (they don’t want their competitors stealing the reasons for their newfound success), however, based on the current state of the site, it’s not atypical to see improvements in engagement (pages viewed/visit and average time on site) in the range of 50%-200%, and new subscriber conversion rate increases of 15%-50%.”

NMHQ: What new developments do you see coming in the future, in terms of user-experience?

Brian: “The biggest change and opportunity we’re now experiencing is the use of personalization to create unique visit experiences depending on a host of variables. The ability to serve up specific content that is most relevant to each visitor is a tremendous leap in digital marketing and has proven to not only create a much more enriching visit experience, but also support the site’s business objectives. Most of the personalization is based on a visitor’s current or past visit behavior, but could also tie in exogenous factors such the location the visitor is browsing from and the weather, for example.”

Editor’s note: Brian will  be leading the session, User Experience Ain’t What You Thought It Was! at the Niche Digital Conference in Denver, Sept. 19-21.

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More about Brian: Brian Lewis is Founder & CEO of Wolfhound Interactive, a digital marketing agency specializing in optimizing the web visitor experience to increase clients’ online revenues. Brian speaks at conferences around the world on digital marketing and has numerous articles published in industry publications including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

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Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. Next up? The Niche Digital Conference in Denver, Sept. 19-21. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – is launching the all new Super Niche Event, March 27-29, 2017. Check it out!

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