Redesigning your website is the perfect opportunity to fix user experience issues, ditch bad habits, and re-introduce yourself to Google.
A high-quality website is now one of the most basic requirements expected from consumers. Every business needs a website. Websites have the ability to:
- Increase sales
- Generate leads
- Build trust in your audience
- Give your business expert status
Write yourself a solid plan. This will help you to avoid numerous mistakes that can so easily be made during the design process. Here are a few of them:
The ultimate mistake at number one:
- Not having a solid plan
Jumping straight in, deleting pages, moving elements around, adapting styles and so on, is only going to get you so far. This is when you’ll start to realise the mistakes created and it’s very hard to go back on them.
Your website can and should deliver on your business objectives.
Physically write down your goals for the site. Does it need to generate more leads? Or do you want it to save you time wasted on admin that could be easily automated? Or both and more?
Your redesign should be driven by data.
Write a list of what you do and don’t like about your current site. Then ask your customers. Send out surveys to your current customers and to people who have never clicked on your site before.
Informing your business peers and family that you’re going to redo your site will give them an opportunity to say what they really think about it.
Review your competitors’ sites and evaluate what seems to be working well for them and what isn’t so much. Use this to inform your site map.
From here, roughly draw out a site map so you can see the flow of your pages and how they might interact with each other.
Function and design are key elements in user experience and user interface. Things like navigation and colours all affect the timeframe of the project and budget.
Target audience should also be factored into your plan. You might want to draw out a second plan documenting the customer journey.
- Ignoring the real reasons why your site needs a redesign
When people see the word ‘design’ they think about surface level looks. If you’re redesigning your site because it simply looks outdated, you may need to go back to your plan.
Other reasons you should redesign your website are:
- it’s not recording valuable data and leads
- it isn’t communicating your company message clearly
- your target audience has changed
- Google isn’t noticing it
- it isn’t responsive on mobiles and tablets
- the content isn’t engaging your target audience
- there are issues with navigation
- Neglecting content creation
People come to your site to find out more. They want clear, useful information so they can very quickly understand what you do and how you can help them. They are the hero in their customer journey and your business should act as a guide to help them to success.
Websites should be concise and informative. Content should be written before you even get on to the visual elements. Words inform design. Make sure you’ve put enough time into them.
To add to your content, you can also make use of graphics, testimonials, explainer videos, downloads and more.
And then there’s SEO.
Many people feel overwhelmed by search engine optimisation but much of it comes down to common sense. If you were viewing another company’s website, what would make it difficult to read?
If you can focus on simply satisfying your visitors, rather than focusing on Google crawlers looking for the most satisfying SEO for bots, then this should get you by.
You can Google simple rules to easily follow that will please both humans and bots. Keeping 80% of your sentence under 20 words and paragraphs very short and sweet is one such rule. Another is using alt text to optimise images.
Top tip: FAQ pages will boost SEO as they will feature digestible answers to visitors’ frequently asked questions. This will please Google crawlers and potential customers.
- Thinking your site is for you
It’s not. Never will be. Your website serves your customers. It’s there for them to make informed choices, learn more about you, and gain support.
Redesigning your website based on what you want it to look like or function will rarely go in your favour. You are not your customer.
What do your customers want to see? Refer back to your solid plan under ‘target audience’.
- Forgetting to benchmark before you redesign
You cannot track how well your new site performs if you do not know how your current site is performing.
If there’s nothing to measure against, you might not notice that your old site’s FAQ page was performing better than the new one, for instance.
You should measure and compare your new site’s stats to your old site’s stats. Here are a few bits of data to consider:
- Bounce rate
- All-time page views
- Page views per month
- Page views per session
- Monthly visitors
- Customer actions
- Top traffic channels
- Most searched queries on Google
- Striving for perfection
Online, nothing stays the same for very long. It could take you months to redesign your site and by the time it comes to launch, there are already new trends and algorithms.
Perfection isn’t necessary. Just make sure your site works and looks good. Then launch. Once you launch, you can go back in and tweak. Just because you’ve shared your new website with the world doesn’t mean that’s the end of its development.
You should review your site every few months and keep adjusting it.
- Leaving your new site to gather dust
As mentioned in mistake number 6, just because your site is now launched, doesn’t mean you can just leave it to do its thing.
Keep testing it, keep surveying customers and friends, keep up with SEO standards, and keep adding more content.
For your business’s sake, your new site needs to be maintained and edited. You’ll need to review its security level, responsiveness, optimisation, and compatibility. We offer support and maintenance plans to all our customers to ensure your site is in its peak performance.