Creating and launching a website itself can be hard, time-consuming and stressful. Making the decision to redesign an old website is an even harder one. However, it happens more often than you’d think.
We all know that websites need to live up to expectations, both from the site’s owner and visitors. There’s also maintenance and the constant need for shifts and re-calibrations since the digital realm changes at a rapid pace. If a website can’t deliver or gets old, redesigning it might be the right decision to make.
At other times, it’s not really about the way it navigates or holds up in competition. It’s more about the sheer looks. Or, let’s say, the business has gone through a major change and needs a completely new online approach or a different style to represent their brand.
Whatever the cause might be, people are mainly hesitant when it comes to redesigning their existing website. Why? Well, professionals estimate that the vast majority of business owners aren’t really satisfied with the outcome of their website redesign.
Why, you ask?
Well, there can a lot of things which ruin their experience, but in most cases, it’s the lack of adequate planning which makes things go south.
That being said, before business owners make the decision of redesigning their website, they must know their goals, the amount of money they are willing to invest in the process and who to partner with. Also, setting an acceptable time frame to get the work done can be a smart thing too.
So, before you dive in head-first into the entire redesigning process, make sure you follow this little blueprint we’ve compiled for you to make sure you’ll be satisfied with the outcome.
Inspect your website and establish future goals
Before starting your project, it’s always a good idea to give your current site a thorough look and go from there. How is it performing currently? Does it need any improvement? Does it need to load faster? Am I running all the latest features that are necessary for the industry I’m in (let’s say, online reservations if you’re running a restaurant website)? What’s my average visitor count per month, what’s my monthly bounce rate, what’s the average number of leads I get every month? Which are my best performing keywords? Are my links looking okay? How my sales are doing?
By getting familiar with the metrics you can see where you need improvement and create your redesign plan according to the numbers you want to improve. Your main focus should be adding value to your business. Also, keep on eye on your competitors and how their websites perform.
In short, you can create goals like
- Increasing sales
- Increase lead generation
- Decreasing bounce rate and improve the average time that your visitors spend on your site
- Earning new customers
- Better backlink generation
- Introducing new features to improve user-experience
Having these goals defined is utterly important since it can give you and your designers a better view of what you really want and how you all should go about executing it.
Planning is crucial not just because of your satisfaction but because of your visitors’ too. According to a study from Stanford University, 75 percent of people judge business credibility based on website design and functionality.
It’s almost self-explanatory really. If you have a website that’s difficult to navigate or slow-loading, your visitors will most likely abandon it. If these are things that are plaguing your website, it’s time for a refresh.
Also, old features, outdated looks need to be taken care of. If your website isn’t flexible enough and doesn’t support vital plugins and features, you’re losing potential clients and money.
All that being said, having your goals set right from the start is crucial since it will anchor you and give you direction where to go next in the redesigning process.
Set your budget
Knowing how much you want to spend on the entire process should also be planned out in advance. First thing first: if you want to spend as little as possible, you’ll probably end up with something that won’t suit all your needs and you’ll be dissatisfied.
No matter if you just want a slight refresh or a total overhaul with copywriting, you need to be realistic when it comes to these costs.
That being said, it’s hard to say how much will you have to pay in the end, because budgets vary depending on your needs and goals to your web development team’s fees.
One thing is for sure, pricing will be the same as it is with most service-based businesses (time vs. cost).
Pick a partner
Whether you are doing your redesign in-house or you want to start the project with a professional agency, it’s good to do your research first and see who is the best suited to pull off the job within your budget range and goals.
Ask for recommendations, do your research online or ask other business owners about who they worked with in the past and about their experiences.
If you seek to partner up with an agency, make sure to research their work, take a thorough look at their portfolio.
Meet up with them and discuss your goals, ideas and generally, tell them about your ideas about your website redesign.
Make sure that the agency you are working with has the necessary staff you need. UX, UI designers, content managers, etc.
Check out every agency you hear about then pick the one that best suits your needs.
Inspect your content
Review the content you currently have on your website. Content is still king when it comes to search engine rankings and you shouldn’t overlook the importance of it when you are redesigning your website.
Have your web development team check those current pages that generate the most traffic, the most searched keywords, inbound links and such and see where your current content can add value to your redesigned site.
What this means is that quality content will most probably stay on your refreshed website and the poorly-written or outdated blogs will probably be scraped.
Remember, content isn’t only important because of your rankings. It’s also the strongest link that connects you to your visitors and customers.
No matter how you look at it, quality content is a must for your website redesign
Keep your users in mind
We’ve already mentioned the importance of connecting with your audience. Well, if the content is one of the two main things you can have a positive impact on your costumers than user-experience is the other.
That being said, you want an engaging site that’s easy to navigate with clear direction and inspiring content. Also, set your calls-to-action right to make sure that the more your visitors stay on your page to more likely they become leads or make purchases.
Make sure to create an easy-to-use website with personalized content, easy and safe login options.
Also, don’t forget that your site must be optimized for all devices across the board. This means that your site must perform smoothly not just on laptops and desktops but on mobile devices too, like phones and tablets.
Optimize for mapping and engines
To keep your visitors on your new site, you need to create one that will have a straightforward and easily understandable layout so your visitors can navigate through it with ease.
A great sitemap can give them direction on where to go next. These maps create relationships between your pages and other website components. This isn’t important only because of user-experience. Google also uses this info to create an opinion about how your website works along with each of its elements.
Make CTA buttons visible, categorize your sub-pages and map out your website the best way possible.
Also, make sure that your development team also uses the latest practices to optimize your website for search engines. Since you’re already going back to the drawing board, it’s a great opportunity to clean up dead links, optimize savable content and pages.
To sum it up
All in all, redesigning your current website shouldn’t be a daunting task especially if you have clear goals regarding your redesign efforts. It’s important to inspect every aspect of your current website and see what’s savable and what needs to be scrapped. Also, make a list of the things you want to achieve with the new launch, the features you want to implement and don’t forget to determine your budget too.
Then, find yourself a team that can pull off the job with ease. During the redesign process, make sure to meet up with them to see how things are going. If changes are needed, it will be easier to adapt this way, and you won’t be surprised in the end.
Like with most things in life, communication is the key. If you don’t communicate your ideas, you can bet that your developers will have a hard time figuring out what you want from your website.