In today’s online world, it is not enough just to have a website – marketing experts agree that your website should be worked on and improved on a regular basis in order to attract visitors seeking relevant and useful information, services and/or products.
Below are ten tips that can guide you in undertaking a successful redesign of your site:
Set Strategic Goals
Instead of blindly jumping in to make changes your site, it is important that you think things through clearly by defining the purpose of the redesign. Jot down what your aim is. Is it to make the site more user-friendly, to better showcase your products and services, or do you want to offer visitors more informational text and/or photos?
Do Some Research
You would not change the look of your home’s interior without first consulting family members or looking through design magazines for ideas. The same should hold true when you set out to change your website. Do some research to find out how your site is doing traffic-wise and how it is perceived by visitors. Consider putting up some online surveys or usability tests before making any changes. Once you get a good picture of how your site is currently being used, you can then formulate a plan to make the proper changes to improve the user experience.
Take Control of the Redesign Project
Redesigning your website may require some outside help. Therefore, you will need to set a budget and see to it that it is adhered to. You should also set up a time line which clearly outlines when certain aspects of your site should be modified. You need to be on top of the entire project, so be prepared to organize people, the details and the work flow.
Take a Good Hard Look at Your Content
Now that you are undertaking a website redesign, it is time to look at your content. After getting some feedback from your site visitors, you know what it is that your users expect out of your site. Write some fresh content so that your visitors are given up-to-date and useful information. New, unique content also acts as ‘link bait’ which helps build external links to your pages. Optimized content is what the search engines thrive on, so weed out any weak content and replace it with something fresh and interesting.
Consider Your Site’s Usability
Site usability is a buzzword that is used a lot, but do you know what it means? In short, usability refers to how easily a visitor can get around your website, in other words – how usable it is. If someone has to hunt around for information such as your contact details and your ‘home’ link, then your site has a usability issue in its design which must be addressed.
Check Your Site’s Speed
When it comes to web design, one of the most important aspects is the speed of your site. Your visitors will leave very quickly if they have to wait over 10 seconds for a page to load. There are various free online tools that check the speed of your site. Google recently announced something that many in the SEO community already suspected: that the search engine will now consider site speed when ranking results. If your website takes too long to load, you may find yourself slipping in the search engine result pages (SERPS). Increasing the speed of your site may involve changing hosts or it could mean that you should look at a new publishing platform. It could even mean that you have to undertake a complete overhaul of the type and format of your site’s content.
Check your Site’s Meaning/Message
One of the most aggravating things when surfing the web is to land on a page and not being able to figure out what the website is about. Usually, these sites are rather ‘artsy’ in nature meaning that the design may look very appealing but you have to dig in order to find out the point of the website. Be sure that your visitors know immediately what your site is about when they arrive because if you don’t, they will leave in a flash.
Have A Back-up of Your Old Site
Before making any drastic changes to your website, be sure that you keep a backup file of the present site. In case your new website design fails to draw more traffic, then the old site can be reloaded.
Create Clear Contact Us and Informational Pages
To assist with local search results, be sure that you provide detailed address and contact information. If your products can be found in local stores, be sure that you convey this on your site. This will make it easy for your targeted audience and customers to interact and do business with you.
Test your Redesign
In order to be certain that the new design works, have a few people test your layout. You can post a ‘sneak preview’ on your home page a few weeks before launching the new design so that you can received feedback in order to ‘tweak’ your site so that it is designed as best as it can be.
These tips should give you a bit of guidance when you are considering a website redesign. If you think your users are used to your website content and layout, but it could do with some improvements to the overall usability, then introduce small changes gradually.