Does your website suffer from “set it and forget it” syndrome? A website is the digital manifestation of your business and it requires review and re-design for continuous up-leveling of your brand. With the ever-changing landscape of technology, it is good to keep up with time. But as it is with everything else, you shouldn’t do it, just because others are doing it.
Begin by taking a step back and having a good look at your current website before you decide on a redesign. Does your website have clear navigation system? Does it have a steady stream of traffic? Does it offer good amount of leads?
The best way to proceed is to have a checklist aligning your business goals with your website goals and by strategizing the forethought success. Check out some of the questions that you need to ask yourself before you consider redesigning of your website.
1. Why do you want to redesign?
Get down to the specifics of it. Do you want to redesign because you are bored of the same old look? The reasons could be many, from your site not functioning well, you needing a more advanced site or for improving search engine rankings. Make a note of what your reasons are for wanting a re-design. Also, look into the business and branding side of it. Does your website represent your business accurately? Does it put forth the unique value proposition of your business? What is an overall purpose of your website? The more specific you get, the better. Map a blueprint and create a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goal for the redesign.
2. Define your needs
After you have defined your goals, the next step would be to define your needs. Make a list of all the additional/ new features, you need to add to your website. Set your budget and finalize your plan to go ahead with an agency or work with your in-house developers. Also, review where your website is currently being hosted and whether your hosting provider is offering a good service. Based on the answer you get, you can then decide on the best course of action for the redesigning.
3. What is not working with the current site?
Some elements of your current site might be working very well and some may not. Find out: what absolutely does not function well on your website? Is the navigation system of your website user-friendly? Is the home page well-designed? Divide the different components of your website into three columns: 1. Items that work really well, 2. Items that work well but may need redesign, and 3. items that definitely need redesigning. Once you have a clear understanding, you can then start on the process.
4. How is your website’s functionality?
Is your site multi-browser compatible? Is it compatible with mobile? Check things like if you need to run more than one website from one CMS. Do you want to run ads on your site? Will your website require third-party integration services? Depending on your line of business, you would need to ensure that your website meets the latest standard of functionality.
5. How Is Your Site Being Used?
Take a look at how users are interacting with your site. This can help you identify problem areas. You will get information about entry and exit pages, sales conversions and search engine keywords from your traffic statistics and site analytics. With this, you can analyze how visitors find your site and what they do once they have landed on your site. Understand how you can persuade your visitors to take desired action on your website and ensure that in your website redesigning, you are implementing the plug-ins and updates which would help transform browsers into buyers.
6. When to Launch Your Redesign?
Like with everything else, timing is a key element here, too. Relaunching your website around the holidays or during the start of a big promotion can draw traffic and generate interest. If you have changed your brand or company image/logo then those changes should reflect on your site before you launch your redesigned website.
7. What common redesign mistakes to avoid
Sudden changes in functionality, looks and features may be a little difficult to adapt for some users. Try not to make too many changes suddenly and keep the main elements of your site similar to your current site. If any page URLs are changed, make sure they are redirected via 301 redirects. Tie up all the loose ends before going live.