Your website is a business tool.
It’s a sales pitch, a business card, a display for products/services, an advertisement, and a listing. Each of these functions is essential to your brand and your success both online and off.
When you think about your website this way, the design becomes more important than ever. You may even start rethinking your entire look, or maybe you have been for some time.
If you’re at this stage, there are some essentials you must keep in mind for the best outcome. These will help you design the best website possible for a powerful home base on the web.Your website is a business tool, a sales pitch, a business card, a display for products/services, an advertisement, and a listing. It's essential to your brand and your success both online and off. Click To Tweet
A website redesign accomplishes a few things for your business on different levels. It can make your site more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, and improve your marketing as a result.
There are some basic considerations to think about before you dive in, though. Here are the things you should consider before moving forward with a website redesign.
8 things to review before a website redesign
- Analyze what works and what doesn’t
- Establish clear goals
- Know your users
- Check out the competition
- Review your website content
- Hit the SEO checkpoints
- Is it responsive & mobile-friendly?
- Evaluate your CMS
Now, let’s dive into each of these considerations.
1. Analyze What’s Working and What Isn’t
Before you can make smart changes to your website design, you need to decide which aspects and features to change.
What parts of your design are working? Use analytics to see what your visitors find valuable, and what they don’t. The stuff that’s not working is expendable – you can and should either get rid of it or improve it.
Your website design directly affects your online marketing performance, so using analytics to make smart decisions is a must. What pages aren’t getting visited? What CTAs aren’t getting clicked? Gather these bits of information to help you make the important decisions about your new site’s design.
2. Set SMART Goals
Every project needs goals, and your website redesign should be no different. Specifically, you need to set goals for how well your website works for SEO & marketing, not just how nice it looks or how flashy it is.
That’s not to say that a good overall look doesn’t help marketing efforts – it does. However, if you focus only on looks and forget about function, you’re totally missing the point.
A simple website that works seamlessly for the user is far preferable to the alternative. A website stuffed with visual features and fancy code will inevitably have issues. (Think slow loading times, hard-to-find navigation, or confusing page links.) All those things will frustrate the visitor, which is the last thing you want to do. When you work with Thrive, we’ll help you through this process.
How to Set Goals for Your Website Redesign
- Use numbers if you can. Maybe you want to double your website visitors or website leads or increase them by a certain percentage.
- Make specific design goals that aren’t too vague. For instance, “it should look better” doesn’t help much, whereas “it should have a clean, modern look with lots of white space” is very helpful.
- Mention specific functionalities. Maybe you want more calls to action, more quick and easy forms for users to fill out, a rotating testimonial slider, etc.
3. Research Your Users/Target Audience
To create the best website for your users, you have to know who they are and what they like.
What are their preferences? What’s their browsing style? What keywords are they using? All this information will help you create the best redesign for them and their needs.
Create Effective Buyer Personas
Learn how to target the right user online.
4. Check Out Your Competition
Looking at your competition is a great way to see what others in your industry are doing, and how you could potentially do better.
If your competitor is really successful, try to figure out why that is. What are they doing with their website that you’re not? It can help to pretend you’re a customer and look at it from that angle, then compare your two sites. Note specific areas where you’re lagging and set goals to improve them for the redesign.
5. Review and Refresh Your Content
A website overhaul is a perfect excuse to create a new content strategy, too.
Your design and your content work together, after all. A fresh approach to content can help further propel you to new heights. Here are a few ideas:
- Single out old, outdated blogs that you could update and/or rewrite for better leads
- Set up a new publishing schedule based on best practices for user engagement
- Look at the content that’s performing well and use it as a template for developing future content
6. Hit SEO Checkpoints
Your website redesign is going to boost your marketing, so you need to be discoverable more than ever. SEO is ultra-important at this stage for this purpose.
There are many ways to optimize your site for SEO during a website redesign:
- Make sure you have well-written page titles, meta descriptions, and permalinks for all your content
- Design content for readability and include headers and subheaders
- Target the right keywords on all your landing pages
- Check site loading times and make them as minimal as possible
We put together a pre-launch SEO checklist (with an infographic) for times like these.
7. Make Sure It’s Responsive
The statistics are clear: In 2016, mobile browsing bypassed desktop browsing, and it has only continued to increase since then. Users are on their phones and tablets checking out your site, so you have to make sure it’s up to the task.
This means your website needs to be responsive – It has to be able to reconfigure itself based on the user’s screen size and device. Visitors expect this more and more from their browsing experience, and if you don’t have it, they’ll look elsewhere.
Website design responsiveness will also boost your SEO, so don’t neglect it. At Thrive, we only design responsive websites, so don’t worry about this when you work with us!
8. Evaluate Your CMS
The CMS (content management system) you choose will limit what you can do with your site build and redesign. The platform for your website needs to balance options and capabilities with the goals you’re trying to meet.
Which benefits and features do you need to deliver the right experience to your customers online? Which can you do without?
In general, we recommend WordPress as a great all-around content management system (CMS) and website platform.
A Website Redesign Takes Planning and Strategy
If you need a website refresh, don’t just focus on looks. Instead, you should be honing in on both design and functionality for the best marketing results.
You also need to take a step back and narrow down how to carry out your redesign. Set goals, understand your user, rethink your content, look at the competition, and make it responsive and SEO-friendly.
The way your website functions as a whole will help you meet your business goals. It will work as a virtual business card, brand advertisement, lead generator, product/services showcase, and more.
Look at the top eight considerations for your redesign, define your path, and get moving.
If you need guidance on the journey to a website redesign, a digital marketing agency like Thrive can help. Let us improve your design and functionality for a site that delivers the results you want!