Websites have become a business asset you can’t afford not to optimise. It is your shop front to the rest of the world. You must have a quality website if you are to survive in a competitive market.
While redesigning a website may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. This article will give you all the information you need to know and answer questions such as:
Why would I need to redesign my website?
How do I plan for a website redesign?
How long does a website redesign take?
Today we’re going to cover every aspect you must consider including design, technology, scalability (ensuring it can grow with your business once launched) and marketing systems, so that your new website will deliver you qualified prospects once you go live.
Your website lives in a space that is constantly changing. Technology, market demands, competitors and the business environment are all progressing at a rapid rate. It is therefore extremely important that your website continually evolves to survive.
There could be many reasons why you may be considering a website redesign. Here are seven common challenges that require a website redesign:
Your website is simply not hitting its objectives. You may have low conversion rates, few sales/business leads, or your site may not performing on Google for your businesses keywords and phrases.
While aesthetics are definitely not the only contributing factor to a website’s success, they are certainly important. First impressions do count. A well designed website should provide a great user experience allowing your visitors to navigate through your content with ease.
If your website analytics show a low number of page visits per session, there could be a design issue. It may not be clear to your website visitors what they are supposed to next – or simply they they do not find the content interesting.
In our opinion, good web design means understanding your visitors – and your business – deeply, then designing to meet both of their needs. Therefore the trick to good website design is striking the perfect balance between creativity and functionality.
Can you see any real benefit from your website? Perhaps you originally wanted your website to just provide you with an ‘online presence’ – a simple internet brochure for your company. That’s great, however you’re missing out on a big opportunity.
Your website should be one of (if not the) strongest marketing assets you own.
If you do not consider your website to be a real tool for your business then it’s time to think about a website redesign so you can reap the benefits of a high converting website that hits your business goals.
Does your company have a new logo? Perhaps you have recently undertaken a complete business rebrand? Either way, these are two massive elements that need to be reflected in your website’s design.
A company logo is normally the inspiration for many key elements. It influences colours, fonts and can have a dramatic impact on form. If your logo includes an interesting motif or mark, good web designers will look at subtle opportunities to introduce this into the site’s design so that your brand is reflected throughout.
A surprise inclusion in 2019, however, some business websites we come across today are still not mobile responsive (meaning your site will look great on desktop, tablet and smartphone).
Not only is this vital for providing an excellent user experience, it is also an important ranking factor for Google. Google will negatively mark your website if it isn’t mobile friendly and promote your competitor’s websites that are responsive, above yours.
Web technologies develop at an astonishing rate. It is not surprising then that some of programmes that your website was originally built with will be outdated, especially if you are not updating them regularly.
But here’s the cool part! This challenge is a great opportunity. What internet advancements have been made that your company could benefit from? Website chatbots; Content A/B split testing; Personalised content experiences.
If you have new products or services, your website organisation may need to be modified.
Likewise, if you’re looking to enter a new market with a new target audience, this is a good reason to assess your current website as you may need to redesign it to ensure you’re providing that market with content and features so your business can be a success.
If your website is experiencing any of the above challenges, then it’s time to think about redesign…right now!
The general consensus amongst industry professionals is that your website should be redeveloped every three years.
It’s important to state that three years is a rule of thumb. Specific developments within your industry and developments in search engine algorithms may prompt you to do it more often. Of course, you must also pay attention to the competition as you’ll see in the redesign strategy outlined below.
Let’s look at your plan of action. As this is a redesign, the good news is we’re not starting from scratch. The process does, however, start with an honest look at your existing website, as there is a lot we can learn that will fuel a successful redevelopment.
We need to look at what’s working and what’s not. Where are site visitors finding value and where they bypassing. Are there pages on your site that are currently performing well, taking site visitors and turning them into paying customers? Are there pages which receive little or no traffic? Below are some of the things you can test to provide valuable data that will help you plan your redesign.
So what do you need to know about your visitors? You need to know what gets them excited, what turns them off and how you can turn that excitement into website conversions
A good place to start is by looking at your analytics software.
A popular analytics tool is Google Analytics. In fact, if you are already using this tool, we would recommend you keep it. While it maybe a free tool, don’t let that fool you in to thinking it’s of little value.
The software is really powerful and can be used to provide you with valuable audience insight. You will be able to determine popular content on your website, how people interact with it, how long they spent on each page and the journey users take, from site entry to where they exit.
Remember, the goal is not to redo everything. On the contrary, well-performing content needs to kept. An example of this would be if you have a popular blog post that receives a lot of traffic and is a direct entry point into your website (rather than the homepage).
Click-maps also provide really useful actionable data. Whereas web analytics software tells you what links your visitors click on, click-maps show you where site visitors are (or aren’t) clicking.
Use tools such as Crazy Egg or Hotjar to see how users interact with you content. If you have long web pages, are people scrolling through all of the content or is there a drop off? Are visitors trying to click things that aren’t clickable, such as images? You’ll be able to discover what parts of each page are getting the most attention and structure your content to maximise their interest.
For this you need to look at the original goals for your website.
Your competitors will also know how important their website is. Have a look their websites. What are they doing that you’re not? Ideally, you want to emulate what they are doing well and avoid what they are doing badly.
Another really good place to gain valuable information to assist with your website redesign is your existing customers. Talk to them, you want to find out:
This is the most important part of this planning stage.
Marketing must be at the heart of your website’s design. You may be running many different digital campaigns but ultimately everything is channelled back through a single point: your website. Therefore having strategies in place to convert site visitors into customers is essential.
The first port of call when devising your marketing strategy is always your target audience. You need to understand your buyer personas.
Buyer personas go beyond demographics. They are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer. You need to have a deep understanding of your target audiences including their:
This information is key to shaping your message and your value proposition.
Every page on your website should have a purpose. What call-to-actions (CTAs) are you going to use? In most cases, the primary CTA is to purchase a product, contact the business directly for a quote, initiate a discovery call or arrange a face-to-face meeting. What if the website visitor is at a different stage of the buyers journey? You need to plan in secondary call-to-actions so you can capture their details before they leave your website and plan your marketing system to nurture them until they are ready to buy.
Finally you need to plan your website marketing funnels. These are series of strategically planned steps. Each step is designed to take a site visitor to the next one. The final goal is typically to make a sale.
Think of your website as a house. both are built with many different components, but if these components aren’t organised properly…guess what! it falls down. To successfully redesign your site you need to look at your existing content structure and undertake an audit.
As with all aspects of redesign strategy, think of your target clients. What type of information or products do they want and how can you get them there as quickly as possible?
It’s time to think about how your site is going to look. This includes fonts, colour and form – as mentioned above, this is often lead by your business logo.
You need to look at your content and determine how many page templates you are you going to need. While it may seem like a great idea to have a bespoke design for each page you run the risk of creating a bit of a ‘dog’s dinner’.
You want to develop a visual syntax that’s consistent throughout the site.
You need to think about how many page templates your website will need and this will vary depending on the type of business. A good way to assess this is to look at your content. Certain types of content needs to be displayed the same each time, such as product pages or blog posts. Therefore you would have a blog post template design and a product page template design.
You’ll also likely to have some standalone pages that will have their own design template. These would be pages such as the homepage, about page, contact details, campaign landing and service pages.
There are different approaches to the design process, but our favoured route is as follows.
Starting with mood boards is a great way to discover looks, themes and ideas on how the website redesign could be realised. Look at different photography styles, typography, uses of shape/colour and different layouts.
Wire-framing allows you to think through the problems and solutions at a structural level. We always use the analogy that we should understand how to build the house before we paint it.
The design process then involves combining the use of imagery, colour, shapes, typography, and form to enhance usability and improve the user experience.
While it’s not always necessary, we typical move from flat artwork to a prototype which, in terms of web design, is an simple interactive mockup of your new site. This allows you to get a good understanding of the functionality, user journey and website flow.
It’s time for developers to jump in. The prototype can be coded and all the page templates built, ensuring the website is fully functional.
Before you launch, there are few important checks you need to make:
Make sure you properly set up your 301 redirects, this is really important for SEO as it tells Google where pieces of content have moved to.
Finally, go back to the list of website goals you made in the planning stage and set up goals in Google Analytics so you can monitor your progress once the site launches.
The whole process listed here, from research and planning to going live, on average takes between four to six weeks for smaller sites.
Larger enterprise sites may take longer, depending on the scope and scale of the project.
The key to an efficient website redesign is planning.
So lets recap and give you a list of actions to get your website redesign underway:
How much does it cost to build an effective website that delivers for your business in 2019? That is the question and this guide will give you the answers.
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