How To Make Your Website Redesign Provide Better Results
How to Redesign a Website
“We need a website redesign.”
Ever since the Google Algorithm Update of April 2015 we hear that a lot. It seems half of our clients contact us to help them get a mobile-first online presence in 2018 and beyond. That is not entirely surprising once you realize 98% of small to medium businesses have not upgraded or updated their website in 5 or more years. If that includes you a website redesign is beginning to make sense.
There are hundreds of reasons for redesigning your website. Common reasons include an outdated website or wanting to add the latest web design trends. Maybe your competitor got a recent upgrade. Or maybe your website is simply not converting very well any more. And there are countless other reasons for a website redesign. Our favorite is “My wife doesn’t like the color any more.”
However, staring any website redesign without setting goals is not a smart thing to do. We have seen too many clients focus and get distracted by shiny objects and not focusing on the priorities specific to their business presence. Yes, having that latest must-have item on your website is a great idea, as long as it is not the only thing you consider in your website redesign.
The best website redesign projects start well before the design and development stage. Maybe you are doing this in-house. Others of you are working with a web design agency. Regardless of who you are working with to change your business website into something that works for your business, these tips will help you avoid mistakes and errors along the way.
8 Questions You Must Answer Before Your Website Redesign
1 – How Is Your Current Business Website Performing?
Prior to redesigning your website, it’s critical to first carefully check your current business website. Determine what it is you like and dislike about the present site. And don’t do this on your own. It will be much more valuable if you involve your team, existing clients and customers, and even your website visitors. One excellent way for polling your audience is creating a survey on SurveyMonkey. This will give the basic strategy for your website redesign.
Some important metrics to benchmark are:
- Search Ranking
- Page Load Speed
- Traffic Volume
- Bounce Rate
- Time Spent on Site
- Visitor Engagement
- Conversion Rate
- Total Sales / Conversions
- User Experience
- User Satisfaction
Keep in mind that these metrics are not the only ones. Each industry or business has its own individual metrics and requirements. Be sure you carefully look at all the metrics in your specific industry or market place before you start redesigning your website. What works for Millennials you may not appeal to an older generation.
2 – Why Do You Need (Rather Than Want) to Redesign Your Website?
Simply redesigning your website because you feel like it may not be a very good idea! If you have an effective business website that meets the expectations of your target audience is adding that latest design trend really that important?
You must have a genuine reason for a website redesign. Use the information you gathered by conducting a survey about your website to decide how you can do better. In addition to a simple website redesign you may need to increase brand awareness, improve your content marketing, or adjust your SEO strategy.
Answer these questions and you can drill down to the real reasons why you need to redesign your website:
- Are you providing a mobile-friendly user experience?
- Are you getting enough website and search traffic?
- Are your website visitors following your journey of conversion?
- Are you getting enough conversions?
- Do you have a high bounce rate?
- Are you making it easy for your website visitors to find what they are looking for?
- Is your unique value proposition immediately clear to visitors?
- Are you using effective calls to action (CTAs)?
- Can you easily update your current website?
- Are you satisfied with your current content management system (CMS)?
- Are you faced with limitations to what you can do with your current website?
3 – What Are The Specific Goals for Your Website Redesign?
Simply setting out on a website redesign because you feel like it is really not a good idea. No matter how you go about it, redesigning your website will be a fairly complex and time-consuming project. There are many different website redesign considerations that can affect your project. In order to eventually check if your redesign was actually effective it helps to set some measurable goals.
What do results look like to you, and how can you measure them? One way is to organize key targets and attach them to a particular achievement metric. For example, “to increase website conversions by 10% in the next six months.” While redesigning your website alone can’t ensure actual results establishing some KPIs will help keep you on track.
4 – What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
As you check your competitors as well as your own website you will get a better idea of what makes your business different from them. This is known as your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). During your website redesign make sure that your USP is easily identified.
What makes you different, better, tastier, or simply more fun than the next guy (or gal)? That is the type of info your potential consumers are looking for. So don’t limit yourself! Place your unique selling or value proposition on every page that describes who you are, and what you do.
5 – How Effective Is Your Current Content Strategy?
As part of your website redesign you may want to make a better content strategy and information architecture part of the process. This is a great opportunity to test your existing content and decide if it still meets the expectations of your target audience. This includes evaluating the different types of content on your website. As consumer expectations and browsing behaviors change your content must as well.
Numerous studies have shown that brands that blog get 63% more traffic and 97% more inbound connections than brands that don’t blog. Redesigning your website is a great opportunity to add a blog if you do not have one already. An active blog with engaging content will benefit both your website visitors as well as your SEO rankings.
A website redesign also gives you the opportunity to improve your internal linking. Be sure to link your page content to relevant blog posts. Likewise, linking to other relevant site content from your blog posts not only makes it easier for your visitors to explore; it also helps your SEO ranking.
Here are some content related questions that must part of your website redesign:
- Do you have an established content strategy and information architecture?
- Do you regularly edit and update your content, including removing outdated content?
- What type of content is the most appealing to your target audience?
- Are you reusing your evergreen content effectively?
- Are you repurposing your content to make it go further?
- Are your website visitors consuming more than one piece of content at a time?
- Do you follow a regular blogging or publishing schedule?
- Are you using a variety of content styles and formats?
- Are you promoting your content on other websites, social networks, or directories?
- Do you guest blog or publish content on other websites?
6 – What Are The SEO Implications of a Website Redesign?
As you are redesigning your website you need to consider some important SEO implications. In many cases redesigning your website will involve changing, removing, and updating existing content. This means that you need to let search engines know where content has moved to, and how to deal with missing content through the proper use of 301 redirects.
Not only is it important to create 301 redirects so you don’t lose any of your SEO rankings. Your existing site visitors may have bookmarked certain posts or pages. By changing your page structure and site map those bookmarks are no longer correct. Using redirects you will still offer a great user experience.
If you have a WordPress website we recommend using Yoast Premium, a highly rated SEO plugin. Yoast Premium allows you to create redirects directly from your content or dashboard. No need to deal with pesky bits of code. And the Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an excellent tool for identifying broken links and other SEO issues on your website.
Finally, a website redesign is an excellent opportunity for updating or enhancing your search strategy. Take a look at your existing keywords and phrases and decide how well they are performing. Changes in your industry or business can mean that keywords and phrases have changed as well. By updating them you can stay on the top of search results.
Here are some SEO related questions you should ask yourself as part of your website redesign:
- Are you using Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools?
- When was the last time you performed a comprehensive SEO audit?
- When was the last time you updated your keywords and phrases?
- Are you using focus keywords and phrases in your existing content?
- Are you following best practices for on-page and on-site SEO?
- Is your website performing well in search for your keywords and phrases?
- Are you using keywords and phrases in your page titles and URLs?
- Are you using keywords and phrases in your image titles and ALT tags?
- Are you using keywords and phrases in your page and post Meta descriptions?
- Are you using keyword optimized internal and external link titles?
7 – Who Is Using Your Site, and What Do They Expect?
Who is using your business website? What type of information or content are they looking for? What is the primary aim of your website visitors? Are you meeting all the expectations of your online visitors? These are the type of questions you need to ask yourself before redesigning your website.
This way, when you are ready to begin your website redesign you know what areas of your website are not meeting your visitors expectations, causing them to look elsewhere. This will help your website redesign to meet those expectations. Also, keep in mind that different age groups will have different needs and expectations of their own. Redesigning your website will be much more effective if you specifically target different age groups.
Here are the type of questions you should ask yourself before redesigning your website to improve user experience:
- Who is your intended target audience?
- Are you a local business?
- Does your site follow the journey of conversion of your site visitors?
- Which page or pages are the most popular on your current website?
- Where are most of your website visitors coming from?
- Are most your website visitors using mobile devices?
- Which keywords or phrases attract the most visitors?
- How do your website visitors consume your content?
- What type of content is most appealing to your visitors?
8 – Who Are Your Competitors, and What Are They Doing?
A common reason for redesigning your website is a lack of sales or inbound leads. If the content or user experience of your website does not meet user expectations they will simply go elsewhere. Most likely that means they are heading to your competitors!
Therefore, before you start redesigning your website, visit your competitors’ sites to find out what they are doing to attract and convert new consumers. Try to act like a potential customer when you look at other websites. Afterwards break down the sites to better understand what their online visitors like and don’t like, and where you are beginning to fall behind.
Start with your top five competitors that use of the same or similar keywords in your industry or market. Using a competitive analysis worksheet to analyze your competition will offer an unbiased view of your competitor’s websites. That way you know how your business can compete against them.
If you are not sure who your competitors are simply Google the same keywords and phrases you use in your search strategy. If you are a local business you can specify place or proximity (near to) in your search to narrow down the results.
Final Thoughts on How to Redesign a Website
Redesigning your website is a daunting task. We just completed a complete redesign of our agency website, so we have recent experience. Are we happy with the results? Yes, we love it, and we had a lot of positive feedback. Would we do it again any time soon? Are you kidding? Not for a while!
A website redesign is something that most businesses should consider every 2-5 years. That way you always seem fresh and relevant, without having to follow every last web design trend. That makes it both time and cost-effective for any business, regardless of the industry. Remember, you want to focus on specific reasons for redesigning your website. Redesigning your website simply so you have a new website most often works against you.
Regardless of the reason, having a plan is highly recommended before redesigning your website. Since every business or organization differs in visions and goals, there is no simple strategy for every website redesign project. You must decide your own business values and goals instead of following those of someone else. Only then will your website redesign project turn out successful.
Need Help With a Website Redesign?
We are experts at carefully crafting mobile-first and user-friendly websites to meet (almost) any budget. From simple small business websites to e-commerce sites and business blogs or membership sites we are the go-to resource for small business owners. We can also help you with creative services, brand strategy, and search engine optimization. Why not get started by reaching out for your free web design consultation?
Our team will listen to your concerns, find any problems and bottlenecks that stand between your audience and your business website, and help you take the required steps for a potential website redesign. That way you can focus on running and growing your business instead of worrying about all the aspects and challenges of redesigning your website yourself. Sounds good to you? Then why not contact us now!
Are you a small business owner experiencing other types of problems with your small business website? We would love to know about them. Please leave your comments below and one of us will get back to you as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to grab our feed so you don’t miss any updates. And help any small business owners among your friends and associates by sharing this post with them.
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Schmidt
Co-Founder / Creative Technologist