When the time comes to redesign your website, there are endless paths you could take. Most website owners will be hugely excited at the prospect of a complete visual overhaul in line with the latest web design trends, however a shiny new frontend does not always guarantee a better user experience. It is crucial to do prior research in order to fully understand the functionality of your website, and to determine which parts require more care throughout the redesign process.
Here are 10 tips for redesigning your website in an efficient, effective manner to help your business fulfil its online potential.
Think – do you NEED a website redesign?
First and foremost, make sure not to get ahead of yourself – you shouldn’t redesign your website without a compelling reason as to why. Needlessly altering the state of your branding can often be detrimental to business.
There should be clear reasoning for your website needing a revamp – for example, a change in your site’s purpose, a change in brand identity, or simply because your website has not been updated in a while. Redesigning your website with a clear cause in mind will help guide you towards an end result that suits the needs of your business.
Understand your target audience
It is important to cater your website to your audience over your own personal interests. Research should be conducted into the types of users that make up your overall userbase – you can then create individual personas based on the findings, which help you understand what your potential customers want to see from your website.
Once you know your audience, you can further analyse your current site to see which parts work for your target demographic, and which parts need improvement – more on this below.
Utilise KPIs to determine your site’s pros and cons
It is great to receive website feedback from co-workers and customers, but even better when you have quantitative evidence to back it up. Businesses need to make sales, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the bread and butter of determining whether your web service is currently fulfilling its full potential.
Metrics such as:
- Number of conversions
- Conversion rate
- Web traffic
- SEO rankings
will give you a better idea of where your website is performing strongly, and where it needs improvement. Fixing any weaknesses early on will smoothen the entire redesign process, and will not result in further problems down the line.
Be aware of your competition
The nature of your business can have a big influence on your website design – this differs hugely across industries and niches. You may find that your competitors have recently updated their website to cater to an alternative demographic, or undergone a change in brand design.
Analysing your competition can help you decide which direction to take your own website in – of course, it is not advised to straight-up copy a competitor, but it is always beneficial to take inspiration from as many sources as possible.
Know your branding, and keep it consistent
When planning your new website, ask some questions about your current brand. Does your current logo fit in with your website’s new aesthetic? Does your typeface gel well with your new sections? If you are trying to target a new demographic, would an alternative colour scheme help attract your targets?
Once you have settled on your brand identity, make sure it is kept consistent throughout the entirety of your redesign – remove any old visuals that will not fit with the new user experience.
Keep SEO in mind from the start
Any new or redesigned site relies heavily on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to make initial connections with customers. SEO should be a focus from day one of development – ensuring that your new look is able to get off the ground and reach the customers you want it to reach.
Ensure that you are publishing regular relevant material and using appropriate keywords throughout your site. It can help to use an automated SEO service to assess your site and provide feedback on potential improvements.
Responsiveness is key!
According to Smart Insights, 80% of Internet users own a smartphone – so make sure your newly-designed site works on mobiles or risk losing out on valuable customers! Think about why customers might visit your site on mobile – what parts of the site are they most likely to look for?
Often, a website may need to be structured differently on mobile, so that all focal points can fit together on a smaller screen. It is important to make sure that your mobile site design can provide a smooth user experience, but also that the design does not deviate too far from the web design, as this could make new customers feel unfamiliar.
Don’t be afraid to switch up your text and images
Never be afraid to take a calculated risk! You may have some lovely photos that fit your old site, but find that they don’t translate as well to your new, modern redesign. It is best to not be sentimental in this scenario – find media that works for your site and reap the rewards in the long run.
The same applies to website text – if you are targeting a new demographic, it may be time to replace that old slogan or About page to something that will resonate more with new customers.
Know how to test your new elements
You have your shiny new redesign ready to go – now it’s time to make sure it works. Testing all of your components, page flows and loading times can reveal faults that may not have been detected during development – for example, a simple change in image can lead to longer loading times, which can deter potential customers.
A/B testing is a popular form of testing where a new site is tested against the old one, so that each section can be compared to its predecessor to see if there have been improvements or not.
There’s always room for improvement!
Your new design is live, and your conversions are going up – congratulations! Now it’s time to maintain that progress – make sure to continue to monitor feedback and make tweaks to your website where appropriate. Your website should be constantly evolving in response to your customers and industry.
Make sure to follow these tips and keep monitoring your KPIs – with a well-planned design process, your metrics should soar!