Who doesn’t love a makeover? Over time, a business website might be in dire need of a redesign to keep up with current trends or the brand owner may decide to shake things up online for the benefit of the business. Whatever the case, creating (or recreating) a website to include visually stunning, sleek designs and modern features can be an exciting project.
It’s also prudent to utilise the website to promote the brand and ensure a smooth and steady flow of traffic and sales. Whether the brand owner is in the process of creating a website with only HTML/CSS (to make it more functional and responsive for the 2018 business year) or working with what they currently have, these expert checklists will ensure the scale of any web redesign project does not appear overwhelming.
Performing a website check
It’s not sufficient to merely decide that a website is in need of a makeover. Business owners need to be more specific. Before beginning the project, it’s important to first review a website thoroughly and make relevant notes.
What features of the website are great and which aren’t? Which are fine as they are? With analytics or a heat map tool, the brand owner – working with the web designer/developer – can figure out what sections of the website attract the most traffic and which draw the least. This will help to decide where to concentrate redesign efforts to optimise the site.
Other factors, such as the content management system currently in use, need to be considered. Are they the reason the website is not optimised? How about the web hosting provider? Are they delivering the speed, security and support that the website needs? If not, it may be time to to switch to a more reliable web hosting provider like Umbrellar.
The next thing to do is review the design elements. Think about what features enhance the look of the website and which need to go? Compiling detailed notes will keep the web designer/developer on track when recreating the site.
Searching for tools to speed up the website redesign
The website design phase can be extremely time-consuming. The options for creating the perfect website are endless and it’s easy to get lost when making choices. Modern businesses consider using a site builder with various options to help create the desired look, without having to code from scratch.
Optimising site content
Beyond the physical allure of having a great-looking website, it’s important to thoroughly review the content with a view to optimising it. Website content is a critical part of a business online branding and success. Therefore, the site’s web copy needs to be engaging, fresh and useful to potential readers to improve conversion.
Analytic tools help the site developer discover the most significant articles and web pages, so they can be mirrored in the redesigning efforts. Therefore, the brand owner might want to consider changing their web copy to provide value to the target audience. Blog posts are also a great way to explain to potential clients about the solutions that the business offers.
Optimising user experience to maximise conversions
Redesigning a website presents the business with an opportunity to optimise the site UX. Brands today focus on making the navigation even more intuitive and if the website isn’t already responsive, they upgrade it accordingly. The goal is to redesign to subtly nudge visitors towards the part of the site where they are needed to maximise engagement.
A website redesign can give the brandowner the opportunity to include many fun elements for site visitors, but what really matters are basic functionality, ease of navigation and an overall pleasant user experience that will convert visitors and brand users into loyal customers.
The new and improved website needs to have a conversion optimised layout, which means it should have features like usability, desirability, accessibility, credibility and value.
Recreating the website to meet brand goals
A website should have an overall goal. What is it? To maximise conversions? To inform potential clients about the brand? Make outright sales? All of the above? Whatever a brand decides the website’s primary purpose to be, it’s important to use the content and design to meet those goals. What features need to be added to the website to meet the required goals? What sections need to be updated and which parts need to be removed?
The next thing to do is to draw a business conversion funnel and create the ideal sitemap in a way that complements each other. The site must be able to attract the right potential clients by incorporating some of their preferences into the new and improved website. The site goals needs to be solidified and a timeline plotted from start to finish for its redesigning.
Reviewing SEO optimisation
When recreating a website with new and improved graphics and content, optimising the website SEO needs to be a priority. Search engines play a major role in driving traffic to a site, so it’s key to design content and site structure to satisfy major search engine standards, as much as it should appeal to a brand’s target audience.
If the web copy doesn’t already have the required structure to respond adequately to keyword research principles, then it needs to be optimised for that purpose.
After a web redesign, it’s time to launch, test and tweak the new site. Redesigning a brand website successfully is no easier than creating a new one, but the new and improved site is certainly an accomplishment to be proud of.
On a final note, the brand needs to announce that the website is new and improved, so that loyal visitors won’t think they’ve been redirected to a phishing website when next they visit. A perfect website is a work in progress. So, an ‘improvement notebook’ needs to be kept and regularly updated with new features, tweaks and changes for any future redesigns.