With all the experience and knowledge gained from your previous websites a website redesign should be an opportunity to turn your web presence into a success. However due to a lack of proper thought and planning many redesigns can still fail to meet a business’s needs. Things to consider and discuss with your web team prior to any redesign work commencing include the following:
1. Identify the purpose of the website
Decide what the website is actually required to do. This may have been something that you looked at when you first had your website built, but has your business changed?
- Is the website there to provide basic information?
- Are you looking to get sales or enquiries?
- Does the website need to support existing clients or employees?
- Do you want to build a full community around the brand and encourage reviews making the website more social?
Knowing what you want to accomplish through the website will help to determine its design, structure and the platform/software that the website will be built in.
2. Analyze your existing website’s metrics
If search engine positions are important for your website then you should have a full review of your website metrics prior to planning your redesign. Evaluate your current site’s performance to help analyze your current positioning and attainment. Metrics to consider include –
- number of visitors,
- bounce rate,
- time on site,
- and current SEO rankings.
Come armed with this information to your first meeting with your web designer (or at least with access to your analytics so you can review it together) to ensure weak points are addressedand strong areas are not lost in the redesign, which could then negatively impact your seo or user experience.
3. What’s working on your current website and what isn’t
With your marketing team make a list of everything that you like about your current website. It could be the navigation, certain pages or functionality, or parts of the design. Identify what is currently “working” so that you know what you want to keep with the next iteration. Then do the reverse, working through the areas of the website which you want to change, which customers have problems with or search engines don’t pick up on.
It may also be worth asking a loyal customer or someone not directly associated with your website what they like (or don’t like). Giving you an unbiased view. It could be that an area of the website of which you are fond, such as a Flash navigation, actually annoys your customers and acts as a deterrent in getting people through your website.
4. Can the new website save you time and money?
When looking at a website redesign it is worth having a quick review of your business and it’s day to day processes. Is there a particular question clients are always asking or a process you spend lots of time on, which could be automated. Talk to your website designer about ‘painful’ or time consuming areas of your business to see whether the website can be used to better support your client base or even automate some of your internal processes.
5. What’s the most important part of the website?
Every website has a focal point, an area you want to draw people to, to promote your business or a call to action. For some it’s the contact form, for others it’s a blog or an ebook, maybe it’s your case studies or services section, or it could be your client testimonials. Your new design should emphasize these areas and help them to get more attention. Put teasers on the home page with a call-to-action drawing them in. Make sure they’re accessible from every page on your website. Provide incentives for visitors who make it to these pages and take a desired action. Your website should be set up to funnel people to these pages so that you’re sure they’re seeing them.
6. Look at the competition
While it isn’t wise to obsess about what your competitors are doing, it can be very helpful to understand where they may be out selling and out foxing you. Look at how they are marketing themselves and their services. Don’t copy your competition but instead use it as an opportunity to learn where you can improve your website.
7. Develop your USP
Before you begin developing content for your new website, be sure you identify what makes you unique and be sure that this messaging is consistent across your entire website. It’s important you immediately answer why someone should contact you or otherwise stay on your website rather than look at your competitors.
8. Have an ongoing content development strategy
A consistent stream of valuable, informative content not only supports your customers and ensures you look knowledgeable and experienced in your industry, but it also helps you gain good positions in the search engines. Develop a strategy for building this content on the new website, assigning roles and specifying targets for ongoing content production.