Your website is your digital handshake to all prospective customers. It’s the greeting you extend to visitors to encourage them to join your world. And when it comes to online business, it’s often the make-or-break factor in whether or not a person will buy from you. Research by Adobe shows that 38 percent of users will give up on a site with an unattractive design.
If your site falls into this category, sometimes the best course of action is to slash, burn, and start from scratch. This is easier said than done, of course. All site owners looking at a website redesign need to follow certain rules to ensure the process works in their favor.
1. Have a Goal
What’s your goal for your website redesign?
If your site is struggling with low traffic, high bounce rates, and a general lack of user engagement, a site redesign may help. But if you don’t have a strategy in place for the changes you make, you’re pretty much just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Throwing handfuls of glitter on a page won’t save a sinking ship. Any changes made need to be deliberate and with your overall goal in mind.
2. Know What to Change
As part of your goal setting, you need to perform a thorough accounting of your site assets before you starting mucking around with the code. Many site owners fail to account for the on-site elements that are actually working and end up shooting themselves in the foot by changing the best parts of their pages.
Check your metrics to see which pages are drawing the most traffic, which pages are converting well, and which pages have drawn the most inbound links from other sites. And then, keep your mitts off them and focus on the sandbags weighing you down.
3. Change According to Audience Need
This is a tough one for some business owners who are used to having the final say, but it remains true nonetheless: Site changes need to be tailored to what your audience wants to see rather than what you want to see.
How is your market using your services? Are there any common complaints you hear? Collect user feedback before beginning the redesign process. Get their comments and compare it with the website analytics you’ve tracked to get an idea of how your audience is using your site. Then, tailor your new site design to cater to these needs and improve each user’s experience.
4. Deploy in Phases
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to launch all your new features at once. Particularly for large-scale redesigns, the deployment process should be handled in phases. Starting with the foundation and adding functionality piece by piece will allow you to gather user feedback as developments occur, and it will give you a way to easily identify issues as they arise.
Website Redesign Best Practices
There’s no perfect way to build a website, but several practices have stood the test of time:
- Identify your company’s goals before you begin
- Know what to change and what to leave alone
- Redesign to support the user experience of your audience
- Deploy your new site in phases
With these practices as the foundation of your website redesign, a sleeker and better performing site will be well within your reach.