Last updated on May 1st, 2012
Every so often, your website should undergo a face lift. It’s important to consider a site redesign every couple of years or so to maintain a fresh appearance for your company.
If you just put a site online and don’t touch its design for many years, it will appear that your company is behind the times. Since online marketing channels and SEO is constantly evolving, you have to stay current or risk losing your position to a competitor who’s on top of their game and has an updated site.
Other reasons like migrating to a new content management system or rebranding your company can also serve as motivation for re-designing your website.
When planning and implementing your redesign though, there are several things you need to consider. Continue reading for 10 important items you should be thinking about when doing this all-important task. These tips came to us by way of a recent white paper from our friends at Hubspot. For more detailed information into the following 10 points, download the white paper today.
10 Important Points to Consider when Redesigning your Website
1. Analyze your existing site’s metrics
Before you even begin, evaluate your current site’s performance to see where you stand. Metrics to consider include – number of visitors, click-thru-rate, bounce rate, time on site, current SEO rankings and more.
2. Develop goals for your new site
Have a concrete reason for re-designing your site beyond “it’s been awhile.” Redesigning your site should be more about how your site works rather than how it looks. Tie your reasoning into metrics mentioned in #1 and be sure you clearly communicate this to your in-house team or agency.
3. Account for your current site’s assets
Many designers fail to consider how a re-design can hurt more than it helps. For example, you may have a page on your existing site that does very well and has lots of inbound links. Losing this page could do great damage to your position in the search engines. Important assets you need to be sure you preserve may include – most shared/viewed content, most visited pages, best performing keywords and number of inbound links to individual pages.
4. 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 outfoxing you. Run you and your competitor’s site through a tool like Marketing Grader so you can learn the strengths and weaknesses of each. Don’t copy your competition but instead use it as an opportunity to learn where you can improve your site.
5. Develop your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Before you begin developing content for your new site, be sure you identify what makes you unique for your competitors and be sure that messaging is consistent across your entire website. It’s important you immediately answer why someone should contact you or otherwise stay on your site rather than flee to your competitors.
6. Design your site around personas
Don’t make your site about you – make it about your customers. Use language they can understand and relate to. Segment your personas by demographics and identify their needs. Use this as a basis for developing your site’s messaging.
For example, let’s say you’re a hotel marketing manager trying to bring in new customers. In this case, you can target five buyer personas – an independent business traveler, a corporate travel manager, an event planner, a vacationing family, and a couple planning their wedding reception.
7. Optimize your new site for search
Hopefully you’ve got all the bones there for building search engine rankings but it’s amazing the sites we run into who don’t. Anyway, be sure you inventory your existing site pages to find the ones with the most link juice and search engine value. Be sure you develop a comprehensive 301 re-direct strategy to ensure you don’t lose any of that traffic or value.
8. Identify Calls-to-action
These are the elements in your site’s content and design that motivate a visitor to take action – be it to click ‘buy’ or simply provide their email address or download a whitepaper. Your website shouldn’t be static but rather should motivate someone to take action. Examples of good opportunities for conversions include: free whitepaper, contests/promotions, product purchases, free trial, etc.
9. Have an ongoing content development strategy
As you know from reading our blog, we place high value on a consistent stream of valuable, informative content. Develop a strategy for building this content. Start a blog, develop press releases on important company news and think about landing pages you can develop that target important keyword phrases.
10. Include extras
Any website built today should include basic elements like a homepage, product page(s), about us/FAQ and a contact us page. But go beyond this to really make your site shine. A blog for example is a great way to provide important information on an ongoing basis. You can also include landing pages for lead generation, add RSS capability and include social sharing buttons on all your pages.
This list of 10 things to consider when redesigning your website isn’t meant to be exhaustive. Each business and industry is unique. Much of what determines the success of a redesign occurs before you actually do the work. Many website owners get caught up in how the site looks rather than how it works.
Following these 10 recommendations though will ensure you’re well prepared to successfully re-design your website.
Many customers have come to us wondering why their site isn’t performing that well and we usually find something mentioned above that they’re lacking. Most of all, many businesses view their website as a singular resource when in fact it should “…integrate with other functions like social media, e-mail marketing and lead generation.”
Have you re-designed your website recently?
How did it work out? Are you satisfied with how your new site is performing?
Is there something mentioned here that you missed?
Remember, you can always go back and make changes – that’s the beauty of online marketing. You can always go back and make tweaks to boost your site’s performance.
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