Crucial points to consider in a website redesign
How to avoid the scary side of a major makeover
Quick: What matters most to consumers when they visit your website?
Impressive graphic design? Nope. Engaging multimedia displays? No again. Research indicates that the wow factor is not the main thing for most consumers.What website visitors really, really like is that they can easily find what they want.
This is not to say that looks don’t matter. It IS important that your organization project an up-to-date, professional, image. There are other good reasons to give your site a makeover.
But beware of careless website redesign. Done wrong, scary things can happen -a precipitous decline in website traffic, among them!
That can happen if a web designer (who has little knowledge of SEO) abandons your popular URLs, causing you to lose those hard-earned links to your site that exist on other websites, and past visitors to your site who have bookmarked you. Set up proper 301 redirects to avoid losing these potential site visitors.
In setting up the new site, it’s all important to take note of content that is performing well. Don’t change for change’s sake alone. Deleting material that visitors like can do more harm than good.
Prior to a site redesign, or the creation of a new site, it’s important to set some specific goals, such as:
- The clear communication of your brand and values
- Generating site traffic
- Converting visitors to leads, opportunities, sales.
One good reason to upgrade your site could be to move to a new content management system (CMS) that will make it easier for you to manage your own site —for example, to update your own blog, and to tweak your SEO.
It’s smart to begin with a website audit.
If you don’t have an analytics program, set one up, and find out:
- Where your traffic comes from
- Where it lands on your site
Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your old site.
Google Analytics (a great free resource) and other such programs can also tell you:
- How many visitors you get and when
- How long they spend on your site
- How high your “bounce” rate is (when visitors leave without clicking to another page)
It’s also good to look at:
- Current SEO rankings for important keywords
- The number of new leads that have been generated
- The amount of sales from those leads
On this sound basis, you can set goals for your new site, and design it accordingly. You can set a single major goal that everyone in your organization can relate to, such as “increase the number of leads by 25 percent in 6 months.” You can also set more detailed objectives for your marketing team to work with in attaining the overarching goal.
Other recommended elements to consider in planning your new site:
- A homepage that is well-designed in terms of consumer psychology as well as aesthetics
- Compelling landing pages —the pages you land on after responding to a Call to Action (CTA), or an online ad, or a keyword search
- Strong content, and a schedule for regularly updating that content.
A great site is much more than just a pretty face. In 2014, the steps to the creation of a successful site are well-known. Take those simple steps, and your new site will powerfully leverage all your hard work and accumulated goodwill.