At some point your website will need a refresh. There are several reasons for a website redesign. Maybe your content has become outdated, you're moving to a new CMS or maybe your site simply looks like it's from 1998. (Yikes) When the time comes to have your website redesigned there are several questions you should ask before moving forward with the project.
This checklist goes over the most overlooked things that can make or break your redesign but it's important to remember, it's not just about the design. Your website affects your social media marketing, email marketing, lead generation, brand awareness, sales strategies and ties your entire web presence together.
1.) Benchmark your current metrics
How can you know if your redesign has helped you? You need to know where you came from. Before getting anything started you want to document your current performance metrics. You want to analyze the history and current state of your site. The following information should be included:
Number of visitors/per month
Time on site
Current SEO ranking for important keywords
Number of new leads/form submissions
Total amount of sales generated
If you currently do not have this information, I highly recommend that you stop here and visit Google analytics right now. Create a free account and follow the steps to get your website setup. You should also set up a Google Webmasters tools accounts. These two tools should be enough to get you started to begin managing your website presence.
2. Determine your goals
If you are thinking it's time to have a new website designed, there is most likely a good reason for it. Be specific as to what you are attempting to do with your new website. Are you trying to receive more visitors and improve the number of leads that are generated from your site? Or are you trying to improve your bounce rate and the average time spent on your site? Try to determine what all of your goals are before stepping into your new design.
3. Avoid Pitfalls, understand your assets.
While a redesign can certainly improve results, there are many ways that it can hurt you. Your current website, if built currently, contains several assets that have been built up overtime. Assets such as articles or pages that have many links pointing towards it, pages that have received high traffic, good performing keywords associated with pages and your pages that have been shared the most.
You must keep this in mind before stepping into your website redesign because many website designers don't consider this step because they are not marketers.
4. Create an ongoing content building strategy
This is one that should be completed before your redesign or even if you don't plan on redesigning. If you are not already building a content strategy – this tip is extremely beneficial to you. If you are not a blogger or someone that writes articles and new content every single day a strategy is needed for your website. First determine what your keywords are (what are people searching for that you want to show up for) Once determined make a chart that dictates when you will post new articles for your website. Include in that chart days that you will write blog posts, update content, etc.
Trying to go above? Include in your content building strategy the number of times you need to post on social networks and interesting ideas to generate interest from your audience.
5. Spend resources on content – not on a unique design.
Yes, I said it! Believe it or not the content is much more important than the actual design of your website. That does not mean your design is not important. The design of your website, the structure of your website – even the color, size and style of your website is important. But, more important than your new design is the content that is within it. (Think of it like this: A Lexus with no engine or a broken engine isn't going to get you as far as a Honda with a reliable engine)
If your current content has value and is keyword driven than you can ignore this tip and focus on the new design and structure of the design. If not, this should be your number one priority before starting your new design. Start creating content that holds value to people searching for your services.
These 5 website redesign tips are just the beginning of a website redesign. Tell us what your biggest website redesign tips are before getting started.