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 Maybe your content has become outdated, you’re moving to a new CMS or maybe your site simply looks like it’s from 1998 (yikes!) No matter what the reason is, at some point in the lifetime of your business, your website will need a refresh. 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 things that can most often 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 it ties your entire web presence together.
Benchmark your current metrics
How can you know if your redesign has helped you? You need to know where you were before the switch. Before getting anything started you want to document your current performance metrics, analyze the history and current state of your site. The following information should be included:
– Number of Visitors/per month
– Bounce Rate
– Time on Site
– Current SEO Ranking for Important Keywords
– Number of New Leads/Form Submissions per month
– Total amount of Sales Generated via Website
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 set up. You should also set up a Google Webmasters tools accounts. These two accounts should be enough to get you started with managing your website presence.
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 when making decisions speaking with the designers. 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? Determine as best you can what all of your goals are before stepping into your new design.
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 correctly, 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, many website designers don’t consider this step because they are not marketers.
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 then 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 content building strategy is needed for your website. First determine what your keywords are (what searches do you want your content to appear in?) Once your keywords are 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 and beyond? 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.
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 it – 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 a broken engine isn’t going to get you as far as a Honda with a reliable one)
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 it. If not, this should be your number one priority before starting your new design. Start creating content that holds value to the people who are searching for your services.
These redesign tips are just the start of what it takes to make a new and dynamic website. Focusing one step at a time prior to jumping into a project is your best approach.