Redesigning your website is a huge undertaking. It’s sort of like remodeling your kitchen: it takes longer than expected, it’s expensive, and sometimes it’s just mandatory. Unlike wine, websites age very poorly, and if your website is sufficiently long in the tooth, users will be driven away by dated design and poor functionality. When you redesign your website, here are some ideas you’ll want to consider to make your redesign as productive as possible.
Upgrade the User Interface
If it’s been a while since your last redesign, you might be updating a seriously old interface. If that’s the case, it probably doesn’t include any of the modern usability affordances that make websites a pleasure to visit and use. There was a time when designers didn’t know as much about “what works” online, and that hurt usability.
A poor user interface speaks poorly of your brand. Modern web users are savvy enough to recognize a bad design when they try and use it. Don’t think you can pawn off tiny typography and cluttered, multi-layer menus anymore. Find good usability solutions to your issues, and create a modern, functional design for your site’s user interface.
Accessible websites are easy for anyone to use, even if they require tools like screen readers to navigate the web. Of course, many folks think accessibility “doesn’t matter” since most users don’t require affordances, so it’s an afterthought if it’s considered at all.
If you agree with that, consider this: accessible sites are easy for everyone to use and comfortable to visit, encouraging users to stay a while and return frequently.
Update Visual Design
If you’re going through the hard work of updating your website’s backend, you should take this opportunity to redesign the front end. In truth, most website redesigns are motivated by updating dated visuals. But if that’s not the case for you, consider working with designers to create a more modern look: and one that will last for a while.
Define Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach? That’s a crucial question for any kind of mass communications. Websites without a clear audience tend to be unfocused, ineffective and bland. You can’t please everyone, so consider who you’re interested in working with or speaking to. With that in hand, tailor your website’s content to meet their needs and support their expectations.
Choose the Right CMS
Websites need to be updated regularly with new content. Not only does this encourage users to return to your site, regularly updating your site improves your SEO and gives new visitors something to see. Carefully consider the CMS you want to work with. WordPress and Drupal are both popular, but other options exist for specific niches.
Update Your Web Forms
Forms are just as important today as they were in the past. It’s just that we’ve gotten so much better at building them! Old-style forms, non-responsive forms are unacceptable to modern users, and you must update your web forms to reflect modern usability and accessibility standards.
Tools like CaptainForm can make that extremely easy, helping you create visually appealing, easy-to-use forms that users will appreciate. You can also find tools to help with WordPress forms if that’s your framework.
Focus on SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a critical tool for getting noticed online. If your business isn’t on the first page of Google for the relevant search terms, there’s a good chance that no one will visit you by searching. Use this redesign to improve your site’s SEO, and focus on making it resilient and upgradable in the future.
Updating your site typically also includes some SEO management. If you change your URL scheme, you’ll need to use redirects to ensure that your Google juice doesn’t get completely wiped out. A competent developer will know how to handle that, and when such redirects are necessary.
Improve Marketing Tools
With a new website design, you can integrate more modern marketing tools. Consider options beyond the mailing list. User tracking and marketing automation are both valuable tools that you should consider using to improve conversions and demographic knowledge.
Tracking conversions also means you can develop marketing plans that actually work. You can incorporate quantifiable data from your site’s analytics, ensuring that you’re making the most productive decisions for your business and your users. Don’t pass this up: it’s a golden opportunity!
Incorporate New Technologies
Create Excellent Content
When you develop a new website, you should make sure you’re also developing a plan to create excellent content. Visitors come to websites for content. They’re attracted to exceptional, high-quality content that they can share and relate to. If you can create an ongoing content building strategy at the time you redesign your website, you’ll maximize your development resources dramatically.