A business connection recently asked “My website is two years old, do I need a new one?” You can read my answer to that question here, but if you have decided that you do indeed need a new website you’ll want to make sure you have thought of everything so you don’t need a new one again in a few years time! So here are my top 10 things to think about if you are redesigning your website
Check out the competition
Whatever marketing you are undertaking it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the competition. In this case you want to visit their websites (but as a rule make a List of your competitors on Twitter is a great way to keep an eye on them – read more about how to do this in my FAQ). Have a look at what they are doing that you think is good. I’m not saying copy them, but be inspired by great ideas. Also see if there is anything that you think doesn’t work so you can avoid it!
Does your current website have any particular problem areas
Are there any parts of your website that you are particularly concerned about, or that people have mentioned don’t work well. Perhaps your website isn’t mobile friendly (if you are not sure you can check here), maybe it takes too many clicks to get to important content. Whatever the issue keep this at the forefront of your mind as you consider your redesign
What about SEO
How does your current website perform in search engines? If the answer is ‘very well thanks’, then be sure what you do does not negatively effect your results. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the redesign – you are not coming up in search engines…in which case make sure you do your SEO research right at the start. Or maybe search engines just are not an important part of your marketing strategy – that’s fine, but be sure that is the case before you disregard them.
Take a look at your website statistics
Does your current site have analytics? Google Analytics is a great free tool that can help you find out which are your most popular pages, how long people spend on your site and whether or not they come back. If you have it, then have a look through the statistics to find out what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t have it then make sure that you install it in your new website – you can read more about Google Analytics in this FAQ
Ask your customers
By far the easiest way to find out what is good and bad about your existing website is to ask! If you have many customers you could set up a short survey and allow people visiting your website to fill it out, perhaps offering a reward to participants. If you clientele is more limited you could email a survey to selected clients. Survey Monkey is a great free tool for creating your own online surveys.
What is the goal of your website
It’s really important to have your website goal front and centre throughout the design process. Perhaps your website has more than one goal, in which case you can prioritise several goals. It might be to give information, to create enquiries or to sell products, but whatever it is keep it in mind at all times.
Do you know your target audience
It’s never too late to create your target audience persona…is it Rebecca the Stay at Home Mum? Lawrence the Lawyer? Margaret the Retiree? Perhaps you have more than one target audience persona. If you haven’t already thought this out now is the time! It will make your website redesign and all your marketing so much easier and more effective
Review your content
Have a good look through ALL of your website content. Is anything out of date? Is there anything that is surplus to requirements. Just like the shelves of a shop everything in your website should be useful and beautiful. Don’t keep anything that doesn’t have a purpose.
Make sure you are happy with your brand
If you are redesigning your website is it also time for a rebrand? If your reason for a website redesign is because your business or target audience has changed then it may also be time to think about a rebrand. You certainly don’t want to spend your valuable time and money redesigning your website only to realise in six months time that you need a new logo!
Draft your new structure and content before you get started
Once you have followed all of the above steps, you’ll be in a great position to create a website structure, this will list all of the planned pages for your website. Because you have done your SEO research you’ll know your keywords and be able to write your service content to reflect these. If you are having a blog you should get at least 3 ready for when you go live and also have all the case studies and testimonials prepared. Get all your images ready, resized for web and named sensibly. All this planning and organisation will make your redesign go much more smoothly
As ever if you are thinking about a website redesign and you need some help, drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org