Is it time to redesign your website? You’ve thought about it more than once… perhaps more times than you’d like to admit. But other things just seemed more important to do — or you preferred to do -– like running your business, taking care of your customers, or cleaning your sock drawer.
That’s all good, but having a professional website that helps your business is important, too. Maybe now is the time to redesign your website.
So your socks have been mated, and you’re ready to tackle redesigning your website. How do you make sure your efforts pay off? What things should you consider when you redesign your website?
First have a clear understanding of why you’re redesigning your website. What do you want to accomplish? Here are some common reasons for a website makeover:
- update the look – nothing says stagnant more than an outdated looking site
- increase leads and sales conversions – the traffic is good to your site and you offer a compelling service or product, but maybe your site can do a better job of getting people to take the next step of contacting you
- improve your search engine ranking positioning (SERP) – it’s hard for web surfers to find your website or your business if your site doesn’t show up until page 7 in keyword search results for your industry
- need additional functionality – maybe you want to add the ability to capture leads, have visitors book an appointment, have a members only area, offer after-hours chat, or for visitors to more easily share your blog posts
- make it more user-friendly – have you been told certain information insn’t on your site (even though you know it’s there)?
- make your site mobile-friendly – in addition to Google SEO ramifications, having a website easy to view on a phone is more important than ever since viewing sites on mobile has surpassed on the desktop;
Read my own story of redesigning my website to go mobile (after cleaning out my sock drawer, of course).
Having your goals defined will help ensure your website redesign is successful.
DON’T LET THE DOG EAT YOUR HOMEWORK
If you’re like me, you don’t like homework. But it is important to understand what’s going on now so you can make the right choices for your new site.
- Check your current website traffic – whether you use Google Analytics, your hosting provider’s statistics, or another tool, review your current site stats:
- What pages are visited the most?
- Which are the most frequent entry pages (first page visited when someone enters your site)?
- Which pages are the most frequent exit pages (last page visited before leaving the site)?
- What keywords are used to find your site?
- Which pages have the longest visit times?
- Where are visitors coming from?
- What is your current search engine results position for your target keywords?
- What sites are coming up first on page 1 for those keywords – check them and try to glean what they’re doing right.
I like to start with my site page hierarchy – this is a list of all the pages your site should have, and arrange them within a logical structure. Be sure you organize it from your site visitor’s perspective, not yours. The hierarchy will help you determine your site navigation.
Have an idea of what kind of information you would have on each page – don’t worry too much if one page becomes two pages or vice versa — this can easily be adjusted. The most important thing at this step is to make sure you capture the information and content most important to your website visitors.
If your site will have any special functionality, determine where in your site those should be made available.
- Initially, focus your writing efforts so the content is of value and interesting to your audience.
- Write from the perspective of the benefit to the visitor, not the features you are selling; in language they understand
- Review existing website content
- Are keywords used and well-placed? Are they used in headings and present as early as possible on the page?
- Is there missing content? Too much of some content?
- FAQs and SAQs – What questions are you frequently asked day-in, day-out? What question aren’t you asked, but you think your customers and prospects should be asking? Provide the answers to these on your site so people (and search engines) stay on your site and find valuable information.
- Visuals – web pages with images or videos are viewed more frequently than what those without; and visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text; use visuals that convey your message quickly and are engaging
- Once you have well-written webpage, go back and break up your texts with headers and bullets
Pay special attention to your Home Page. It is often the first impression a new visitor has of your business. You only have seconds to engage a visitor to learn more. Be sure your site:
- is mobile friendly
- conveys the feelings you’re trying to engender about your business or organization, e.g., professional, humorous, kid-friendly, or serious.
- prioritizes information – the most important messages should be emphasized visually and fall “above the fold”, that is appear in the monitor screen when the site is first opened. Be sure your Call-to-Action (CTA) and contact information are prominent.
PROTECT YOUR SEO “JUICE”
Especially when your current site is well-ranked, when possible and sensible, keep a similar site hierarchy and filenames when redesigning your website. Retain the meta tags and heading tags on your pages. Use 301 redirects as needed so people don’t get lost if they go to link that no longer exists.
Learn more about how to retain your site’s SEO ranking during a website redesign in the white paper available below.