Few things have as big an impact on your online presence as a website redesign. An updated look can be just the thing to give your visitors a renewed sense of excitement about your products and services, and it can even help bring in new traffic and customers.
But most companies only redesign their website once every few years — if they’re lucky. Website redesigns can be a big investment, so it’s important that any changes you make now can stand the test of time. You’ve got to get it right the first time because chances are, you won’t be tinkering with this look again for a while.
If you’re considering a website redesign soon, we’ve got 6 tips to make it a success. Which have you already done?
The first step to any successful website redesign is choosing the best designer for the job. Nowadays web designers are a dime a dozen and come in a vast range of skill levels, from drag-and-drop amateurs to seasoned coding professionals.
If you’re like most small businesses, your web designer needs to be someone who delivers high-quality work in a timely manner and offers ongoing support for any issues that may arise later. Most of the time, that means looking for web design agencies rather than an individual.
But even among professional agencies, there’s still a broad range of expertise, so it’s important to do your research before hiring one. Ask some of your business-owner friends and colleagues for a recommendation, and browse service provider review sites like Clutch and UpCity to find a top-rated agency in your area.
We’re proud and honored to be consistently named a top-rated web design agency in Atlanta, as well as one of the top web design and digital marketing agencies in the U.S. Learn more about our web design services here.
It’s hard for even the best web design agencies to create something that properly reflects your brand if you have no vision for your new website. You don’t have to have the entire site sketched out before your first meeting with your designer, but you do need to have a good idea of what you’re looking for.
Take some time before your first call to decide what you like in a website — and what you don’t. Browse competitors’ sites, as well as sites from complementary industries. For example, if you’re a veterinarian, look at websites from doggy daycares, groomers, and obedience trainers. This helps you learn what your future visitors are used to seeing on a regular basis, and may even give you some ideas for how to stand out from the crowd.
It can also be helpful to save some of these sites for future reference. Take screenshots, save the URLs in a Google Doc, or pin them to a Pinterest mood board to share with your designer.
But while it’s important to know what you want, it’s also important to be flexible in that vision. Remember, you hired your designer for their expertise, and as experts, they’re likely to have some suggestions for how to best represent your brand. Take those suggestions as they come, because they’re part of the value you’re paying for.
Before diving into a redesign of your company’s website, you need to take some time to nail down your goals and objectives for the new version. Why are you investing in a redesign? What results do you want to see from it? These can include:
Whether your goal is just one or a combination of any of the above benefits, use your goal to guide the project. For instance, if one of your goals is more conversions and sales, you’ll need to collaborate with your designer to make the checkout process very easy for your visitors to navigate. If your goal is better search results, you’ll need to supply your designer with a list of keywords you’d like to rank for.
Communicate your goals with your designer so that your new site lives up to all of the expectations you have for it.
One of the best things about redesigning a website is that you have access to plenty of data to inform your design decisions — that is, if your original website was connected to an analytics tool like Google Analytics. Tools like this give you invaluable insight into your website visitors’ behavior, like which pages they visit most, what search terms brought them to your site, and where they seem to stop reading and leave your site.
So if your visitors consistently view your About page more than your Service pages, you know that either:
And while these issues are easily fixed in a redesign, you first need to know that the problems exist.
But internal data aren’t the only numbers that you should look at when planning a redesign. Third-party studies and annual round-ups of web design statistics are good starting points as well, and can help you get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. We’ve compiled our own list of must-know stats for website redesigns, which you can read here:
Here’s a piece of the redesign puzzle that a lot of companies miss: strong calls to action (or CTAs). CTAs urge your website visitors to do a certain thing, like contacting you, purchasing a product, or joining your email list.
CTAs are an important part of your site if you want it to be effective in meeting the goals you set above (see Point #3). As such, any CTA you include on your site should be aligned with those goals. For instance, if your goal is to sell more products, you should direct your visitors’ attention to your online store rather than your blog. If your goal is to grow your email list, you’ll want to direct them to the signup form rather than your contact page.
To learn more about what makes a good CTA, read our previous blog post, “Everything You Need to Know About Compelling Calls to Action.”
If you only take one piece of advice from this article, make it this one.
No matter what industry you’re in, no matter what your marketing goals are, and no matter who your target user is, any website redesign project you invest in now MUST be mobile responsive.
Last year 51.3% of website visits — i.e., more than half — came from smartphones, and 40.7 million people used ONLY a smartphone to access the Web. That’s up significantly from the previous year, and it’s expected to be even higher this year and beyond.
But if your website is built only for desktop computers, your mobile visitors will have problems accessing it, which means you’ll miss out on business right and left. In fact, 61% of visitors are unlikely to ever return to a site they have trouble accessing, and 40% will then visit a competitor’s site.
Making a website mobile-friendly is the very best way to make your redesign successful, and we hope that no matter which design agency you choose to work with, you’ll insist that they do so.
Planning a website redesign soon? Here at Trajectory Web Design, our team is poised and ready to get your online presence up to speed. Ready to get started? Contact us to tell us a bit about your project.
Ready for a slick new website, increased traffic and more converting customers? Tell us a little about your business and we’ll reach out to get your project underway.