How do you know when it’s time for a website redesign?
Are you happy with your website’s performance? It may have served your business well when it was fresh and new, but with time, things change. A website redesign can give your company or brand a new lease on life, as your marketing needs have likely grown since your current site was launched.
But how do you know when to redesign your website and stop investing in refreshing your current website? And how do you go about it once you’ve made the decision?
There are many factors to consider when doing a website redesign. Your site will provide clues as to what needs to be revamped, reworked, or redone.
What is a Website Redesign?
The website redesign process overhauls your entire site. It entails updating, revising, and optimizing your content, graphics and the platform on which the site is built.
Whatever isn’t working for you in your existing site will be reworked or phased out to align with your marketing strategy and audience’s expectations. You may also be considering a brand refresh at this time which could alter the direction and vision of your website entirely.
When done right, website redesigns lead to an enhanced user experience, better website performance, improved search engine results, and, ultimately, higher conversions. And that means more success for your business and higher profits.
Website Redesign vs Website Refresh
Many people get confused between the terms website redesign and website refresh. They achieve similar goals, but there are some distinct differences between them.
A website redesign project is a much bigger job than a website refresh. If you’re unsure of which one you need, consider the following:
A website redesign is a complete restructuring of your online presence. It is, essentially, a whole new website built on the foundations of the old one. It aims to improve your old site’s success and fix any issues it had, too.
A website refresh typically leaves the core of your website’s functionality and code intact. Instead of updating or replacing everything, as with a website redesign, you’ll update certain visual elements for a new look or add some new features to the existing architecture.
A website refresh may be all you need if:
- Users navigate your site easily, but you want to raise conversion rates, reduce bounce rates, or emphasize a particular product or service.
- You have updated your brand identity and need your site to reflect this new look.
- Your site was created before the boom in mobile web browsing, and your site is not as responsive on mobile devices as visitors expect.
Warning Signs That It’s Time To Redesign Your Existing Website
If you’re unsure whether or not a website redesign is necessary, there are some tell-tale clues you can look for on your current website.
Before you decide to go ahead with a website redesign project, check for these signs:
Time Since Your Site Was Created
If three or more years have passed since you created your site, you should consider a website redesign. Much may have changed within the technologies available during that time that will impact your website’s performance.
Your user base will undoubtedly have grown, and your target audience may even have changed. Your business goals may also have changed, and your site needs to reflect this.
Avoid looking outdated or out of step with your business. Reassess what it is you are trying to achieve with your website.
In addition, if your site is quite old, it might not be compatible with the latest browsers and devices in use today. A redesign allows you to incorporate cross-browser compatibility and web responsiveness into your website to ensure it runs well for all users.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Results
Are your current website search engine optimization efforts up to scratch?
Google is the most widely-used search engine in the world, and 77% of its users search with Google three or more times per day. Faring poorly on the search engine results page (SERP) indicates you may need to redesign your website.
Search engine optimization is essential to the success of any online business. That means meeting the demanding and ever-changing search engine requirements so your website will rank high in the SERPs. If a quick search for your product or service doesn’t list your site in the first couple of pages, users may never find you.
A refresh of your content may be the answer to improving your SEO rankings. But if you fail to meet more than one criterion for search engine rankings, it’s time to consider a website redesign.
Most website owners are familiar with the terms SSL and TLS. Secure sockets layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS) protocols are responsible for authenticating and encrypting links between networked computers.
Website security is critical for the safety of your users and your site and brand image.
Since 2018, the TLS has largely replaced SSL. TLS 1.3 is the current version.
Although a website can function with this layer of protection, it is unwise to do so. Search engines may penalize you if your website doesn’t offer SSL or TLS protocols.
Having no security protocol also leaves your site and users open to cyber attacks.
If your site has been subject to cyber attacks, data breaches, and related issues, it may be time to address this in a website redesign plan.
Content (and Content Management) Issues
Developing a content marketing strategy will greatly improve your users’ experience on your site and your SEO performance. But if you struggle to edit content or are unsatisfied with your content management system (CMS), bigger changes need to be made.
Your site will not perform well without engaging content and a solid content management system. This problem can be resolved within the context of a website redesign.
A complete website redesign and a content management system that works for you will greatly impact your SEO.
Future refreshes will be made easier if you meet current SEO best practices and regularly update your content. By doing so, you can always keep your content relevant, fresh and engaging.
Mobile Friendliness and Performance
Mobile browsing bypassed desktop browsing years ago, and this mobile phone and tablet browsing trend aren’t slowing down.
How does your current website respond when opened on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet? Is every web page mobile-friendly and responsive?
With so many users relying on a mobile website to connect to the internet, your website must have a responsive design. It must adapt to the user’s device or screen size in real-time.
Mobile responsiveness is also an advantage for SEO. If your site is not mobile responsive, you’ll have difficulty ranking well in search engines.
Check your site’s performance regularly by spot-testing all pages on your website. Does it respond to different devices smoothly and offer a frictionless navigational experience across the board?
You’ll quickly discover if your site’s mobile-friendliness is lacking. And you can add this to your website redesign strategy.
Outdated Information And Functionality
Stay relevant by constantly reviewing your content.
Does it still seem fresh and on-trend? Does your content still match your client base? Check all your web pages for outdated information.
If visitors to your site see outdated statistics or trends on even one web page, they may assume that everything you offer is outdated. Content and website performance go hand-in-hand, and it’s important to understand the relationship between them and constantly monitor your website.
When only a few things need to be updated, a website refresh can take care of the problem. But if your site needs more than a few minor updates, it’s most likely time for a website redesign. This is especially important if you’re trying to attract a younger audience.
5 Things To Keep In Mind Before and During The Website Redesign Process
A website redesign is a large endeavour. But it won’t stress you out if you know what to do.
Before moving ahead with a website redesign, here are some important things you need to consider:
Identify Your Website’s Most Valuable Pages
A website redesign offers far more than just aesthetics. While that is important, your website accomplishes many things at once. It’s a digital business card, a showcase for products and services, an advertising campaign, and even a business listing.
Your site and brand will be more successful when all these functions perform well.
Identify your current website’s most valuable pages. This will give you the content you need to carry to your new site. But ensure that it’s still optimized for SEO.
Hit those SEO checkpoints with the following:
- Fast-loading website pages/images
- Relevant and eye-catching page titles
- On-point meta tags and descriptions
- The right keywords for all your landing pages
- Readable and relatable content
- Sensible headers and sub-headers
Understand Your Visitors and What They’re Looking For
Try to look at your site from an outsider’s perspective. Imagine the type of people who would be looking for your product or service.
Are you giving users what they want when they click on your site? If not, they won’t stick around.
It’s sometimes easy to attract visitors, but not always so easy to keep them hooked. Your users may respond to a snappy headline, catchy phrase, or visually appealing image. But once they’re browsing your site, what keeps them there?
Users want easy-to-use sites with fast-loading pages and clear information. So do some research to discover what your users want. Set up user testing and ask visitors to browse your current website’s content and complete a short survey.
Get them to perform various tasks on your current site. Find out what keywords they associate with your product or services. Do user research and find out what they want. This interaction with your audience will quickly identify any issues that need to be fixed in your website redesign strategy.
Your Customer Barriers And Hooks
Some general customer barriers prevent a site from performing well. Fortunately, these barriers can be addressed during a website redesign. So take note of the ones your existing site is guilty of and make the necessary changes when designing your new site.
The biggest barriers to site visitors purchasing your products or services are:
Poor Website Design
A poorly thought-out website design is probably the biggest barrier to engaging your web users.
Cluttered web pages, too many internal links, and broken links will cause visitors to leave your site and not return.
Purposeful user interface design is focused on the content and products. It focuses on the top products to avoid overwhelming the user.
Remember that not all visitors to your site will be regulars. And newcomers can easily be put off when bombarded with too many ideas or products.
Another potential flaw in your old website may be its functionality on mobile devices. More than half of all online traffic comes via mobile devices with touch screens. That makes responsive design for mobile devices a top priority in your website redesign strategy.
Users often use their smartphone’s zoom function to see what they’re buying. But high-quality images are essential for this feature.
Low picture quality will undo all the hard work you’ve done to establish your brand. Users will inevitably move on to another site with higher-quality images and enhanced user functionality.
Website visitors decide in seconds whether or not to stay on your site, and brand credibility plays a large role in this. Brand credibility creates trust and drives buying decisions more than anything else. So establish a clear brand and apply this to your new website design.
When your target audience is unfamiliar with your brand, they won’t trust it. Clarity about your products/services and company mission must be included in your new website design. It helps to include user-generated content, reviews, and other features that build trust.
Your website is where most people will first experience your brand. Thus, the design of your website can make a positive or a negative first impression. Your site’s perceived trustworthiness will establish your company image in their minds.
Professional web design, therefore, builds brand familiarity and brand credibility.
One of the main reasons visitors leave a site prematurely is page loading speed. An astonishing 53% of users will leave your mobile site and go elsewhere if pages take more than three seconds.
Because of this, search engines’ algorithms take page-loading speed into account. Slow-loading website pages frustrate users and impact your online success.
If your web pages take a long time to load, you’ll suffer a high bounce rate and, ultimately, a lower site ranking. So it is in your best interest to determine if page speed is an issue for you.
Google made speed a landing page factor for ads and searches, including mobile devices. To diagnose issues like page speed, use Google PageSpeed Insights. This free tool not only gives scores but also recommendations for improvement.
Of course, this speed is not always under your control. Your web hosting service, the user’s internet speed and connection, as well as their browser can all affect your loading speed. But the culprits are usually images that are not optimized, videos, and large files. And this is an easy fix.
When redesigning your website, keep images small. Large images and videos slow down a web page’s load time. And if many users play the videos simultaneously, your web server response time slows. A solution is to upload videos to a streaming service and embed the link on your webpage.
Big files like eBooks or tutorials can also slow your page loading speed. Decrease the size of these large files by making them available for download as zip files.
Complicated Navigation Menus
No matter how exciting your web content is, visitors will abandon your site at the start when the menu is too complicated to navigate.
That does not mean that your layout can’t be artistic or creative. But when you try too hard, it shows. And this can be a barrier to attracting new users.
A simple, clear drop-down menu with categories and sub-categories and a prominent search bar are all required.
Don’t be too wordy or artistic with the menu; you have other content for that. Make it simpler to navigate your site, and visitors are more likely to do so.
If visitors can’t navigate your site easily, they’ll find another one they can. So keep the creativity to your images, videos, or blog posts. And keep your navigation tools clear and simple.
You’ll lose out on customers/clients when you force them to do a mandatory sign-up for a newsletter or loyalty program. Encourage these, sure, but don’t make it a deal-breaker.
Many users will leave a site and look for what they want elsewhere if ambushed in this way upon arriving on your site.
What are your marketing hooks? This content grabs their attention, creating more interest in your brand or service. A staggering 92.6 % of users are influenced to purchase goods or services online by visuals.
So make sure that your hooks incorporate visuals that users will respond to. Be different, be authentic, and you’ll lure them in. But don’t force visitors to sign up to be able to view your content. There’s a more effective way to hook your customers.
Look at what other sites in your niche are saying and what they’re not saying. Is there a vital bit of info that they aren’t offering users? What are the complaints about their site saying? Find a way to answer these needs, and address these points in your attention-grabbing banner.
If users see you’re answering their concerns, they’ll see you as the authority on the product/service you offer.
You’ll also boost confidence in your product or services with customer reviews, awards for service excellence, and news reports on your success.
Are you and your team prepared for the redesign cost, time, and effort required to redesign a website? If you don’t have the time to be closely involved with the process, you’ll need a dedicated team working on it for you.
A qualified web designer understands the importance of good design elements. Certain colours, negative space, and the right fonts are examples of things they can use to your site’s advantage. But once the web redesign is executed, what then?
Just like your content, your brand identity needs to be managed. It is as crucial in an online business as in a brick-and-mortar one.
Brand management regulates the elements that create your company identity. This covers your logo, emblem, or slogan and your target audience’s awareness of them.
The right team and effective time management for each aspect of your online presence are key to the success of your website redesign. If you are a sole business owner responsible for your site, you may want to reconsider going at it alone.
Unless you are skilled in all aspects of web design and development, graphic design, and content, it is unlikely that you’ll check all the boxes with a website redesign. A redesign is as successful as the team behind it.
What Do You Want To Change?
Before you even start with the first steps in a website redesign plan, you must have a plan. And the way to formulate that plan is to consider what you want to change.
Make a list of what your reasons are for the redesign. This will pinpoint what you want to achieve.
And don’t forget, your success has relied on the loyalty of repeat business up to this point. Your visitors to the site become regular customers/clients, and you don’t want to lose their interest. But rearranging your site and changing stylistic aspects may not be enough to get the desired results.
If you feel overwhelmed by the content that needs updating on your current website, it may be time for a complete website redesign. But if the content doesn’t resonate with your new brand image or site design, all will be in vain.
Your new site design must retain existing users from your current site while attracting new ones.
But will your existing users find enough that is familiar on your new website? Look at what they have commented on in the past. What has garnered you praise? What has earned criticism?
This can give you direction when deciding what to change with your website redesign. SEO and performance metrics will tell you how likely new users will find you. But your existing customers, who are familiar with your site, will tell you how to keep them.
Putting Together a Website Redesign Strategy
Create a website redesign strategy that includes approaches to all the points above. Make a redesign checklist and go through each category one by one.
Is there anything that you’ve left out of your website redesign plan? Do you need more data to decide on the redesign strategy? Have you got a site map and an inventory of your content?
Taking the time to do the research and the admin before diving in at the deep end of a site redesign will enhance your chances of success.
Note Your Current Performance Metrics
The popularity of specific keywords fluctuates, but stay up-to-date with keyword rankings. Your search engine optimization strategy’s success hinges partly on the relationship between your content and keywords. Ahrefs is a great tool to check your website’s performance for specific keywords.
Research to find the best keywords to rank for. But you have to watch out for keyword spamming. The search engines will penalize you if you overstuff generic keywords into your content. So update your keywords when you redesign your website and refresh it from time to time.
Google Analytics is another tool that you can’t afford to ignore. You’ll have in-depth insight into your website performance metrics on your current site. What are your website visitors finding the most engaging? How long do they stay on each page, and which pages aren’t getting visited?
Google Analytics can help you to decide what content on your existing website needs to be revised and what needs to go. And if a lot needs to go, you need an entire website redesign.
But don’t trust the performance metrics from when you first started. A lot may have changed since then. Look at your metrics as they are right now to get a clear picture of the way forward.
Determine Your Website Redesign Project Goals
Think about your website redesign goals. Do they align with your business goals? Are you aiming for a new look, higher conversions or just improved functionality? It may be a combination of these factors.
Any project, including a website redesign, is easier to complete when you have clear goals. Is your goal to market your brand better or to appeal to a wider audience? Are you aiming to perform better on the SERPs? Perhaps you are trying to make your site more modern or more inclusive.
Depending on your goals, you can narrow down the best ways to achieve them. Once you have established your goals, put them in a website redesign brief. Include your objectives, your target audience, and any technical requirements you expect of your new site.
Create a sitemap in which you identify your site’s main sections and pages, organize them in order of importance, and define each page’s content and functionality. When reviewing this sitemap, you’ll be able to determine if your site architecture aligns with your objectives.
Define Your Branding
How do you define your brand? More importantly, how do your customers or clients define it? If you don’t have a clearly defined brand, this is the time to correct that oversight.
Brand loyalty depends on consumers/website visitors recognizing your brand. Do you have a clear, recognizable, and easily identifiable brand? If not, redesigning a website is the time to redefine your brand.
However, if your brand is well established, don’t make too many changes to its logo or slogan. When you redesign your website, try to retain that familiarity.
Too many changes at once can be just as detrimental to your brand as not having a clear brand.
Reinforce your existing brand image with carefully curated high-quality images and video content. But be mindful of optimizing these for better SEO.
Enlist a brand image consultant to work with you on your website redesign. This will increase your odds of hitting the right notes for newcomers to your brand.
Outline Buyer Persona(s)
Be aware of your buyer persona and integrate this into your website redesign. This data-driven profile describes the types of users who will identify with your site, product, service, or brand. When you redesign your website, your team will use this information to decide on functionality and design.
What are your ‘ideal customers’ spending power, buying habits, and interests? This information is not difficult to extract from your old website’s databases. Your buyer personas must be based on real data about existing user behaviour on your old and competitor sites.
Your new website has to meet the needs of these buyer personas. The web designer will always remember these personas when redesigning your website because your new design must speak to them. In doing so, you’ll attract more users with the same or similar buyer persona.
One of the best website redesign tips is to look at competitor sites in your industry that are doing well in the SERPs. Browse them, looking at content from a user’s point of view. What do they do or have that you don’t? Be original, but take inspiration from their style.
Look at what they do for the same keywords. Is there something their content included that yours is lacking? And discover the keywords that best draw traffic. This can get you started, but always try to retain originality in your website.
While competitor analysis can guide you to the best types of content, for example, you need to create original content that best represents your brand.
Not your similarity to other sites in your niche will attract new users. It is your authenticity and originality that will win them over. So take inspiration from competitors only as far as it helps you improve your SEO. But try to find ways that you can do what they do better.
Inventory Your High-Performing Pages
You may be the site owner, but how familiar are you with your site’s content|? The answer is: probably not as much as you think.
Over time, one loses track of all the content uploaded to the site. Also, if you outsource your content creation, you may not realize what is on there.
When planning your website redesign, inventory your high-performing pages. A quick review of your site’s metrics will give you all the information you need. Google Analytics is easy to use and will provide you with this data.
Which pages get the most views, and how long does the average user spend on those pages? Which content amassed the highest number of comments? That’s your cue to discover high-performing pages. Whatever caused the most user interaction is what appealed the most.
You don’t want to throw these top performers out when redesigning your website. Rather, restructure them, so they fit into your new design’s context. Or use them as an inspirational basis for creating new content.
If you use WordPress as your CMS, install the content audit plug-in. You can automate some functions and connect with this inventory tool with the information gleaned from Google Analytics.
Design And Develop Your New Site
Your website does not need to be overly complex or bursting with visuals to be engaging. A minimalist design has worked for countless e-commerce platforms. In addition, a streamlined web design often looks far more professional and appeals to a wider range of users.
Your website platform and content management system (CMS) dictate, to a large degree, what you can do with your site. WordPress offers an open-source CMS and a user-friendly platform. Coding skill is not necessary to utilize this platform, although it is advantageous.
Position your most important information blocks at the top of the webpage, above the page fold. The most important things on your homepage are your logo and name in the header, a search bar, a menu or navigation tool, and clear contact information.
Using a reputable digital marketing agency is also key to designing and developing your website or e-commerce store. This will help align your website redesign with your brand image and niche.
Your brand identity should always be visible to your customers/clients. And no matter how far down they scroll or where they navigate, they must be able to get back to the homepage easily. This ensures that they will resonate with your brand and return to your site again.
Make Your Website Redesign Useful To Foreign Users
One of the reasons why a website design is so useful is that it allows you to reach users you normally wouldn’t have. And that means more exposure for your brand, more sales, and overall greater success.
When you redesign your website, especially if it is an online store, consider the following.
Don’t forget that people from all over the world visit the internet. They live in different countries with different internet functionalities. They speak different languages and use different currencies.
If your previous site did not cater to them, you were losing out on possible business income. Add a translator function for the top three or four European languages when redesigning your website. If your site is an e-commerce site, include a currency converter on your checkout page.
But there is another way to optimize your site for visitors from far and wide. And that is, to make use of a content delivery network.
A content delivery network(CDN) is a geographically distributed group of servers. These servers work in unison to provide internet content faster to people worldwide.
If a user is located in a country far from where you are based, the information needs to travel that distance. Your site will render slower than if a local user accessed your site. With a CDN, the information comes from a server closer to the user.
This has two benefits. Your site visitor is able to view your web pages faster, and your page speed won’t negatively impact your SEO.
A website redesign takes a lot of work, but don’t think the job is done when your redesigned site is ready to go live. To evaluate its performance and ensure your new site design is achieving its goals, you need to continue to monitor KPIs and make adjustments where necessary.
Launching your newly redesigned site takes clever marketing, too. You need to attract people to your new site, whether it’s a business website, an online store, or anything in between. Social media posts announcing your upcoming new-look site will generate interest.
This will show regular users that your site has been redesigned to optimize their experience. But you also want to attract newcomers, so this is a good place to target customers with the hook we mentioned earlier.
Preparing for a Website Redesign
Website redesign is no small task. It takes time, hard work, and dedication to make your new site a success while retaining the principles you established your previous site on… and the right experience.
However, it could be just the thing you need to take your business to the next level. Contact us to learn how our 20 years of web design experience can guide you through the website design process and deliver the results you dream about.