There are a lot of reasons why you might want to redesign your website. But before you do, it’s important to be armed with a sound strategy, and not change it up just for “cosmetic” reasons (although those can, indeed, be important in their correct context). So before spending a lot of time and money on a website redesign that isn’t going to serve your greater business objectives, take a look through our website redesign checklist—which is really a website strategy checklist…
1. Are you getting the results you want from your current website?
Take a good look at what you already have on your website and analyze how well it’s achieving what you want it to achieve. Or isn’t. Is it bringing in traffic? Ok, but is that traffic actually bringing you qualified leads, sales, fans, and life-long customer relationships? Traffic is one thing, but the type of traffic your website is attracting matters. Have you had a professional website audit to look at these factors in depth on all areas of your website? If you want to put something on your to-do list, that would be a good place to start.
2. Does your current website work on multiple screens?
In just the last few years, a giant tectonic shift has taken place on the web. More people now surf the web, looking for goods and services from web-enabled mobile devices than ever—a lot of people are using their smartphones and tablets for this more often than they’re using their desktop computers. A lot of “classic” websites are too tiny and hard to navigate on these smaller format screens. Mobile web design is critical today. Why?
- Well over half of mobile device users who land on a website that is not mobile optimized will, in a matter of milliseconds, surf over to a different website that is mobile optimized.
- Also, 67% of users who land on a well-designed mobile website that fulfills their needs turn into actual paying customers.
- Search engines like Google are the top way people search for and find business websites; and these search engines have an easier time crawling and indexing “responsive web design” websites. These are websites designed to adjust themselves to the right dimensions no matter what device you are viewing them on. Responsive web design gives you an SEO advantage with the same URL and HTML across the board, making it more likely that your website will show up in relevant customer search queries!
Try this quick test: Navigate to your website from your smartphone. How does it look? Can you read the type right away, or do you have to pinch, scroll and squint? If so, this is a major sign that it is time to redesign your website.
3. What is your content strategy?
All you need to do is throw up some product information and some cool graphics and you’re good to go. Right? Wrong! Make note of this on your website strategy checklist: Today’s customers want your content to be about THEM. They need you to engage them with relevant, helpful content that is easily accessible and makes their lives easier, better informed, etc. Maybe you only sell one or two widgets. But instead of just posting a couple of pages about product details, you need to show potential customers how these widgets will change their lives. You need to build and maintain a great relationship. Videos, regularly-updated blogs packed with helpful hints and useful information—make your website about your customer!.
4. What is working well on your current website?
It’s always good to evaluate what is working while making your website redesign checklist. If there are areas of your website that customers use frequently and find useful… keep those things. Do you have a great blog? Accentuate the positives and build on them for the future.
5. What is not working for you on your website?
Yanking the weeds out of your website garden can be daunting, but it’s important if you don’t want those parts to detract from the good you already have going on. As an integral part of your website strategy checklist, ask yourself (and/or a select group of customers) the following:
- How well does the navigation system work? Is it too confusing?
- Can your customers find your contact information easily (you’d be surprised how often this is a problem).
- Is all of the information up-to-date?
- Are there vast swathes of hidden content that should not be hidden (due to navigation and site structure problems)?
- How fast can users load the pages—is it easy and fast to get from point A to point Z?
- If you do a Google or Bing search for your products or services, does your website come up on the first page of results… or not? If not, you need help from a certified SEO expert ASAP!
6. Have you spied on the competition lately?
It’s a good idea to look at your top competitor’s websites and see what’s working or not working for them. Again, a good website auditor (LINK) will help you with this. Naturally, you want your website to stand apart from and above the competition, so it’s important to keep an eye on what they are doing and not fall into copycat mode.
7. How are your third-party tools holding out?
If you’re living on borrowed code, it may be hurting your website’s performance, so don’t forget this when you are going through your website redesign checklist. If your website is slow to load (which really irritates users—especially mobile website users), a third-party piece of code, element or plugin may be the culprit. Sometimes they add useful functionality: like analytics tools (very important for understanding how your website is functioning), social media plugins, shopping cart elements, security badges, etc. But if they were not built with your website in mind, it’s possible they are gumming up the works and irritating your website visitors.
8. Has the purpose of your website changed? Should it?
Businesses go through a lot of changes. Markets change, customers’ needs change, products change, times change… often, these shifts can date a website, even within months, and it isn’t always something you can control. So when going through your website strategy checklist, evaluate your current business climate and goals. How do you want to grow as a company? Is your website taking you in the right direction, or does it need a course correction—a significant course correction, or a few minor tweaks?
9. How have your business and marketing goals changed since your website launched?
This item on the website strategy checklist is a little bit of a continuation of the last one, but it earns its own billing. With all of the changes your business and your market have gone through, what marketing goals have gone by the wayside, and what new ones are taking their place? Your website redesign should address those issues in a flexible way so that the new website is able to more readily adapt to changes.
10. Is your website SEO savvy?
Last, but certainly not least is an issue we mentioned back in website redesign checklist items 3 and 5 and it concerns how well prospective customers are able to find you when they run a Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search to find the products and services that you offer. SEO = search engine optimization and it can literally spell life or death for your website, depending on how well your website does it. 90% of potential customers are using search engines to find you; if your website does not appear on the first page of search results, you can consider yourself invisible. Engage an SEO expert in your website redesign and make sure this does not happen to you!
So… are you feeling restless with your website? Contact Affordable Web Design today and let’s talk about where you want your website to go next!