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What to Look at When Redesigning Your Website
You’re probably here because you’re considering a website redesign. Perhaps you’ve begun to suspect that your site is looking outdated and that it might be time for a change. Maybe you’re having issues with traffic or the lack thereof, or your conversion rates are dropping.
Whatever the reason may be, a redesign can help, but only if you do it right. This post is here to help you do just that.
A good rule of thumb for business success is that what is good for your customers is usually going to be good for your business. We approached a profesional web designer to find the safest, most effective, and overall, the best way to redesign your site with your customers in mind.
What is a Website Redesign?
First, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page. A website redesign is not the same as a refresh or update. The difference between the two is mostly related to the scope and reach of the changes you’re making.
A website refresh, or update, is a process in which you apply minor changes to your site’s look and feel. It basically represents putting a new coat of paint on your site, with updated typography and maybe a new color pallet. Some small UX tweaks can sneak in as well.
With a redesign, however, not only does the visual appearance of your website change significantly but so does the code. Let’s suppose that you’re going through a full rebranding or a visual identity change. In that case, you’ll be looking to restructure your information architecture, incorporate new functionality to your site, or even add a new content management system (CMS).
Despite all these differences, a refresh and a redesign have one crucial thing in common — both can impact the customers’ experience on your site. The semantics are far less important. What really matters is how you approach the changes you’re about to make.
Things You Should Determine Before Redesigning Your Site
The only way to find out what your customers want from your site and what it is currently doing well is to do some research. Here are three critical questions to ask yourself about your site and your customers before embarking on a redesign project.
What Are Your Website’s Most Important Pages?
Let’s take a second and think about the way you should approach a website redesign. First, you need to figure out what you want to change and what you want to keep. Think of it as you would think about remodeling your home. You wouldn’t just grab a hammer and start swinging without working out a plan for knocking down your walls.
You should have a clear website redesign roadmap as well, outlining the pages that need to be rebuilt from scratch and the ones that only need a few tweaks.
One way to do this is to analyze your traffic and your conversion rates. This type of analysis will put each of your pages into one of the following categories:
- Low traffic, low conversions — the most risk-free pages on the site. You can redesign these pages as much as you want because not many people are likely to notice, and there’s no risk for your conversions.
- High traffic, low conversions — not quite as risk-free as the last category, but some experimentation is allowed. You’re getting lots of eyes on these pages, but something is clearly not working in terms of getting conversions.
- Low traffic, high conversions — tread lightly with your changes. Most likely, there’s nothing wrong with these pages, and you need to redesign the rest of your website to funnel more traffic here.
- High traffic, high conversions — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. These pages are the ones pushing your business forward, and any significant changes to them could have massive consequences. Proceed with caution.
Knowing which pages to get rid of and which to keep will help you get the most out of your website redesign. This way, you can make sure that you don’t ruin your conversions or break anything else that is currently working well.
Who Is Visiting Your Site and Why?
Finding out which of the pages on your site are the most important is only half of the story. You also need to know your visitors, specifically who they are and what they want from your site.
Users can come to a website for one of these four reasons:
- They want to know more about your products or your brand
- They want to get in touch with you
- They need instructions on one of your products
- They want to buy something from you
It is pretty clear that these reasons are all quite different. Understanding the intent of your customers will help you redesign your site with their interests in mind.
An excellent way to start is to create customer personas. These are representations of your current customers based on the data you’ve collected. Customer personas help you determine:
- Your target demographic
- Your customers’ primary intent
You can start creating customer personas by placing surveys on your site and collecting useful info about what is driving your customers there.
What Is Pushing Your Customers Toward Conversion, and What Is Stopping Them on the Way?
By this point, you’ve figured out what your website’s most valuable pages are. You also know who is visiting your site and why.
That’s a great start, but there are still a couple of large gaps that you need to fill before you can start your website redesign. To fill these gaps, you need to answer the following questions about your site:
- What elements are nudging customers in the right direction, helping them complete the actions they came for?
- What elements are stopping customers on their way to conversion?
The answers to the first question are your hooks, while the answers to the second are your barriers. Investigating your hooks and barriers will help you get the answers to the following questions:
- What about your site is working and what isn’t?
- Where are your customers getting stuck?
- What’s preventing people from converting?
- What do your customers enjoy or dislike about the experience of visiting your site?
And so on. If you can’t make a connection between your website’s performance and your customers’ behavior, you might end up with a lot of the same problems after the redesign. We’re sure you’ll agree that this would be disastrous, as it would render the whole exercise pointless.
Finding the individual elements that work and those that don’t is crucial to your ability to determine what to keep and what to remove.
You Should Never Stop Redesigning Your Website
Once you’ve answered these three key questions, you can proceed with your website redesign. However, if you think that your work is done, think again. The online world is volatile, with accessibility standards, design practices, browser technologies, and customer preferences always changing.
What worked at the time of your latest redesign may be an outdated practice now.
Keep asking the questions outlined in this post regularly, and your site will remain competitive regardless of the changes in the online landscape.
Tomas is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. He is focused on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels.