Times change. Businesses grow. And if your company’s website isn’t keeping pace, it could have serious implications for your success.
Because your website serves as a digital representation of your brand, it’s absolutely critical that you get it right. If not, a website visitor will bounce to your competitor’s site before you can even blink.
Web users are cut-throat. If your website isn’t set up to serve them—and serve them well— they’ll leave you (and any consideration of buying a product or service from you) in the dust.
So, is your website looking a bit dated and dusty? Then it’s likely time for a website redesign. In this blog, we’ll explain what a website redesign is, how it can benefit your business, and provide four steps you should take to prepare for the website redesign process.
What is a Website Redesign?
Many people tend to confuse a website refresh with a website redesign. Although similar, these projects serve different purposes and vary significantly in scope. Let’s take a look at the key distinctions between the two.
A website refresh involves making slight changes to a website while leaving most of the code and structure unaltered. These changes are typically relatively minor, easy to execute, and don’t require extensive time or resources, such as swapping in a new logo or updating old product pages.
A website redesign is a much more involved process that requires updating the content, structure, format, and navigation of your website to improve its overall performance and convert more website visitors. In other words, it’s going back to the drawing board and rebuilding your website from the ground up.
Depending on your situation, a website refresh may suffice to meet your needs. Or, you might need a complete transformation. Here’s how to know when to go for a full website redesign.
How Do You Know When It’s Time for a Website Redesign?
Before you invest valuable time and resources into a website redesign project, you should make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons.
“My competitors just redesigned their website, so I want to do something similar” isn’t exactly a good reason if your site is effectively attracting visitors and converting leads. Here are three reasons why you should consider redesigning your website:
1. Your Goals Have Changed
Have your business goals changed drastically since launching your website? If the answer is yes, it likely no longer represents your company accurately. A website redesign can ensure that your site aligns with your current business goals and that they’re conveyed properly to your target audience online.
2. Your Branding Has Changed
If you’ve recently undergone a company rebrand or are planning to update your color scheme, logo, and messaging in the near future, then you should redesign your website to reflect those branding changes and affirm your new visual identity.
3. Your Web Performance has Plummeted
Website performance is a clear indicator of whether or not your site is meeting users’ needs. To determine how your website is performing, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have leads decreased?
- Are people staying on the site or bouncing?
- Is the website converting a reasonable amount of traffic?
If you’ve noticed that your website performance has decreased, that’s a red flag that your website may be outdated or out-of-touch with your target audience. A website redesign can help you identify and resolve issues related to poor performance.
4 Steps to Prepare for a Website Redesign
The website redesign process involves a lot of time, resources, and decision-making. And, the better prepared you are ahead of time, the easier it will be. Here are four steps to help you get ready for your website redesign project.
Step 1: Complete A Website Audit
Before you decide what changes to make, take the time to review your current website and determine what’s working well and what isn’t. Be objective and take note of any areas that need improvement so you can address them in the website redesign.
If you need some guidance, here’s a helpful tool that you can use to access how well your site is currently performing.
While auditing your website, be sure to consider the following:
Evaluate your current content to decide what should be reworked. Look at everything—from blogs to videos to downloads—and ask yourself:
- Is it audience-focused?
- Is it easy to understand?
- Is it helpful or useful?
- Is it current?
- Does it match my business goals?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then that piece of content needs to be updated.
It’s important to note that not everything on your site needs to be changed. Content that’s performing well can likely be left as is. Your website redesign team can help you repurpose strong content, identify gaps, and create a new content strategy to pull it all together.
Search Engine Optimization
In addition to assessing the effectiveness of different types of content on your current site, you should consider if it’s optimized for search.
If you don’t have a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place or yours needs to be adjusted, a website redesign could be in your best interest. This is an ideal time to optimize existing content and create new, strategically-worded copy to increase traffic.
If you do have a strong SEO strategy in place, then your current website has likely gained authority and is ranking well for relevant keywords. In that case, it’s critical to have a knowledgeable website redesign team that will properly migrate that content to your new site.
Failure to follow SEO best practices when migrating content can cause crawl errors, search engine red flags, and other penalties that can make your site undiscoverable.
User Experience (UX)
You can have great, optimized content and stunning branding, but if your website provides a poor user experience, it won’t perform well.
Today’s customers don’t just base their loyalty on a product or price, but rather on the experiences that they receive. In fact, 73% of buyers consider customer experience to be the primary factor for their purchasing decisions. This also applies to their experience on a company’s website.
You have about seven seconds to make a good first impression on a website visitor before they flee to another site. So, if your site is hard to navigate, lacks information, and isn’t accessible or mobile-friendly, then your users probably aren’t staying on it.
Thoughtful user experience (UX) design can greatly improve your website performance.
Step 2: Determine Your Goals & Budget
We’ve already discussed the importance of having a good reason for overhauling your website. So, what’s the “why” behind your website design? Write out the goals that you have for your new website and tie them to measurable results. For example, some of your goals may include:
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Reducing your bounce rate
- Increasing time on site
- Generating more leads and form submissions
- Improving SEO rankings for notable keywords
Communicate these goals with your web redesign team to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This will help them better determine your needs, pricing, and projected timeline.
Before discussing pricing, however, you should determine an amount that you’re willing to spend. Everyone wants a high-quality website that’s built quickly for a low cost. But remember, your website is your greatest sales investment. Cutting corners just to reduce costs can lead to expensive consequences and missed profits in the long run.
Step 3: Define Your Branding
Before you can dive into content and design, you have to decide what look and feel you want your new website to have. Your website serves as a visual representation of your business. So, you want to ensure that your branding matches your company’s mission, values, and overall brand identity.
Being very clear about your desired branding, messaging, and tone will guarantee consistency across your site. During this step, ask yourself what you like about your current branding, what you want to change, and why. Here are two helpful steps you can take to flesh out your intended visual identity.
Create a Style Guide
Once you’ve determined what you’d like to keep and change about your current branding, write it all out in a style guide. Be sure to include your preferences on color palette, logos, fonts, imagery, and icons. Having all of this information recorded will help your team achieve cohesiveness during the website redesign process.
Now that you’ve defined your branding, you should compile all of the files that your team will need for your website redesign. This includes any vector file logos (.svg, .eps or .ai), photography, and other essential visual assets. While gathering files, carefully consider whether each asset fits into your new style, or if it could use some adjusting.
Step 4: Choose Your Website Redesign Team
The final step to prepare for your website redesign is choosing who you want to work with.
A website redesign is a big investment, so you need to be able to trust that the people working on your project will get it done right. Since any mishap will cost you time and money, don’t just go with the cheapest option you can find.
Rather, do extensive research before you commit. Look at past projects, reviews, prices, processes, and inclusions for every freelancer or agency you’re considering. Once you narrow down your choices, send out a request for proposal (RFP) for website redesign services. Once you receive the proposals, you can make the best decision for your needs, budget, and preferences.
If you need to make extensive changes, we highly recommend hiring an agency (like Tower) for a website redesign. Agencies typically have streamlined processes in place to make every part of the website redesign process go as smoothly as possible and stay on track. Here are a few other advantages of hiring an agency:
- Extensive knowledge and services
- Collaborative group of specialists
- Access to advanced software and resources
- High-level professionalism
- Superior communication
The people you choose to work on your website redesign can quite literally make or break the whole experience. So, be sure to choose wisely!