Well-designed and user-friendly websites drive traffic and keep visitors engaged. But your website may be actually hurting you if it’s not living up to expectations. That may lead you down the path of redesigning your website, which can be quite the undertaking but often necessary to ensure your brand is relevant and attracting the right buyers.
It’s important to note that websites are fluid things. They are never a create-it-and-forget-it project. They should always be evolving to meet the needs of your business and your audience. Another important dynamic to consider is that the average human attention span has been reduced to about eight seconds (which is shorter than that of a goldfish), so you have to grab their interest quickly.
Before jumping into your website redesign, it is critical you lay the right foundation for the look and feel, functionality, and content. Here are six ways to prepare for redesigning your website.
1. Ensure Your New Website Is Built for Your Customer, Not Your Executives
One of the biggest challenges in website design is finding a style or design that stakeholders like and then trying to copy it. However, your website is literally your digital real estate, so it needs to be unique, just like your brand. The problem is that customer needs often fall short of internal preferences.
However, for your website to become a place where customers can learn, connect, and convert, it must be built for them. It’s critical to design your website based on the feedback from and research of your target buyers. Your audience is the reason for your website, so shouldn’t what they think and want matter most?
2. Your Site Must Reflect Your Content Strategy
Having compelling content on your website can help build loyalty and improve your SEO. With constant changes to algorithms and the flood of content available, you need a content plan—one that is well reflected in your website. So, you need to think about how content strategy and your website align.
But do you have a documented content strategy? According to Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute, 63% of businesses do not have a documented content strategy!
Your content strategy and website must be integrated. Once you have a robust plan in place, you need to ensure that it’s represented on your site, whether that involves a new blog, optimized landing pages, or addressing SEO. Consider these questions:
- Can users easily find your content?
- Does your content include relevant calls-to-action?
- Can search engines easily find and index content?
If you answered “no” to these, then you’ll need to fix this when redesigning your website.
3. Establish a Plan to Keep Content Fresh
To become a hub for prospects, your new website needs to be a publishing engine where new content is added consistently. Adding new content regularly will help with SEO efforts and provide you with items to post on social media and other channels. So, if your website is content light, it’s time to restructure.
Go into the website redesign with a focus on content and organizing it well. Make sure your content is easy to find and that your website offers a great user experience. For example, consider placing the latest blog posts on your home page or adding a section for a gated piece of content like a whitepaper to engage readers quickly.
Behind the scenes, you’ll need a content calendar. The content calendar will allow you to plan out content and all the details required in one central hub. Within your content calendar, you can set-up content workflows and timelines, ensuring that your website is always fresh.
4. Improve Upon the User Experience
If you have high bounce rates on your current site, it’s critical to learn why so you can improve the user experience in your redesign.
High bounce rates can be attributed to many different issues with your site. When you have a high bounce rate, that means users exit your site quickly. On average, bounce rates are between 40-55%, which could mean that nearly half of all visitors don’t make it past one page. To provide some context to your bounce rate, it’s also a good idea to look at average session duration, average pages per visit, and conversion rates.
Typically, the leading cause of high bounce rates is a poor user experience. This could be due to bad layouts, confusing navigation, or an unattractive site. Users simply aren’t finding what they are seeking.
Maybe you have a dynamic and optimized home page, but supplementary pages are plain and don’t mesh. This creates a huge disconnect. Your audience may think they’re looking at two different sites. Consistency in the look, feel, and usability needs to be universal on your website.
By looking at content analytics, you can also determine what resonated with users and what did not. Leverage what you do well and tweak the areas where gaps exist.
5. Emphasize Quick Load Times
We live in a world of instant gratification, so if your site stalls in loading, visitors just don’t have the patience. Really, you only have a few seconds for your site to load before users get antsy.
Slow websites kill conversions. They could be the result of several different missteps from not optimizing image sizes to bad code. Regardless of the reason, websites that aren’t speedy need a redesign!
When you are redesigning your new website, use a clean, simple design built on a platform that considers speed.
6. Make Sure You Have the Right Tech to Support Your New Website
Besides the content management system (CMS), you’re going to need other tools to support your new website.
It’s time to do an audit of your third-party tools to determine if they are working and what damage they may be doing, like slowing down the site. Identify where you can make improvements.