There comes a time in every brand’s life—usually more than one—when it needs a website redesign. And we don’t just mean some copy tweaks here and there and maybe adding a page or two. No, we’re talking a total overhaul.
It’s a daunting prospect to many people, especially small business owners with limited budgets and time. But your site is a very visible reflection of your brand. If you’re not keeping up with the times, if your site is an obvious holdover from a bygone era, if it’s not mobile-friendly, if it’s not accomplishing goals you need it to accomplish, it’s time for an out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new attitude.
If you’re not sure whether it’s time, read “7 Signs Your Website Is Outdated and in Need of a Redesign” for some things to look at.
Then, get excited about the possibilities. A new website is a powerful brand refresh that offers a new experience for you and your consumers. Below are some important questions to ask yourself to help nail down some direction and ideas.
- What do I like best about my existing website? Reworking your site doesn’t necessarily mean you have to scrap everything. If there are aspects you—or better yet, your users—really like or that are in sync with your brand, they can carry over to your new site.
- What do I like least about my existing site? Of course, the flip side is true, too; a redesign is your opportunity to finally get away from the things that have been bothering you or that your audience has pointed out doesn’t appeal to them.
- What’s been working on your existing website? Feedback from your users, the goals your site accomplishes most reliably, and site analytics all give you insight into what’s been working, and this should inform your site redesign.
- What hasn’t been working on your existing site? Again, look at the same question from both angles. Surely your site has pages with high bounce rates. Sure it hasn’t delivered all the results you want. Your new website should be built with an eye toward greatly improving these results.
- Who is your target market? One of the most common reasons websites fail to convert visitors into leads and sales is because they don’t speak in a compelling way to the brand’s target audience. Make sure the redesign is mindful of your target market and buyer persona.
- Does your website convey your brand identity? Your site is a huge part of your brand identity, but did you think much about this aspect with your old site? Your new one should speak in your brand voice, demonstrate your brand personality, and clearly communicate your unique selling proposition.
- What do your successful competitors do right and wrong on their sites? Undertaking a website redesign is a perfect time to brush up on some competitive analysis. Take a look for inspiration and cautionary tales from others in your industry.
- What do you appreciate most about your favorite websites? Take inspiration from outside your industry, too. Make notes about what you love about the websites you most enjoy visiting, reading, and buying from.
- What search terms drive the most traffic to your existing site? Assuming they’re relevant to your brand and used by people looking to buy what you’re selling, these provide a key insight into how to optimize the content and layout of your redesigned website.
- What keywords and phrases are you missing out on? Keyword research and common sense tell you a lot about what people type into Google and other search engines when they’re looking for what you can help them with. Optimize your new site for the important ones you overlooked with the website you’ve been using.
- What are the most important goals for the new version of your site? Are you introducing e-commerce capabilities and want to drive on-the-spot sales? Are you launching an email marketing campaign and need to build your email list? Do you want to encourage people to call you directly? Your main goals have a lot of influence over site design and development.
- Which website pages do you definitely need? There are some standard pages every business website needs, with few exceptions. In general, it’s best to keep the navigation to a minimum. Figure out which aspects of your site and your business are important enough to be dedicated destinations, and look for ways to trim the fat off your existing site.
- Have your customers or clients given you clues about what you need to do? Perhaps they’ve mentioned that it would be nice to have specific information, or maybe you field a lot of phone calls asking the same few questions over and over. Maybe they’ve complained or raved about certain things on your site. These are the people who will use your redesigned site, so don’t overlook what they want and don’t want.
- Am I working with the right web designer? Finding the right web design agency requires doing some homework, but it’s totally worth it. You definitely want a team focused on branding in addition to creating sites. And, because your existing site has accumulated some clout with the search engines over time, talk to any potential designer about how they protect against losing your existing SEO and search result rankings.