Two little words that can bring utter fear to the hearts of any business owner or marketing professional. The amount of work needed to create a successful redesign can be huge. However, with the right plan in place you can break that work down into manageable steps that build upon one another. Below are a few tips and questions to think about before you begin your redesign.
1. Check out your analytics. See what is working and what needs work.
Analytics, whether it’s Google Analytics or another platform, can be amazingly helpful in a redesign. Everyone makes assumptions on what is valuable on a site. However, your visitors don’t lie. They are telling you exactly what is valuable and what is not.
Consider what is working and what isn’t. It might be best to remove a piece of content from a page to help direct visitors to your goals.
You won’t know any of this unless you can view your statistics.
2. How’s your content? Is it time to update?
Now is the time to look at your content. What’s working and what’s not. Is it out of date? Is it still communicating your brand successfully? Checking in with your content will help define the structure or your new website and give the designer what they need to help you communicate with your visitors better.
3. Set some goals.
Goals are important because they can help determine the level of success of a project. Setting measurable/quantifiable goals is by far the best. Many clients come to NEWMEDIA with goals like: “The site must be easy to use.”
Rather, goals like “We want to lower our bounce rate”, or “We want to increase conversions on our contact form by x%” are more useful in determining whether the redesign is successful or not. Keep in mind this is taking into account that you have some kind of analytics tracking these things. (Refer to #1 above).
4. Take a look at competitors, but don’t get tunnel vision.
It is always important to see what you have to compete with. It can be enlightening to take a look at competitor sites to gather ideas and see what you might be able to do better or just see what kind of visual impact they have. However, if you are going to look at what others in your market are doing, don’t get tunnel vision. There is other stuff out there too. There are so many other kinds of sites to draw ideas from. Who knows, you might see something that is incredibly valuable to your market that no one is doing yet.
Your sitemap details the hierarchy and structure of the pages on your site. A very simplistic document, it helps to define the flow and how each of the pages will relate to one another. This is a vital part of understanding the structure of the site and provide search engine optimization (SEO).
6. Start with wireframes.
Wireframes are another essential part of helping to define your new site. Wireframes are used to show a rough layout of content and structure for certain kinds of pages. Don’t worry, there is no need to create a wireframe for each page on a site. We only need to create wireframes for unique page templates. Many times these include but are not limited to the following…
- Product pages
- Basic pages
Wireframes should help to visualize the hierarchy of the content that will live on that kind of page. At this point it is too early to be talking about colors and style. We want to make sure we have the right content where it needs to be.
7. Is your site mobile responsive?
If your site is not mobile responsive you are going to seriously want to consider making it responsive in the redesign. Responsive design, in simplest terms, is re-formatting the layout of your site that you see on a desktop so it fits, is easily readable, and is usable on devices like smartphones and tablets. Gone are the days of pinch and zoom to read content or navigate the site.
Why is responsive important? Well, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic and potential conversions if your site is not responsive. Now more than ever mobile devices outnumber desktop devices visiting companies’ websites.
8.Establish a style. Continue to build your brand.
You might like the way a particular website looks, feels, and works but you need to keep in mind that your website is an extension of your brand. It should LOOK like an extension of your brand. Every piece of collateral that leaves your company should maintain your brand identity. Consistency is the key.
Concerned about the pain points that come with this checklist? There are agencies out there that help with website redesign consulting — hint, hint: NEWMEDIA is one of those agencies! Contact us today to learn about our services and website consulting.