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Best Practices for Your Next Website Redesign

January 23, 2019

Best Practices for Your Next Website Redesign

I know what you’re thinking. It’s time to redesign your website and you have no idea where to start. Not only do you have to choose a website design company to work with, but you have a million questions. “Will I have to change website platforms?” “How can I integrate with my email or marketing software?” “How much will this cost me?” “How can I generate more leads with my website?” Or maybe you don’t have any questions, just goals. All you know is that you want to generate more revenue through digital marketing. But how do you get there?

Website Goals

Every time I help a client with a website redesign project, the first question I always ask is, “What is the purpose of redesigning your website?” and “What are your goals?” If your answer to these questions is, “I want a better website,” what exactly does that mean to you?

Are you redesigning your website to:

  1. Increase awareness
  2. Generate leads
  3. Generate more sales
  4. Generate more quality leads
  5. Improve sales support
  6. Reduce costs

Determining the “why” behind your website redesign will help your website and/or marketing partner create a website that fits your needs and goals. It might even change the course of the website project completely. You might think you need a redesign, but uncover that you just need to update website messaging and add more content to your site to entice visitors.

Persona Research

I cannot stress this enough. Understanding the pains of your target market is vital to connecting with them. It increases your prospects’ trust in you and your authority and if implemented correctly, gives you an advantage. You might think that you know your audience, but until you ask them questions around their pains, challenges, demographics, online habits, informational needs and more, you’re really only taking an educated guess. While secondary research helps, nothing is more valuable than hearing it from the source.

Your website can play a major part of your company’s marketing strategy and plan, but what good is it if no one is seeing it? If you don’t have persona research and a website strategy, your efforts can quickly be a waste of money and resources.

Through our persona research, we learn what information your buyer needs through different stages of the customer journey, how challenges can be integrated into website messaging, what main purpose your website will serve for your company and how to best reach your persona.

Brand Consistency

5 different logos, 5 different ways to say your name, no consistent colors. If this sounds like your online presence, then brand consistency is going to be especially important in your redesign. A clear brand makes it easy for prospects and customers to recognize you. Not to mention, it gives them a consistent experience with peace of mind that your services to them will be consistent too. Your logo isn’t the only part of your brand style either. There are many different pieces. Feel free to find inspiration for your site, but at the end of the day you want to stick to one complete style guide.

Pieces of your Brand Style Guide:

  • Color palette
  • Typography
  • Use of images and icons
  • Tone and voice

responsive-website-design

Responsive Design Website Design

Website visitors are using mobile more and more every year. In fact, last year, “52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones (Statista).” This number is up again from the previous year by more than 2 percent.

We’re living in a digital world where users want instant gratification. Users are not willing to wait for your site to load or to push on a button 5 times because it’s too small. Your site visitors require a pleasant mobile experience and will go elsewhere if yours doesn’t provide it.

Responsive Website Redesign Tips:

  • Easy navigation (hamburger menu)
  • Fast page load time (3 seconds or less), which is good for SEO
  • Font size
  • No pop-ups (Google will penalize you)

Implement website SEO best practices

“Content” is king - we hear it all the time. Getting found online is especially difficult when hundreds of companies are all competing for the same words. Doing your keyword research for your website pages is critical for your site to rank and be understood by Google.

  • Fast loading times
  • Metas, alt text, internal links, H1s, page titles, URLs
  • Set up 404, 302 (temporary), 301 (permanent) redirects
  • Submit your sitemap to search engines
  • Use the change of address tool in the Search Console for Google
  • Make your content shareable on social
  • Make sure your website is secure

Reduce choices

Too many options can overwhelm your website visitor and make decision-making difficult.

Often times, this ends up with no decision and a loss of sales. It’s even backed up by research. When there are less options, it’s easier to decide the path that the user should take, especially when you look at its impact on conversion rate optimization (CRO).

It reminds me of the FOMO “fear of missing out” saying. Many times, companies will overload their site with so much content, trying to catch every type of website visitor. What they forget about is the user journey. In your website redesign, you should have a specific user path that follows the buying journey.

Don’t get me wrong, reducing choices isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work in deciding what path is most important. But once you do, you can expect to see your CRO improve by a few percentages.

Make sure the user knows where they are, at all times.

From your website navigation to breadcrumb navigation, you need to let the user know which page they are on. When you don’t know where you are in a website, you don’t know where to go back to find information. This can be extremely frustrating as a user.

Examples:

  1. Underlining or coloring the site page that the user is on
  2. Breadcrumb indication if the user is deep into a website

website-redesign-best-practice

Use familiar elements

Familiarity breeds comfort. Being innovative is important, but there are specific usability best practices that should remain consistent from site to site. For example, if you spell your email wrong when logging into your bank account, you typically get a red x, or the form field outlines in red. If it outlined in green, that might confuse you.

Keep in mind these common elements for your website redesign:

  1. Green for “correct” or “success” messages, like when the user is filling out a form.
  2. Red for “failure” messages
  3. X for closing a popup or a form pop-up
  4. Shopping cart icons for adding an item to your shopping cart.

A website redesign can be a big project

Always define your website goals and ask yourself “why” you are doing this redesign. Website projects can be overwhelming and take some time, but when done efficiently, will allow you to reap amazing benefits. Make sure you’re working with experts that keep these best practices in mind. Remember to invest in quality and give your users an amazing experience.

What do you think? What other best practices would you include?

25-website-must-haves

Cristina Miller
Cristina Miller

One part artist, one part curious, two parts strategist, three parts results-driven. Cristina is a team player who believes that a little encouragement, transparency, and hard work goes a long way. As Digital Marketing Manager with Laire Group Marketing, she leverages her love of learning and passion for design, marketing, and business strategy to help companies produce quality leads and achieve success.