Revamping your website is a great way to boost your conversions, improve the visitor experience, and attract more customers. However, this is something you shouldn’t approach lightly. If you’re not careful, creating a new website will cost you all the successes you generated with the original. Keep these crucial considerations in mind as you’re revamping your site.
Functionality Is First
Image via Flickr by pabak sarkar
Functionality should be your first point of consideration when you’re looking at revamping your website. Spend some quality time surfing the pages as a customer would. How many clicks does it take to get from the home page to the product you’re looking for? Are answers to your clients’ most common questions readily available? You may have heard of the “three clicks rule,” which states that visitors should be able to reach what they’re looking for in three clicks or fewer. While this is a decent guideline, it’s not completely accurate.
One study shows that users maintain the same level of satisfaction, between 45 percent and 62 percent, all the way up to 24 clicks. However, for visitors to stick with it through all those clicks, they need a progressive trail of information that yields something valuable at every step. Twenty-four clicks through unrelated content won’t cut it.
After functionality, you need to consider optimization. Visit the website from multiple devices. Is it as easy to navigate on a smartphone as it is on a desktop computer? In October 2016, mobile and tablet devices accounted for over 51 percent of internet use while desktops made up just under 49 percent. Mobile optimization is more important than ever, so any revamping you do should address this critical element.
Consistency Is Key
Revamping your website gives you the perfect opportunity to polish up its look and feel, but you don’t want to stray too far from your current branding. Make sure customers can still recognize where they are when they visit the site. Maintaining the same typography, color palette, and imagery can help lend an air of consistency and familiarity to the new site. Keep this in mind throughout the design process so you can stay true to the core elements of your brand.
Audits Tell You a Lot
Before you begin mapping out your new website, complete an SEO audit. Dig through absolutely everything on your existing site and determine how it’s performing. Go through subdomains and track down all your inbound links. You may be surprised to find that a long-forgotten page is performing extremely well. This analysis will give you a solid idea of what you should keep, what you can leave behind, and which strategies will be most effective for building your new site.
Redirects Are Essential
If you’re starting from scratch with a revamped website, you’re doing it wrong. Maximize on the strengths of your previous site and carry these over to the new one. If you have a solid URL structure in place, there’s no need to redesign it. You can simply place new content in your existing URLs so you can hang on to those inbound links.
If your site is disorganized and confusing, you may need to bite the bullet and redesign your URLs. In this case, you should hold on to valuable content from your previous page and set up a redirect so your inbound links and established SEO aren’t completely lost. Make sure all your older pages 301 redirect to their counterparts on your new site. Refer to your SEO audit to make sure you’re implementing the proper redirects for every page. Don’t forget about those subdomains in the process. Everything you currently have requires important consideration before moving forward.
It Takes Quality Content
While you may have a decent chunk of information that you can roll over, this is a perfect time to generate new content for your website as well. Utilize your SEO audit to find out what generates the most attention and what goes largely unnoticed. Expand on the pages and posts that do well, and find the flaws in those that don’t.
The best content management strategy includes a diverse selection of pieces, including engaging product copy, valuable eBooks, informative white papers, and well-timed press releases. Draft a detailed plan for your content in advance so you can carefully map out where everything will fit in the new website’s hierarchy.
Redesigns Should Be Rare
While a solid redesign can give your site the boost that it needs, this isn’t a strategy that you want to use often. Your revamped website should have the staying power to last for years. Make sure it’s designed in such a way that you can update it easily within the existing framework. You shouldn’t have to completely overhaul the site every time you want to add a different type of content or launch a new product line.
It’s important to make sure your regular marketers and content management team can update the site easily, particularly if you’re outsourcing the design and implementation of the new framework. While it’s smart to call in an experienced outside company to help you launch a revamped website, you need adequate access to maintain it long-term from within.
Pros Do It Best
If you don’t have an extensive team of marketers, designers, and copywriters on staff, it’s best to turn to professionals when it comes to stocking your new website with valuable content and graphics. Don’t struggle to complete a mediocre DIY job in-house if you’re not equipped with experienced professionals for this task. Understand where you need to outsource, and don’t hesitate to do so when it will help you produce a stronger website that generates the results you need.
Revamping your website can seem like a daunting task, but the rewards far outweigh the potential drawbacks along the way. With a mindful approach to your project and a keen eye on the areas where things you can go wrong, you can make sure that you enjoy a relaunch that boosts your company to a new level of success. Start planning for your relaunch today.