Planning a website redesign can be a massive undertaking. When you factor in the creative, strategic, technical and financial decisions that need to be made, it can be months before you’re ready to show off your website to your customers and the rest of the world. Whilst going through these phases may be tedious and time-consuming, it’s important that nothing is rushed.
This article covers 4 problems you could face during or after a website redesign and the importance of considering each area prior to starting the project.
Before putting pen to paper so to speak, you’ve got to have a clear understanding of what you’re hoping to achieve from the website redesign. Before planning what pages you need or what images you’ll use, it’s key to list out the objectives for the website.
To get clear on your objectives, you could ask yourself questions like:
For more information on what makes a website project run seamlessly, check out our free eBook, 5 Steps To A Winning Website Project, to learn the secrets to a successful website project, featuring tips that you can implement straight away.
One of the biggest problems caused by a website redesign is a drop in conversions. During a redesign, the latest technology and trends are often the biggest consideration to bring the website into the modern-day but are in fact the least important. Great design is a requirement but isn't the main driver behind consistent conversions.
One example where a focus on technology dropped online sales by 8.1% was when Marks and Spencer launched their new website in 2014. A redesign which took two years to complete returned a massive loss in sales during the first quarter after launch. A focus on bringing the technology in-house instead of using Amazon was a key factor in the redesign. Errors with add-to-cart functions as well as stock count not being correct led to customer confusion and ultimately a drop in sales.
When redesigning your website, it's important to take everything into consideration relating to the user's journey through your content (website). What will they be looking for? What problems do they have that they're looking to solve? Taking these aspects into consideration, it's critical that the journey is mapped so that they can effortlessly gain access to this information. If your current website has a high conversion rate, it's best to consider what you can tweak to improve it further instead of redesigning it completely.
To get this data, it's best to run A/B tests and utilise heatmaps to understand what resonates with your audience and what attracts them to various areas of your website. For heatmaps, we recommend Hotjar. Once you've obtained this data, you can analyse it to make better decisions moving forward to grow your website.
Getting clear on what you want to achieve from your website is essential before undertaking any major design changes. Where do users need guiding to? Do you want them to download a freebie? Or do you want them to get in contact?
Problems relating to search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, can vary broadly and are certainly not uncommon after a website redesign. Search engines can be your best friend sending consistent traffic to your website for key search terms. Whilst it would be great if that 'just happened', it doesn't and it requires consistent work to optimise the content in order to display in the search results for those lead generating terms.
During a redesign, it's likely that you'll want to update the content on your website. Chances are, it's probably outdated and due an update. Perfect timing, right? Whilst your current website may not be the bee's knees, it may be showing up in the search results (SERPs) for terms that are generating you a lot of business. Modifying large sections of the content may lower the relevance for that term and therefore result in your website dropping the ranks or leaving the results entirely.
Before making any changes to your website structure and/or the content, it's important to gain a benchmark of where your website is currently sitting prior to a redesign. What search terms are bringing visitors to your website? Where are your website visitors coming from?
If you do decide that updating content is a good idea, ensure that any change to URLs is matched with a redirect from the old content to the new. There's nothing worse than someone landing on the old page to be greeted by a 404. Remember, it's important to get visitors to the content they're looking for in as few clicks as possible. By adding redirects, you're also passing the SEO value across to the new URL.
Before and after the website redesign, it’s important to review the data within Google Analytics. Regardless of whether you’re seeing improvements or drops, the analytics data will help you to identify where the issues or improvements are coming from. Has your bounce rate increased or dropped on certain pages? Has your traffic dropped? Has your primary traffic source changed?
If you’re not sure how to improve your SEO, check out our free eBook, Unlocking The 5 Secrets To Getting Your Website Found Online, to learn how to optimise your website and the secrets you need to unlock for the search engines to rank your website higher.
If you’re looking for someone to handle the SEO for your website, check out our Search Engine Optimisation services.
Imagine taking months to redesign your website, writing your best copy and hiring a photographer to get professional photos for your website but then it takes an eternity to load. Time wasted, money wasted, visitors lost.
When people visit your website, they want it to load fast (like yesterday). Two studies completed by Google in 2016 and 2017 found that the average mobile landing page took 22 seconds to load. Another study also found that 53% of visitors would leave the website if it took longer than 3 seconds to load. If people won’t wait 3 seconds, they certainly won’t be waiting 22 seconds.
When completing any design changes on a website, it’s more important than ever to optimise everything so that it loads as quick as possible. The addition of graphics, pages and features results in the website page size being much bigger and therefore takes greater server resources to deliver this content to the visitor quickly.
With these optimisations, you still want a homepage that loads in a few seconds. Anything over 10 seconds and you’ll want to consider removing bulky graphics and unnecessary features to improve performance.
For more information on improving the speed of your website, check out our free eBook, 5 Reasons Why Your Slow Website Is Costing You Sales, to understand why you are losing valuable sales from your slow website and our recommended action steps to speed up your site.
Whilst this isn’t an exhaustive list of areas to consider, hopefully, this article has provided you with some great tips to assist you in your next website redesign project. Don’t let these issues come to light after launching your new website, consider them from the start and plan your redesign around the information you put together and collect during these phases.
If you're interested in discussing your next website redesign, send us a message below and we'll be in touch.