After a while, every site needs a little bit of redecorating. Redesigning a website is a lot like remodeling a room in your house. It’s not just about a fresh coat of paint. It’s about all of the pieces — the furniture, the flooring, the layout, and the paint — and how they work together to create the most livable room. That’s true for a website refresh, too: You can’t just give the site some fresh colors; you need to think about all the website components.
But before you start installing new fixtures and adding finishing touches, you have to prepare for potential problems. It’s a good idea to lay down tarps and remove or cover valuables, for example. If you don’t, you’ll probably regret it later. Website redesigns are no different: Before you start tinkering with the code, it’s important to take a step back and start at the beginning to make sure you’re avoiding mistakes along the way.
Mistake 1: Diving In Without Goals or Strategy
Doesn’t starting a new project give you this rush of adrenaline? You get so excited about the possibilities that you want to start right away. Ideas and images are overflowing in your mind, and you’re ready to make it a reality.
If that’s how you’re feeling about your company’s website redesign, that’s great. But stop right there.
A full-speed-ahead attitude won’t actually help you here. Instead of jumping ahead, start by setting goals (bet you’ve heard that one before). Without SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals, you won’t have a plan for what your site should achieve. And if you don’t know what your website should do, what’s the point in spending so much effort on it?
For example, let’s say your goal is to gain 25% more contacts than last quarter. That will affect your redesign: You’ll need to plan on having more forms, calls-to-action and landing pages. But if you hadn’t set those goals, you wouldn’t know that! So before you get started, flesh out all of your goals.
Mistake 2: Not Basing Decisions on Numbers
Thought a website redesign wouldn’t involve math? Prepare yourself for some bad news.
While the website redesign process does include a ton of creative thinking, analytics and data are at the heart of it all. As we’ve talked about already, measurable (read: number-based) goals drive your redesign, so knowing your site metrics is essential. Before beginning the process, use data to assess what’s working and what’s not.
Skipping analytics could present two problems: First, you could change the things that are doing really well on your site (why fix what ain’t broke?). Second, you hold on to poorly performing website elements (you know the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results). Either way, you could be passing over opportunities to increase conversion rates and boost sales.
Instead, look at your site’s data before making any changes. Use the metrics to inform your redesign — and to assess it later on.
Mistake 3: Keeping The Same Content
Remember the last time you updated your website? You spent hours crafting clever turns of phrase and relevant information to display on your homepage, landing pages, and other site pages. But that doesn’t mean you can just hold onto that content as your redesign begins.
With changes in design, structure, and format, it makes sense that content needs to change, too. For example, your new site may place more emphasis on illustrations or videos, which means you can’t write as much. Or perhaps you’re creating a page that delves into the details of your product or service — you’ll need to write all new content to fill the page. Maybe you’re updating the site because of a shift in company culture, which means you’ll need to at least tweak some sentences to achieve the right tone.
And speaking of content, we’re not just talking about basic site pages. Your content strategy — which includes blogging, creating premium content, and providing helpful information to readers — should adapt to your website redesign. After all, you should have a premium content offer on every page, so if you have new pages, you might need new premium content. And if your site redesign is because of new services, your blog should reflect that, too.
You now know some of the challenges that might come up in a website redesign process, and knowing what you’re up against is half the battle. If you’re confident you can maneuver these obstacles and create an optimized site for your business, get started with the checklists available in our full eBook.
>> To read the rest of the mistakes you should be aware of, download The 10 Most Common Website Redesign Mistakes. <<