A How-To Guide for Redesigning Your Website
When you have a website, it’s important that you update it frequently. This signals search engines that your site is active and relevant in your niche. It also appeases your regular visitors–they visit regularly for a reason and if you’re not providing new content and a new look every once in a while you’re doing them (and yourself) a big disservice.
If you wake up one day and realize your site is horribly out of date, don’t fret. We’ve put together a quick guide for redesigning your site so as to minimize (or eliminate) downtime and ensure the aesthetic direction you take is the right one for your business.
Evaluate What You Have
Take a step back and look, really look at your current site. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Are there navigational issues that make getting around your site difficult? Are there visual elements that seem out of place, unnecessary, or old-fashioned? What about the content? Is it too sales-y? Does it fail to connect with your target audience? Is it compatible with current browsers? Is it easy to find important information or is your contact info, pricing, or products/services tucked away in a corner somewhere? Do the graphical elements fit your brand and message?
By answering these questions you can get a better handle on where you stand and what steps you need to take next.
Look At Your Competitors
Beyond evaluating what you currently have and assessing areas that need improvement, you should also look into what other people in your industry are doing online. For instance, if a lot of your competitors have responsive site design, it’s probably a good idea to make that a must-have on your redesign to-do list.
It’s totally okay to look at sites outside of your niche as well. Best Web Gallery offers up plenty of successful site designs for you to peruse to get ideas and inspiration.
When planning a site redesign, it’s important to keep everything organized. This means setting up a sitemap to lay out what pages will be included on your site to make for the most intuitive navigational process for your visitors. Page linking should make sense. Take some time with this as it will directly impact the bounce rate on your site and whether or not people become return visitors. Depending on the type and amount of content you need, you may need secondary navigational menus or breadcrumbs. A few menu types to consider include the top menu, list menu, and drop down menu.
A good site design will encourage interaction with visitors through forms, search boxes, and social media widgets. At the very least, you should have a contact form with pertinent questions you want prospects to answer, a search box that allows for on-site search, and links to your social media accounts in a prominent position. Showing you understand the value of social networking indicates you are up-to-date with the latest trends.