Why redesign your website? Website fashion changes, user expectations change, businesses grow and evolve. We would be naïve to think that websites are a one-off business element that never needs a fresh look or an update.
The world of the internet has changed vastly over the last 5 years alone, with users now accessing your website from the palm of their hand, and expecting greater ecommerce functionality. Furthermore, the Millennial generation, the ones who’ve grown up without ever experiencing a world without connectivity, are now one of the most lucrative target audiences.
Planning a website redesign, and a website update, should be high on your agenda.
What is website redesign?
Businesses, particularly small ones, need to consider every penny spent carefully. Therefore your first thought when considering whether to redesign your website is going to start flashing pound signs at you. However, if you understand the reasons for redesigning a website, you’ll come to realise that it makes sounds financial and business sense.
A website redesign should take what you already have, and create something new and better. In many instances, it is more financially savvy to effectively ‘start again’, but the core principles should be the same – boosting your bottom line and refining business efficiency.
Website redesign should focus on bringing you greater volumes of traffic, and more accurate sales leads. It should be on the ball in terms of technology and user expectations, and it should meet marketing strategy goals.
Website redesign is therefore the entire process of getting your website up-to-date and back in line with your business requirements.
Why should I redesign my website?
Small businesses evolve, adapt, and change to match a wealth of influences and market forces. Your website, at its very least, is an extension of your business. It should be integral to growth and change. It is central to marketing goals, and combine this with technological advances and user expectations.
In the current digital marketplace, it is extremely easy for potential customers to go elsewhere if they don’t get what they need from you. They expect an easy-to-use, intuitive, and informative website. User experience (UX) should be at the heart of a website redesign. By doing this you’ll succeed in converting traffic into valuable customers.
There are a multitude of additional reasons why you should consider getting someone to redesign your website.
Let’s consider the main ten:
- Mobile optimisation
- User experience
- Improved results
- Competitor comparisons
- Old branding
- Inflexible design
- Outdated CMS
- SEO improvements
Mobile optimisation or responsiveness
In the UK, 61% of all digital minutes are spent on a smartphone. That means, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re losing out on a huge chunk of the market. You’re missing catching potential customers ‘where they are at’ – in their palm.
Revamp of website should put mobile responsiveness as a priority. Given the Mobile Google Algorithm Update, which boosts mobile-friendly websites in search engine results ranking, you really are missing a trick if your site isn’t responsive.
Better user experience and navigation
You have just 10 seconds of a user’s attention before they decide whether to stay on your website or leave, so the user experience and navigation in that first 10 seconds needs to be absolutely perfect. They need to believe you have exactly what they are looking for, and they need to find it, fast.
Websites that need a redesign often need to address this issue.
Your website isn’t producing the results you’d like
We know the theory – a website is important for your business. But what if your website isn’t delivering the results you’d like? It’s time to do something about it.
Websites should be a valuable business tool. If yours isn’t bringing you what you want, then it is time to start planning a website redesign.
How does my website compare to competitors
As we’ve already said, it’s easy for your potential customers to go elsewhere if they don’t quickly get what they need from your website. 75% of people rate the credibility of a company on the design of their website, so you need yours to be ahead of your competitors.
On average, businesses change their branding every 7-10 years, however, this assumes a sudden change. Branding often adapts gradually with fashion. Nonetheless branding quickly becomes outdated if there is a merger or acquisition.
If your brand has changed significantly since your website was designed, it will be time to start the redesigning a website steps.
Long loading times
40% of website users will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Web users are an impatient bunch. When asking ‘Why redesign your website?’ long loading times may be a key factor.
Adding new functionality
Back to UX. Your users expect your website to do exactly what they need it to do. Add into that advances in plugins and website features that have been proven to increase qualified sales leads, and your website could be doing you a disservice.
A website update will take a fresh look at functionality, and ensure it brings you the latest functionality.
The design isn’t flexible enough
A mistake many businesses make when designing a website is designing it for today’s needs only. A website should be adaptable. Content strategy changes over time, and if your site isn’t flexible enough to meet new needs, such as additional pages, then you will need to begin planning a website redesign.
Your Content Management System (CMS) is past its time and hard to use
The whole purpose of a CMS is to make your website management easier. In reality, many website owners find they have to navigate quirks in their CMS in the same way you have a knack for locking your own front door. Without realising it, CMS can become harder and harder to use over time. By redesigning your website you’ll get back to ease of use.
To improve my website’s performance in search engines
75% of website users never scroll past the first page of search engine results. Your SEO is vital for getting your business seen. There’s no point having an excellent website if no one finds it. When you consider a revamp of website, SEO should be absolutely central to the strategy.
How much do website redesigns cost?
Website design costs vary according to a wide range of factors, including the level of redesign required. In most instances, it is actually more cost-effective to start again.
Nonetheless, however much you invest in your website redesign is exactly that – an investment. Websites pay for themselves. A good website should bring a valuable return on investment.
For more information on website redesign costs, take a look into our guide to website costs.
How often should I redesign my website?
If you’re asking that question, the answer is almost certainly now. Generally, website redesign should be considered every one to three years, depending on the nature of your site, business, and technology advances in that time. However, in reality it should be as soon as it isn’t meeting yours, or your customer’s needs.
If you have a web developer on-board with a maintenance contract, you will also need to liaise with them regarding when a redesign might be necessary. Excellent web developers will plan website redesigns to be moderately future-proof, however all websites will need updating eventually.
Planning a website redesign: redesigning a website steps
Now you know the answer to why redesign your website, the next stage is taking a structured approach to your website redesign.
By following these website redesign steps, you should be able to ensure your new website is in tune with your business strategy and future potential.
- Evaluate your site
- Set goals
- Research competitors
- Site mock-ups
- Design site
- Develop design
- Test design and functions
- Implement and publish
Evaluate your current website
If you already know that your current website isn’t up to scratch then that’s great – but you need to know why. If you can evaluate your current site to identify the pinch points, where you lose users, what doesn’t work, what does, and more, then you can ensure your redesign takes these factors into account. You need to take an analytical approach making use of all of the data available to you.
Set a clear goal and vision
Using the information gathered from the step above, combined with your business and marketing strategies, you should now be in the position to set a clear goal and vision.
At this stage this isn’t a clear brief, but it will include your primary purposes for having the site, and what you hope it will achieve for your business. Then you can also add in any specifics you’d like it to include.
This clear goal and vision will enable you to steer a web developer in the right direction, and get them working on-point, on your new website.
Research and competitor analysis
It may be possible to undertake some of the research about what your website should do, in line with competitors, by taking a quick look around. However, it can take a skilled eye and a bit of detective work to establish exactly why a competitor is ahead of you in search rankings, or gets more conversions, or anything else directly to do with their website. There are specialist agencies and freelancers capable of undertaking a competitor analysis for you, and this may prove time-efficient.
A wireframe is the blueprint or plan, in a visual format, for how your website will look. It’s the basic skeleton on which the rest of the site will be developed. This is a crucial stage because it’s starting to consider your branding, as well as your user experience and functionality. A wireframe is the structure for how content will be placed and what features will be included.
Once you’ve got a basic idea of what the site will look like from the wireframe it’s time to create some digital mock-ups. These begin to show you what the website will look like, and how it might work. It’s a way of refining your plan so far.
Usually these pages aren’t interactive, rather more like a screenshot, but they help you envision what your site will look like.
This stage of a website redesign is when graphics and aesthetics come into play. At the design stage it’s all about looks and functionality, and marrying the two. There should be a fair amount of back-and-forth discussion with your web designer at this stage, as now is the time to make changes and refine the look, before the site is fully developed. You should have a clear colour palette, and understanding, of how development will look like.
At this stage of a website redesign, there is a huge amount of behind the scenes work. A web developer will now be working on the programming to build your site.
Simultaneously, the site will be populated with content, and SEO put in place.
The aim of testing is to identify, and fix, any problems in the website before it goes live. This is a crucial stage, as you don’t want your new website to cause any problems for your users, or your staff.
Several different elements of the website will be tested at this stage including: security, functionality, user experience, responsiveness, suitability for different operating systems, and preparation for traffic (load testing).
Once all of the above redesigning a website steps have been completed, it is time for your new website to go live.
Important considerations for websites that need a redesign
A website redesign is an investment and you need to ensure you maximise both time and cost-effectiveness.
The following tips are important to consider when embarking on a website redesign.
Set clear deadlines
From the beginning of the project, you should have a clear idea of your own expectations on timing. Discuss these with your web developer, and then together set clear deadlines.
Remember that, at some stages, your web developer will be busy ‘behind the scenes’ with the programming, and at others you will be actively involved with design. Nonetheless, have a clear set of deadlines for everyone to work to.
Safeguard your assets
One of the key purposes of evaluating your current website as a first step, is not only to identify where things aren’t working, but also to identify where they are. Keeping valuable and effective content, current keyword rankings, and inbound links are vital to keep in the re-design.
Develop buyer personas
Your target audience will be made up of several different buyer personas. If you can identify these and keep them in your mind through the design process, then you can maximise on user experience in the end product. Try to see things through their eyes.
Will the website architecture be changed?
If the basic architecture is being changed, which is possible if starting afresh has been considered the most cost-effective solution, then you will need to ensure it is built for scalability in the future, but also, aligns properly to the old content.
You should work closely with your web developer to create a URL structure and information architecture, which makes sense to both users and Google.
Plan SEO from the beginning
SEO should not be an afterthought or a bolted on addition. All of the changes you are considering should not negatively impact your SEO, only seek to improve it further. Your web developer should be skilled in this, but if you are doing the redesign yourself, or want to find out more, make sure you look at the Google webmaster guidelines.
Update you sitemaps
It seems obvious, but take the time to update your sitemaps. They may be behind the scenes to you, but they aren’t to search engines. It also makes for a useful planning tool, breaking down the site into a valuable hierarchy.
How do I update my website?
Understanding that you need to redesign your website is the first step. Then it’s time to consider your options about how to do it.
Redesigning a website is invaluable for the future success of your business.
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The information on this page should help you to understand how redesigning your website can add value. Indeed, many sites will be in desperate need of improvement without the owner or manager even knowing it.
The best way to find out how best to redesign your site is to speak to experts – we can help with this. By filling in the form at the top of the page, we can help you to get in touch with up to four top UK web design companies. This process is quick, free and easy, and it could help to save your business both time and money.