Website Redesign, How, and When?

website redesign how and when

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There is a multitude of reasons why you might be considering a website redesign. Perhaps your site looks a bit dated and could use a facelift.

It’s also possible that the traffic has stagnated and a refreshed look could help bolster attention and get your desired conversion rate back up.

When done well, a website redesign can help revitalize your business, helping alleviate a lot of issues you might be facing. Done wrong, it could have a dramatically different effect, as it can drive visitors away, reducing your business’s visibility.

Website redesign should be approached less from what the business wants to have to what the customers prefer. After all, they are the business’s lifeline.

This guide aims to help by providing you some aspects to consider when redesigning your site.


Redesign vs Refresh

Before addressing the website redesign how and when details, its a good idea to draw a distinction between redesigning and refreshing a website. The difference falls mainly to how dramatically the website is being changed.

A website refresh implies that the core structure of a site, as well as its primary functionality, remains intact, and only minor changes are applied.

Esthetics, a new color palette, added menu features, and typography, as well as other small tweaks to the page to make it work like before, just better, do not constitute a dramatic overhaul.

When a website is redesigned, the implication is that there is a significant alteration to the code, the visual layout, and the appearance of the website.

This includes a brand new look and feel of the page, new functionality, and new information architecture. All of these things going live in tandem with each other make the site appear and function very differently than before.

Before Considering A Website Redesign

When considering a website redesign, whether you take it on your own, or hire a web designer or developer, or hire a web design agency, there are a few worthwhile questions to ask.

You likely have a deeper reason than just “its time to change” if you will be undertaking this endeavor, so first and foremost, you need to be clear about why you feel you need a redesign and set clear goals.

The goals are set by doing a deep evaluation of what aspects of your current website work, and which do not. If something works but can work better, that is a valid point of consideration.

Ask yourself what your most valuable pages are and which of those are working well.

As we are considering things from the point of view of your site’s visitors, you should keep in mind who your visitors are, as well as what needs they may have that your current website is not satisfying.

Remember that your website is your business card, your one-stop shop for allowing any information about your business to be communicated, so when evaluating, keep in mind what your business specifically uses and benefits most from on your site.

Finally, ask yourself how exactly it is you plan on measuring the metrics of success once your redesign is complete. Don’t worry if you do not have the answers right away, but not asking the questions, would be to your detriment.

When Is It Time For A Website Redesign

Technology and trends are ever-evolving. Your website is a reflection of your business, meaning that it is your portal to customers who are interested in whatever you might be selling.

A good way to turn potential customers away is by presenting an outdated website. Such a site does not paint your business as up to date or forward-thinking. It might be superficial, but the psychological effect it has on visitors is anything but.

Is your site incorporating modern technology and keeping up with the newest digital and design trends? Every few years there is some new feature, a new player in the game shall we say, and it could revolutionize how businesses reach their potential clients (think Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

As a business, you are always looking for maximum exposure to your product, so you want to incorporate as many of the new communication trends into your website’s array of abilities.

Perhaps you are targetting a new audience with a product. There is a vast difference in how a website should present itself depending on the market it is trying to reach.

Everything from the verbiage, slang, text tone, visuals, mobile responsiveness, menu navigation, and keywords utilized will send, bring, and turn away particular audiences.

Maybe you have determined that your website and your business are not drawing the crowd (in size or type) that you are looking to draw, and you are thinking about rebranding. If you feel its time to rebrand, your website needs to reflect your new brand’s personality.

Most importantly, is your website accomplishing the things you are looking for? Are you drawing enough traffic and is that traffic converting for you?

A good redesign of a website may draw more traffic, and with bigger traffic, the chances of conversion increase organically.

So if your website is not pulling in the desired traffic, a top-down custom redesign could result in a dramatic change of fortune for your business.

Planning For A Website Redesign

Enhancing how your website looks will only take you so far. Website redesign needs a deeper dive and a strategic plan to approach.

You want your website to function better, but it cannot do so until you know what “better” means in your specific case.

Here are a few thoughts that must go into your plan of attack for a redesign.

  • Which pages on your site hold the most value?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What about your site drives customers to it, and what conversely, what turns them away?
  • Will your business be impacted by performing the redesign? (how so?)
  • How will you measure if the redesign was a success?
  • What will you be changing? What testing methodology will you use on the changes?

Let’s take a closer look at these key aspects of consideration”

Which Pages Are The Most Valuable?

Before redesigning a website, you need to consider which parts need what level of redesign.

One efficient way to approach this is to consider your site’s pages one by one, evaluating them based on the relationship between traffic and conversations. Depending on the relationship between those two aspects, you can better gauge how much redesign attention the page needs.

Here is how the 4 types of relationships break down:

  1. High Traffic + High Conversion: Whatever these pages are, they are doing something right. These are your most prized possessions. You typically do not want to fix what isn’t broken, especially when its the most effective part of your site. Therefore, the most caution and care in the redesign should be afforded to this group.

  2. Low Traffic + High Conversion: These pages may not draw as much attention, but when they do, they are highly effective. Keep your focus on the acquisition of more attention, without taking away from the pages’ efficacy.

  3. High Traffic + Low Conversion: These types of pages are attractive to visitors but do not seem to attain the desired conversion rate. When you redesign, keep in mind improvements that can be made to increase conversions, which means there is more leniency with how experimental your approach can be. It’s relatively low-risk, as you are not chancing the loss of conversions.

  4. Low Traffic + Low Conversions: These are the types of pages that can have a redesign free-reign. There is no conversion risk, and the changes are likely to go largely unnoticed as the page gets few visitors. With so little to lose, these pages will allow for the most redesign changes.

You can determine the traffic and conversions with the use of tools like Google Analytics.

Who Is Your Audience?

Identifying the most important pages is vital, but it alone cannot make the improvements you need.

You also need to know who is visiting your website, and equally as important, why they are visiting. In a research study years ago performed by Google, it was found that there are primarily 4 types of visitors to websites:

  • Those curious to find out about your product, service, or brand.
  • Those seeking out a way to get in touch with you.
  • Those needing to learning something with the help of one of your products.
  • Those ready to make a purchase from you.
Research data from Think with Google

These are all very different visitor intentions and your redesign will need to keep in mind the aspects of all of those categories. One way of doing so is to create semi-fictional “personas” of your current “ideal” customers.

These will be based on real-life demographic and psychographic data and will help you determine more clearly who your ideal customers are and what their primary intent is for visiting your website’s specific pages.

What Appeals To Audiences About Your Website And What Does Not?

You have two pieces of the puzzle in place now. You know your most valuable pages and you know the audience that is reaching them.

Now its time to think of what experience the visitors will have when coming to your site. Will they be convinced and assisted with completing the actions driving their visit’s purpose, or will they be turned away? Why?

To find this out, you need to have a solid idea of what areas users like and which areas they do not.

If you do not make the connection between the aspects of your site and the audience’s experience, you cannot hope to know what it is that you need to focus your main redesign efforts on. This is a good time to remind yourself that your redesign considerations are all about the audience.

When you map your site, use your analytics tools of choice to see which pages get more visitors.

That alone is not enough though. You need to leverage other tools to help you figure things out. The best way to find out what customers like and don’t like is by soliciting feedback in some form.

You can do a test trial of screen recordings, review customer service transcripts, use website heatmaps, feedback widgets, or even on-site surveys. The more information you pull together, then collate, will help you better reconcile the areas of your site that most desperately need the redesign.

Will Your Business Be Impacted By Performing The Design?

You would not want to treat a redesigned website as a new shiny toy, but rather as a tool which does the work you need it to.

Your business likely has multiple different facets, so it is prudent that all of the different team members that help it move along realize the impact on them. A website redesign will mean different things to different team members.

  • The design and user interface team will need to make sure that the changes incurred in the redesign do not compromise the visitors’ experience.

  • Copyright and content teams will need to make adjustments to how much content will be offered, how it will be presented, and orient themselves to figure out where the content should be displayed.

  • SEO teams will need to verify the impact of the redesign on the web site’s ranking and if there are any, will need to make adjustments accordingly.

  • Anyone capturing sales leads will need to be made aware of the changes as it may impact how they proceed with their jobs.

  • Teams who support customers will need to be aware of the changes as they are on the front lines of customer interactions and will need to answer questions to help customers out in a new environment.

How Will You Measure If Your Design Was A Success?

You will need to measure the success rate of your redesign efforts by the results, and whether they did or did not pay off. There are two primary metric types that need to be considered in this respect: revenue and quantitative.

The revenue metrics will involve the measurement of a number of conversions, the conversion rate, revenue brought in, the average value of orders (AOV), and the lifetime value of customers (CLV).

Quantitative metrics will also help measure the efficacy of your redesign.

These metrics measure customer satisfaction, the increase/reduction of questions and issues reported about the site, the increase/decrease of your net promoter score, and if you are doing better in your customer effort score (ie, did the redesign make the customers’ experience on your website better)?

These are all considered KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and knowing these will help you determine if your website redesign has helped draw more business, and if so, by how much?

What Will Be Changed and How Will You Change It?

Finally, you have all the research you need to collect, you have organized and analyzed your findings, and you are prepared to measure the aftereffects of your redesign.

But that was just the plan, now its time to put the changes into action.

While you are thinking of a redesign on a grander scale, consider the areas that your research has found to be more problematic. Tackling too much at once will spread your redesign efforts too thin.

Therefore you will want to make changes that will make the biggest differences first, then test the results.

A testing method that proves most effective is A/B testing if you have the traffic that allows you to generate results that are statistically relevant and significant.

This is done by testing the new elements on your site against the old ones in terms of their impact on the goal your site is seeking to accomplish.

Without sufficient traffic, this can conduct moderated usability testing, where you can get real people to interact with the old and new features of the site, and comment on their observations and feeling on the ease and efficacy of use.

Those pages that generate the bulk of your traffic and conversions might warrant some level of redesign.

You want to be cautious not to abandon or break functionality that has been proven to work, so implement only the most impactful ideas on these pages, test them thoroughly, then move on to other areas.

Final Thoughts

So you have overhauled your site, redesigned it, are happy with how things came out, and the response you see from your visitors in your analytic tools are also good.

Too bad your work is not done.

Once the new version of the page is up and running, its time to monitor for any other weak points you may have failed to address or perhaps new ones that were unforeseen ones unintentionally introduced with the redesign.

Keep in mind that browser technologies will change, accessibility standards may alter over time, and customers’ preferences can vary greatly.

Things that worked when you redesigned may no longer be the best option a year from now. Be sure to stay proactive, rather than being reactive.

Keep track and a close eye on your customer’s needs as, it bears repeating, all the changes were made with them in mind.

Using the same feedback tools and behavior analytics that you worked with when plotting out your redesign, continue to always research and find new ways to improve your site.

Monitor which new elements are making the biggest difference and use that for information to inform your future redesigns. Technology will move forward so your website upkeep and refacing are never truly done.

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