When it comes to your company website, the first impression does matter; it is the face of your brand online. Your website is your biggest marketing tool because, with it, you can attract prospective customers into your world, convincing them to either buy your products or partner with you.
In this digital era, trends evolve almost every day. There are innovations, demands change, and so does consumption, design changes etc. and this means that your website content should be updated equally to meet the needs of your target audience lest you get outdated.
A website redesign is a crucial commitment, and you have to approach it with extra care and lay out a proper strategy. This article will guide you on the questions to ask yourself or your team before making that decision and the steps to follow.
Why are you redesigning your website?
This is the determinant question before anything else. Whereas there are several reasons for a makeover, there are lots of bad ones too. Below, we discuss what should not be your drive to redesigning your website;
I do not like the look anymore; This statement is very blank, and it does not leave any details, this could be from some individual that checks out your website every day but is this really what your customers are saying? Is this what they think?
The other weak reason for your website revamp is keeping up with your competitors. Let analytics be your only judge of how effective you are, in the market.
If you find yourself planning to redesign only because your competitor did, then your aim is not to change your conversions or update your technology but rather save your face. This is not worth the trouble.
Do not make plans from a reactionary point but rather be strategic, objective and have a purpose when it comes to your website.
Also, sometimes an essential change to your website could be exciting but does not necessarily require a complete makeover. Addition of features like a membership portal or blog does not imply redesigning. You can also get a new content management system without the whole process.
When is the right time to redesign your website?
If you have changed your branding and what you offer;
Your branding is the personality of your business; it is the feeling you want people to associate with while interacting with your content.
If you change anything in what you offer or your appearance, then everything needs to look consistent.
You are going to need new written content, but you do not want to simply fill in the gaps of what was leftover from your old content.
If your customers are not engaged;
How do you tell that customers are not involved? Google Analytics is your friend. You can tell when people are visiting your site or just bouncing off at a high rate-this is not a good sign.
From the analytics, you will discover how long people are sticking around when they visit and how they are engaging with your pages (time and page).
If your clients are coming and leaving in five seconds that is an issue, this could mean that what they are seeing is confusing or does not inspire any trust in your business.
If it is complicated to your customer;
Most businesses err in putting too much information on their website and offer way too many pages. This sounds like a good thing, but whenever you give people too much content and options to choose from, they tend to get lost and not know where to go next.
The better thing to do is concentrate on the handful of pages that are going to lead to sales; this might be simple like restructuring your information tabs in your headers, prioritising what is essential etc.
If the website isn’t making sales;
If your website is not making you any income, conversion rates are declining all the time; then it is time for you to revamp your site.
This could be due to changing trends in your market or even misfired marketing.
When your website is outdated compared to the rest
The best way to tell if your website is outdated is to compare your performance to your competitors.
Also, visit your favourite website even if it does not fall in the same market category as you. Find what is interesting to you from that website and use the same element to your site for your customer to enjoy.
You and your team might not always tell the glitches in a website you run on daily; it is hard to recognise this hence the need for you to compare your website with your favourite ones out there to stay up to date with trends.
How do you approach the process of redesigning your website?
Once you have resolved that you are going to redesign your website, the next phase is planning or preparation. These are the steps to consider;
As a team, you need to have a candid and realistic discussion about your expectations from the website redesigning project you are about to take on and how much you are willing/ able to invest in it.
Remember that your website is the only salesperson working twenty-four hours every day on your behalf. It is making connections in your absentia, answering questions about your products and services, making sales, etc.
The value you will get out of it is equivalent to the time and money you invest in.
What does a website redesign budget look like?
When it comes to determining how much to spend, you need to keep within your means, do not bite more than you can chew as this could harm your business in the long run.
Do not set yourself up for a disappointment by planning around what you cannot afford.
That said, the answer to the question above is different for all businesses, but these factors are shared pointers;
What do you expect from redesigning your website?
Your answer could be new content, new videography/photography, updated technology, a new platform, a simple redesign etc. All these you have to factor in your budget.
You will need to know how much of your old content you are keeping and how much new material is going to be created. This information will help you plan and allocate resources to what is needed in order of urgency.
Also to be considered is the return on investments made for redesigning your website. You can earn what is spent on a few sales depending on your profit margins.
Most importantly, your budget should have room for contingencies.
Set a considerable timeline
Is your projected timeline viable? This works the same way as your budget discussed above; it has to be realistic. Your team should put effort into understanding your goals as a company, how your competitors are faring on the market etc. after analysing, then your team will figure out approximately how long this project will take.
The time set needs to be assessed alongside the time you have available to work through the process and still keep running as a company.
Whether you choose to do it internally or hire an agency to redesign your website, you are going to participate in each step from site reviews, giving feedback, getting in touch with writers hired or writing your content.
Manage your Internal Technology
The company hosting your website has all your files, and that is where your Domain name or URL is registered. Whichever company you finally decide to do the redesigning for you, it should be able to attach your domain name to where your files are being hosted, when your revamped website is ready.
It is common for the company hosting your website to be different from the one hosting your domain name. It is vital to have this knowledge, particularly if your company has several departments.
Who has access to your credentials?
The answer to this question has a significant impact on your process of launching your new website to the world. Usually, if your IT team is skilled enough and understand the process, for example, editing CNAME and MX records, then you can launch internally and not share this information with the company you hire.
If you lack such skill on your team, then you have to share your credentials with the company working on redesigning your site, which means you have to trust them enough.
Now that you are aware of the possible technical constraints, and your needs, expectations, the budget, timeline, goals are out of the way, it is time to assemble your team and identify your key stakeholders;
This is mostly ignored by companies only to get stuck midway because they fail to agree on what to accept or reject from the edits submitted.
Before hiring that company or giving your team the go-ahead to redesign your site, you must identify a person who will have the power to approve the whole project.
This person could be your marketing director or CEO to approve of any decisions and sign off any other requirement during the process. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where there are over three people making decisions.
Build an internal team;
Apart from the person appointed to lead this project, you must get a committee to assist the company you hire to redesign your project yo assist them throughout the whole process.
This team will provide the required feedback as developments unfold instead of having the whole company involved or having to conduct an internal survey.
Your team does not have to be big, could be a group of five. It should be distinct and result-oriented; it is best to pick from different units of the company.
The team must be willing to commit to the process by engaging in the initial kickoff call and deciding significant milestones, at the very least.
They should have diverse experiences and evaluations to give the most helpful feedback, but not volatile or incompatible personalities that constitute a dysfunctional team.
Who should be on your team?
Your sales and customer care employees are a must include on your team because they directly interact with your clients and therefore know their needs and frustrations compared to anyone else.
This is the same team that answers your company’s questions, and if you are to redesign your site to address your audience’s needs directly, then this is your choice for inclusion.
The team might not be overly involved in participating in the process. Still, they can be inserted strategically at various points to make sure the new website is in line with your company’s mission and vision.
This is mainly relevant if your redesign is intended to help turn over a new leaf for your company, or is essential to achieving your goals and generate income.
Longest-serving workers at your company make a right choice, since they know your business story and can best attest of your journey can testify about your company’s story and have a better idea of where you are headed.
While it’s essential to plan, assembling a team to work within the redesigning process can wait until you agree with the company you are hiring on the requirements.
Additionally, if your website redesigning indicates a step to a new episode for your business, it is better to include a C-level managerial administrative essential in your conversations to have informed guidance on what the road ahead looks like for your company.
Keep in mind that content creation can be the most challenging [art of this process more reason as to why you need to have a team internally arranged to deal with the edits and brainstorm and what ideas would best represent your company to the target audience.
Recognize Technology Resource Internally
Are you a sophisticated IT environment with many employers or is your business at a startup level with a few employers. Irrespective of your organisation’s capacity.
No matter your internal organisation, your technology contact person should be in a position to answer all technical questions from the company redesigning your website.
Any IT emergency could arise during the process, and in this event, you are better off having a sturdy authority to curb any unforeseen glitches when you launch.
It is also crucial that you lay a proper strategy and not ignore some vital things essential to the planning process.
How should your new website look like?
Critically identify what was wrong with your old website and find out what features are not meeting your clients’ needs. This is the solution your new website is solving.
It is essential to understanding your consumer intent when they visit your site. What do they come to do? Different customers will visit your site with different intentions; your new website should address these intentions or objectives.
All the stakeholders in your company should agree on particular website objectives. These objectives will be a measuring stick for the success of your new website and also inform the new design.
We have mentioned that you should not base on what your competitor is doing to inform your decision for a website redesign. Still, it is vital to evaluate your competition; this is a crucial step in your redesign procedure.
Lastly, ensure to frequently follow up your performance by running a check on your conversion rates. Measure and track your progress lest all your hard work goes to waste by failing to measure and test the outcomes.