What to think about when upgrading your website structure, content and design.
When updating or upgrading your website there are many different factors to consider, especially when it comes to functionality and design.
Websites can have a long lifespan, but after a certain point it’s time to give them a serious overhaul. Outdated web design signals to the user that the site is out of touch, might not be active or at the very least, doesn’t have much of a budget for web activities. That’s why it’s important to keep it looking fresh and trim, and a redesign is also a good opportunity to critically examine your content and overall marketing strategy.
There are four main areas you need to think about when revitalizing your site.
Structure And Strategy
Before you leap into new colour schemes and slick logos, you need to take a step back and reassess the groundwork of your website. Use tools such as the Google Analytics Search Engine Optimisation report to fully understand which pages are popular and which are just dead weight. Find out where conversions are happening and where visitors are losing interest. Once you understand your website in terms of metrics, you can make smarter decisions about the overall structure of the site.
It might also be time to completely rethink how your website functions. Static pages and cumbersome link structures could be replaced with interactive menus and interfaces, or if you’re using an older eCommerce system there may be a newer, more efficient version available. It can be hard to implement these things in small increments, so getting them in during a major overhaul is a good idea.
Once you’ve decided how your website should work going forward, you can properly decide how it should look. At this stage it’s important to reference modern web design practices, but remember that once trends fade they fade fast. If you don’t have the means to adjust colours or design elements yourself, you could find yourself with a dated website rather quickly. Therefore it’s better to go for a classic, straightforward design that truly suits your business to ensure it stays relevant and represents you well for many years. Hiring a good web designer who understands this balance is extremely important – like anything else in life you get what you pay for, and a great website is a one-time investment that delivers continuing results.
The content of each page is as important as the structure of the website as a whole. It’s a good time to put yourself into the shoes of a user – is all the information you need easy to find on each page? How long does it take to complete the goal you came to the page in mind with? Do you have any lingering questions after reading a page? Does the layout of the text make it easy to pick out relevant parts or does it feel impenetrable?
Take some time to rake over the content. Generally leaner is better, as internet readers are fickle and will lose interest quickly. Make use of headers and bold text to ensure you get your message across.
SEO now plays a huge role in online marketing, and solid SEO principles have to start from the ground up. An integrated blog with strong keyword focused articles has been proven to be a huge boost to rankings, so if this isn’t currently a feature of your website you may want to strongly consider it for your redesign. You can also take the opportunity to rethink your keyword strategy in general, assigning different pages to keywords that are providing the best results. Furthermore, having an attractive and high quality site makes it more likely for external websites to link to you, which provides you with authority and even better search results.
There are many important facets to redesigning a website in addition to just graphics. Take the time to fully refocus and examine your goals and structure as an investment for the future. Website redesigns can last years if done correctly, so make sure you get it right.