If you take a look at the way your city developed, you’ll get an idea of what it’s like to redesign a website.
Most cities started out with people using towpaths or walking paths that gradually evolved into paths for horses and draft animals such as oxen. Later, these became paved over for carriages and finally became asphalted main roads for high-speed automobiles and public transport.
What strikes you here is that these main roads are merely old walking paths that underwent a surface makeover. They’re just old wine in a new bottle. That’s why there are so many traffic jams and congested streets in big cities today. They were not purpose-designed for the volume and nature of traffic that uses them.
And that’s one of the biggest issues that website redesign company projects face. Cosmetic changes simply won’t do – all you get is window dressing with none of the fundamental changes that your website is crying out for.
Redesign or Design Refresh?
Refresh is a great idea when you want the core functionality to be retained, but redesign happens when the coding, visual appearance, architecture, etc. are revamped.
Refresh is good for minor problems:
- If you’ve recently done a website redesign and want to tweak a few things
- When your visitors can navigate smoothly, but you want to push the conversion rates
- If you’ve recently changed your logo or reviewed your brand identity, your website needs to maintain consistency
- When your website isn’t performing at its best across different devices such as smartphone, it may need to be upgraded with responsive technology
The redesign is needed if:
- You’re frankly embarrassed by the look and feel of your website
- Your website was designed/redesigned more than three years ago
- Visitors are unable to find what they need
- Your business goals, products, services, messaging, etc. have undergone significant changes
- The CMS is difficult to manage or you don’t have one
- The website lacks responsive or mobile compatibility design
- Security, budget, and time available are issues that may impact the decision to redesign
Avoid These 9 Dumb Mistakes In a Website Redesign Project
1. Not knowing what your most valuable assets are:
Before you launch a redesign project, do a 360-degree, deep dive into the website. When you do an asset audit, think from both a business and a customer/visitor point of view. Doing a hard reset is a big No-No. If you don’t understand the load-bearing structures and real strengths of your website, you could do serious damage. If you have low-traffic low-conversion pages, these can be dumped. The most valuable assets are your high-traffic high-conversion pages. Treat them with kid-gloves and protect them as much as possible. Analyze each page and judge if they’re retained or discarded.
2. Not knowing the customer/visitor profile:
This is a very dumb error to make in a redesign project. When you’re redesigning the website, it’s smart to once again ask yourself the fundamental question – “Who’s it for?” With experience and data gained from your previous website, you would have enough information on your users, their behavior, preferences, browsing style, keywords used, etc. Retain these elements with added features for the new pool you hope to reach. Incorporate information on new visitors, why they’ve come to your site, and who they are into your new design. Your old website is a treasure trove of great insights – Keep what’s important.
3. Not getting your team involved:
It’s traditional to have a grand launch/unveiling of your newly redesigned website. However, that’s not a very smart move and it can slow your in-house operations and has an impact on almost every aspect of your business. That’s why it’s essential that the whole team is kept in the loop in terms of sales, support, development/SEO, content/copywriting, UX/design, etc. You’ll get better buy-in and more consistent response from your staff to customers.
4. Not Ensuring Responsiveness:
Since 2016, mobile browsing has zoomed past desktop/laptop access, with more and more users preferring to browse on their tablets and smartphones. This is a trend that’s going to stay on. Ensure that your new design is calibrated to be responsive to any device. This creates a better UX and improves SEO.
5. Not Evaluating Your CMS:
The content management system (CMS) that’s selected sets the boundaries for what you can do or not do with design and site build. It balances the capabilities and options for the platform to make it easier to achieve your website redesign goals. Generally, WordPress is a comprehensive CMS and website platform, and it should be your first choice. If you haven’t evaluated your CMS correctly, it will prevent you from editing, managing, and maintaining your website in one single interface without having to own specialized tech knowledge. CMS templates create that pulled-together look that’s consistent, clean, and uniform.
6. Not Using Actionable Metrics:
Many designers use “bounce rate” or other vanity metrics as a comparison factor to evaluate the effectiveness of their website redesign. This may not be the right metric to evaluate the success of the redesign. These metrics make the design look good, but fail to give you the right information on strategy and performance. Get your designer to provide actionable metrics rather than vanity metrics.
7. Not Paying Attention to Tech Changes:
When your redesign involves tech changes, certain functionalities that clients/visitors are used to could vanish. This could lead to frustration and bad reviews. If you’re incorporating new tech changes, ensure that they are properly conveyed to users via a blog, alert banners on the site, etc.
8. Not Taking It In Stages
Redesign projects should stay focused on just that. Avoid tinkering with updating lead/funnel flow, how leads are made, email, etc. all at one go. This can lead to immense frustration in your team, customers/visitors. It can also prevent you from figuring out what elements can be attributed to the new design and what aren’t.
9. Not Checking What The Competition Is Up To:
While originality and uniqueness are great attributes, it’s wise to glance over the fence once in a way to check what the other guy’s doing right. What attributes of their website help to retain customers/visitors/clients, and what makes it memorable? Often designers hesitate to provide examples of competitor websites because they feel that you may not welcome such information. But this is a dumb mistake that you can certainly correct.