Rules to Live By When You’re Thinking About a Site Redesign

August 29, 2013

Having a site that looks as great as it functions is more valuable than ever. Now that driving traffic is harder and search engines are more sophisticated, you need to make the most of every visitor that lands on your page–and that means having a great site.

But what makes a great site?  More importantly, how do you know when it’s time to redesign your website? And how do you go about doing it?

More than ever, the goal of any great site is to provide users with an experience that’s as enjoyable as possible. First and foremost, it’s essential to fix any technical errors, canonical issues, and more to make sure your site is simple to navigate and easy to use. This will give searchers a better experience (giving you better conversion) and search engines a reason to boost your rankings. But there’s more to a great site than it’s ability to function.

We’re in an era that’s more visual than ever, making an epic site design a more and more powerful tool for businesses looking to get the most from their online presence. But while a great site design can be the key to better site experience, a lower bounce rate, higher conversion and more sales, choosing when–and how–to redesign your site is not necessarily as simple.

So here are some rules to live by when you’re thinking about redesigning your site:

Don’t Start a Site Redsign Just Because “It’s That Time Again”

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t try to finish a redesign on a schedule here, having deadlines keeps you motivated and keeps things moving in the right direction in a timely fashion. But deciding to undertake a redesign just because its been a year, or 6 months, or even 6 years since you last updated your site’s design isn’t enough of a reason. If your site is still giving you great results, it may not be the right time to redesign–no matter what the calendar says.

Prioritize Your Site Visitors

Site design isn’t about the search engines. It’s about the searchers, your site visitors, and–if all goes well–your company’s future customers or clients. When you’re doing a redesign, you need to keep your visitors in mind through every step of the process and in every element you alter.

Asking whether your site design is consistent with your branding, reflective of your business, and other inward-facing questions are important. But remember the real questions you need to be asking revolve around what you want your site visitors to see, to feel, and to do.

Does making this change benefit your visitors? Will it stimulate their interest? Facilitate action? Give them what they need? Get them to the right place, and ultimately, give you the best results?

Avoid the “We Have to Make it Sexy” Mentality

If you’re thinking of redesigning your website, it’s essential to be wary of the desire to add “flare,” “sexiness,” or “pizzazz” for their own sake.

Sliders, flashy calls to action, rotating icons, or any other fancy elements can have their merits and serve their purpose as part of an overall strategy and when executed well. But without a goal behind them, they are meaningless snippets of “sexiness” that won’t add to the overall value of your site, which can mean a redesign that fails to enhance your users’ experience and your site’s feel and performance as a whole. A good rule of thumb? Only add elements that add value.

Don’t Fixate on Your Competition

This may seem strange to some–isn’t success based (at least in large part) around beating out the competition? So wouldn’t it be helpful to figure out what they’re doing with their site, on their site, and for their site? To some extent, sure. But here is where moderation is key.

There are two ways to go wrong when you spend a little too much time looking at the competition and a little less time creating and implementing your own innovations. First, just because your competitors have updated their site, doesn’t mean you have to. Their site may be new and shiny, but does that make yours any less so? If your site really does need a redesign, great, go for it. But if you’re only itching to make a change for fear of staying stagnant in comparison with your competition, even though just the day before you were confident in the look, feel and performance of your site? Keep in mind, while your site may loose interest to you over time, you’ve probably visited it hundreds of times; your visitors haven’t. Do your redesigning on your own pace, not your competitors.

Secondly, while it may be tempting to take inspiration from competitors or even just other high-performing sites outside of your industry, but implementing another site’s successful design doesn’t mean you’ll see the same success. Get inspiration from your competitors, don’t copy them.

Focus On Providing a Whole Experience

While individual elements are crucial to the whole, site design is ultimately about how the “big picture” comes across. Certain colors may draw more attention or provoke more action. The placement of a picture, the font of the text on the page–all of this matters. Pay attention to the details, but don’t get too caught up in making everything pixel perfect. Instead, focus on creating an entire experience.

Ultimately a site redesign has a greater purpose than simply creating a new shiny site for your business. It’s essential to keep in mind that the ultimate goal is a well-performing site that gets you what you really need: a better user experience that means better conversion and more profit for your business.

That’s why redesigning your site is not just about aesthetics, it’s about actions. It’s not about each element being perfect, it’s about an experience that’s positive. It’s not about what it looks like, but how it works. When you think it’s right to redesign your site, you need to think about what you’re really trying to accomplish.

Our web design experts and our conversion rate optimization team are here to help you make create the best site possible. Learn more about our website design, or redesign, services here or give us a call at (877) 610-4760 today!


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