As web standards, performance metrics, and your business continue to evolve organically with the rest of the Internet, at some point your website will need to be redesigned to keep up with the trends. There are a few particulars to keep in mind to guarantee that the project goes smoothly.
Set a realistic budget
The first step is to set a realistic budget. Understand that redesigning a website can be a timely and costly project, and focus on achieving your objectives to a quality standard rather than getting everything done as quickly and as cheaply as possible. To that end, be prepared to check in on your team of experts at major stages of the project to make sure everyone is on the right track.
Evaluate your website's performance
Before you make any changes, evaluate your website's performance. Print out Google Analytics reports on statistics like bounce rates and average time spent on each page. It can be helpful to use a basic spreadsheet program to make note of which aspects of your current website's performance are lacking and how these numbers can be improved in terms of a better website design.
Of course, not all of your current issues will necessarily be due to a poor website design - there are likely external factors at play such as your SEO campaign. The purpose of this evaluation process is to gain a comprehensive overview of visitor behavior and then zone in on key factors that can be rectified by a better website design.
Create a set of specific objectives
Based on this information, create a set of objectives for your new website design. Relevant goals should be design and content-related concepts such as reducing your bounce rate and ranking better for your most relevant keywords. It's important that these objectives are measurable by your analytics program so you can test them on a regular basis and make modifications as necessary.
Remember, you don't have to do a complete overhaul. If certain pages and content are already converting well, there's no need to revise the text or layout. In fact, you can save time and gain fresh insights by using use these high-performing factors as a model on which to base your new design.
Don't actually move anything until you've hired a technician to put all of your redirects in order. Changing your URL destinations will cause a lot of broken links and the last thing you want is to lose all the traffic you've worked for years to gain.
Make sure your navigation is user-friendly
While a good website design is important in attracting and retaining visitors, functionality should always come before a beautiful design. Make sure your new navigation is logical from the perspective of both customers and search engines. Include a site map for search engines to help get your pages indexed and ranked quicker, as well as a logical internal links that helps people quickly get exactly where they want to go (or where you want them to go).
Hire a proven SEO consultant
Besides redirects and navigation, there's content to consider. Use your keyword metrics to help bring your website content focused and relevant to your customers. Working with an SEO consultant can be very helpful in determining whether you're following best practices in your content and other on page and off page SEO factors.
Select a strong content management system
If you plan to manage the website yourself and make frequent modifications, consider making the transition from a traditional website to WordPress or another content management system. Whatever option you go with, stay true to your company's brand. Your tone, style, and message should be consistent throughout the website.
Make sure your website is responsive
Don't forget to utilize a responsive web design company that provides responsive web design services for your project since mobile usage continues to grow. Ignoring your customers on mobile devices will only be detrimental to your business' health.
Once your website is launched and functioning well, continue to monitor performance metrics and make adjustments as needed.