I was waiting for my summer highlights to process when I started daydreaming about how exciting makeovers are. If you’re like me, you can sense when it’s time for a change. You start doing some research, talk to a few professionals, ask questions, take the plunge and come out looking fabulous.
Same goes for website makeovers. If you’ve had the same site for more than three years, it might be time for a redesign. Here are 10 questions you should ask before redesigning your website.
What’s the goal of my site?
Before redesigning your website, you must determine what it is you want the site to do for you. Once you have a strategy in mind, it will be easier to build your sitemap and decide what applications need to be included. You don’t necessarily need to rebrand your site, just re-engineer its goals.
What are my customers’ needs?
Start with understanding the expectations of your current audience and then your targeted audience. Are they different? You’ll want to use any metrics available to figure out how your site is used, where it’s viewed, what pages do well and what pages don’t. Find out where viewers are coming from. Let the data drive your decisions. Plus if you consider search engine optimization while building the site, you’ll be served up at the top of many searches.
Are your customers tablet and smart phone people?
Desktop and laptop computers are no longer the most frequent place websites are viewed. Make sure your website can respond to varied screen sizes and conform to the touch feature found on many mobile devices. Clear Verve (and the industry) calls these sites “responsive.” We basically design three versions of your site so that it looks good wherever it’s seen.
What do I really need?
Don’t let fancy design or technology get in the way of functionality. Keep your site’s navigation intuitive. In general, it’s still a good practice for people to be able to find what they are looking for within three clicks.
Should all this chatter about content affect my redesign?
Absolutely. You’ll want to fill your site with compelling content that in some way helps your audience. It can entertain them with stories and photos, inform them with announcements or survey them for ideas. An occasional sales pitch is even OK. Your content should benefit you as well. The right combination of content will significantly contribute to your business leads, search engine optimization and digital marketing. Also be sure you add a sharing function. You’ll want to repurpose your content to social media networks such as Instragram, Facebook and Twitter.
What type of content generates the most response?
Content is more than text. Images actually get more clicks than word-based calls to action. Use well-designed, interesting buttons and graphics to keep visitors on your website longer. Imbedded videos, for example, speak to people and trigger their curiosity to explore more.
What about the technical piece?
There are great Content Management Systems available today that allow you to change things on your site whenever you want. Be sure your new design has a CMS behind it. And for the love of Pete, make sure your server is fast and reliable.
Do I need better marketing?
Your website is just one piece of your marketing puzzle. It should be integrated with all your other efforts, both online and off, to drive customers toward your desired results.
When’s the best time to relaunch my site?
Timing matters, but it must make sense strategically. When your newly designed site goes live, it will have an impact on your traffic. Consider launching at the beginning of new campaign or when your business has a change. You’ll want to leverage the new site so it creates some buzz for yourself.
How do I ensure a smooth transition?
It takes time to get used to a redesigned website. Don’t sweat it. You can always post a tutorial as a guide for your users to help them adapt to the changes.
Jackie Costa is the director of content marketing at Clear Verve and works with clients to create and communicate smarter, better marketing materials. Listen for her on Twitter as @JackieMCosta.
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