In this day and age, if you do not have a website then you simply do not exist. Yes, your local patrons may know where to find you but if you have any plans of being relevant and expanding beyond your current market space then a website is a critical investment.
If you do have a website and its older than 5 years you probably need to re-design your website, as it will not be responsive and probably out of date.
If you do not have a website for your business we can help you build your own website from scratch, no website design knowledge required.
As a result, web development has become quite a lucrative career. While some people don’t mind using the free web developing sites to create their own websites, other people spare no expenses in hiring someone to create the best possible website for their business.
However, as with all things technological, advancements may cause your previously perfect website to be, well, not-so-perfect anymore. And just like a home needs some renovation from time to time, your website will need some re-designing. So we came up with a checklist to make sure you have all your bases covered as you make your website perfect.
What Do You Have?
If you are going to improve on something, you need to know where it currently stands, right? The same applied to your website. Make sure to document your current performance metrics by noting down the bounce rate, time on site, current ranking, which pages have been ranked, domain authority, total sales generated, number of unique visitors and number of new leads. You can access this information using Google Analytics or similar tools.
You also need to know which channels get you the most visitors/customers. Examine the impact of social media, find out how much traffic comes from SEO and how much you have paid for. Also, see which channels brought more buyers and which brought more browsers. This is important in determining where to put your time and money as far as marketing channels.
You will also need to examine what you like or don’t like about your current website.
After all, we are not planning to develop a new site so it is important to know what you would like to keep and what you want to get rid of. Make sure you communicate this to your designer in order to understand what your options are.
Speaking of cleaning out the site, make sure you record and protect your assets within the website from inadvertent damage in the redesign process.
These assets include:
Most shared content, most trafficked pages, best keywords and their pages. Since web developers are not marketers, don’t leave this task to them. Check it out for yourself and give clear instructions on what they must protect.
You also need to find out if the domain your site is on fits your business and when it is set to expire. You don’t want to wake up one day and find your website offline because the domain expired, do you?
What Do You Want?
It is always important to begin with the end in mind. Website redesign takes quite some time, effort and money so you need to be clear about why you are doing this. One way to create SMART goals for your redesign is using the previous assessment list on site performance.
This can help you develop measurable goals that you can easily communicate to developers and assess at the end of the development.
Another way of determining what you want is analyzing the competition. Stalking is not advised; only make sure you are aware of how your competition is doing. Run an analysis of your website and theirs to see how your strengths and weaknesses compare
to develop areas of improvement for your site. Be careful not to copy them but learn from them and improve your site.
What Are You Offering?
Be clear about what you are selling and make sure it is consistent throughout your website. This is called your unique value proposition and it is often captured in a statement in the ‘about’ section of your website.
Now, most people make the mistake of using many, superfluous words that they think makes them sound intelligent but that most people can’t make any sense of. Don’t do that! Instead, keep it short and using simple language that clearly communicates the service that you offer.
It will affect your bounce rates and your conversion rates so be deliberate on this.
Work on your marketing as well by humanizing your business. People are more interested in forming relationship as well as doing business. So, create persona’s that identify with the various individuals that make up your target demographic.
You can get a model and use his/her photograph to communicate a real experience of an actual customer. Make sure to segment your customers by their demographic for a more targeted marketing approach and use their online behavior to reach them effectively.
Be sure to optimize your site, put in clear calls to action, and add a blog and social media buttons. Now you are good to go.
Making A Fresh Start
Now that you have your new site (more or less), you can upload it to your preferred domain. This does not mean going live. Far from it. This is the time to check out different domains as well as test the functionality of your redesigned site in order to hash out any unresolved problems.
If you are moving to a new host, you will need to set up all your email accounts. You should have audited these before the overhaul so this should be easy to do. Depending on your host, you will set up one of two redirects: using links on pages or using the traffic coming in to pages.
You will need to map each page on the old site and on the new to make sure people are landing on the right pages. However, if you haven’t changes your URL structure and all the pages still have the same names, you can skip this part.
Next, test your site but running it through a crawler. The crawler will give you a list of everything that isn’t working well as well as a link to where they are coming from so you can fix it before going live. Once you are done with the usual tech issues, you are ready to launch your redesigned website.
Redesign is not a one-off process; it is ongoing and you cannot avoid it. Sometimes it requires big changes while sometimes, simple tweaks will do. It all depends on what you want. If you need advice or help to re-design your website contact Ranking BySEO.