What to consider when considering a website redesign

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Think your site might need a facelift? Before you call your web design firm, first ask yourself what your current site is lacking, what is working and what isn’t. Some say that you must update your website every three to five years. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on your users and your company. A redesign could attract new customers and increase conversions, but it can also put off current customers that are comfortable and familiar with your site. Let’s be honest, most users hate change.

For a redesign to be effective, you must first have an understanding of what does and doesn’t work on the current website, and how the user’s needs have changed since the last redesign.

“When people visit your site, they see it as a reflection of your organization. If your site looks professional and is loaded with useful information readers will see you as an authority…if the site looks poorly designed and structured and/or out-of-date they’ll make the same assumptions about your company. The website should highlight your product and/or service and the layout should look harmonious and consistent.” – Granite5

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

Never forget Mobile:
To simply think to yourself, “No one will ever visit my website on a mobile device” is far from the truth. Mobile Internet usage is on the rise and it’s not going to stop anytime soon. Most developers plead designers to think of mobile design before designing for desktops, basically working backwards. “According to SimilarWeb’s State of Mobile Web US 2015 report, roughly 56 percent of consumer traffic to the leading US websites is now from mobile devices. Mobile traffic in Q4 was roughly 49 percent, on average, for these top sites.”

Be Responsive:
Just as mobile website design is necessary, don’t forget the tablet users. Your website should look (and work) flawless across all devices. What device will come out next that we will have to take into consideration in the next 5 years? Let’s worry about that when it happens.

Know your Audience:
Are you selling to consumers, other businesses or is your website purely informational? What is your target demographic age, gender, or location? You must take everything into consideration, as it can drastically alter the functionality and look of your entire website. If you are catering to an older demographic, you wouldn’t use small body copy or have fancy bells and whistles that could confuse them, thus losing interest in your website completely.

Online Marketing:
What is the point of having a killer site if no one ever finds it? Understanding how search engine optimization works can be frustrating. If you’re not familiar with SEM and SEO, we recommend starting here:

Google Webmaster Guidelines
How Google Search Works

SEO = Earning traffic through unpaid channels like Google.
SEM = Buying traffic using digital advertising.

It’s important to keep in mind that a complete overhaul of your website can be quite costly. Do your due diligence when searching for the right web design firm. Ask questions, ask for references and review their portfolio. Having a great relationship and communicating clearly with your interactive design agency is very important. It’s vital that they understand your needs—and the needs of your users–in order to achieve the exact redesign you are expecting. Below are the steps for a full web redesign:

1 – Research Audience
2 – Copywriting
3 – UX / Wireframes
4 – UI / Design
5 – Mobile Design
6 – SEO
7 – Programming
8 – Q/A testing
9 – Launch

The website redesign process won’t happen overnight. A completed website can take months, depending on the size of the site, but don’t get discouraged! A website redesign that begins with a thorough examination of changes and a clear understanding of how your site should represent your company can lead to strong improvements in how the website contributes to your bottom line. An informed, professional approach to a website redesign is one that’s likely to end successfully.

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