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Planning For Your Website's Redesign

Tue, Feb 26th 2013 09:00 am

We've written before about knowing when it's time to redesign your site. Put what about once you're ready to move forward? A successful website redesign starts long before any design work is actually done. All too often, business owners get wrapped up in the latest trends or the details of how a site looks and fail to notice how well it is working. That said, we hope you'll consider using the following planning guidelines, before starting your redesign.

 1. Benchmark your current website's metrics.

Before you start redesigning anything, it's important to have an understanding of your existing site's metrics. If you've been doing this along, great. If not, you'll need to add a tool like Google Analytics right away so that you can start to track and measure:

  • The number of unique visitors to your site
  • The bounce rate of visitors to your site
  • The average time visitors spend on your site
  • Your site's current SEO rankings for important keywords
  • The number of conversions/form submissions your site has nurtured
  • The total amount of sales generated (ROI) by your website

These metrics will provide you a baseline from which you can determine the effectiveness of your redesign.

2. Determine your goals.

What are your motives for redesigning your site? Do you want to increase traffic and conversions? Is your bounce rate through the roof? Once you determine why you want to redesign, you'll be able to tie those objectives to a specific success metric such as "increase website traffic by 50% over the next six months." Keep these goals written down and easily accessible throughout the design process to help to you (and the rest of your team) stay on course.

3. Minimize SEO damage.

If you've done your homework well, redesigning your site should generally lead to improved metrics. However, depending on how your website is built, there's a chance you could lose some valuable SEO cred when you start removing pages or changing URL's. Converting your site to a CMS, like the Fission Web System, and utilizing 301 redirects can help to minimize your loss of assets.

4. Analyze your competition.

If you haven't already, establish your top 5 competitors and take a look at their websites. Make note of what you like and don't like, and determine what you can offer that they may be missing. Something as simple as a "Request a Quote" form on your homepage could make a world of difference for the success of your site!

5. Identify your USP.

What is the value of your product or service to your visitors? Why is it different than what your competitors are offering? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine your message and ensure that it stays consistent across your entire website. Not every visitor to your site will be familiar with who you are and what you do, so you need to be sure that your site addresses those questions in an upfront and concise manner.

6. Determine your ideal customer(s).

While your site may have an "About Us" page, your website is not actually about you. It's about your clients (and potential clients) and addressing their needs. Once you've researched and outlined who your ideal customer is, you can adjust your website to be more appealing to them. Some items you may want to consider include: the tone of your website, the functionality it offers, mobility (responsive design), and ease of use.

If you're a Fission user and want to learn more about how we can help you redesign your site, contact us and one of our Account Managers will be in touch. They can often help you determine if your website just needs some tweaks or if it is truly time for a brand new site.