Restructuring a site can help keep a business competitive.

There are many reasons a company might want to redesign its website, including low conversion rates (people not making contact after visiting the site), high bounce rates (people quickly exiting the site), poor user experience, and an outdated look. The online space is more saturated than ever, so your site needs to cut through search results, run fast, look great, and offer helpful content for all users.

A well-thought-out website redesign can attract and retain larger audiences, boost conversion rates, increase search engine rankings, provide faster load times, and more. Of course, redoing your entire website also has its share of risks. Just as removing or altering structural components in a building can trigger a collapse, restructuring your website can jeopardize your online presence, hurt your Google and other search engine rankings, and frustrate users. As a website designer and marketing strategist, unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen to companies that didn’t understand all that was involved.

With that in mind, let’s explore 10 tips for executing a successful website redesign.

1. Examine Your Current Website

You won’t know what to fix or change about your website if you don’t have a deep understanding of its current condition. Start with a broad, high-level view of your site’s layout and aesthetic. Are fonts too big or too small? Does it look outdated? Is it challenging to navigate or have broken links? Make a note of everything you would like to change cosmetically.

From there, dig into your site’s analytics to see which pages are performing well and track other key performance indicators like unique visits, bounce rate, loading speeds, etc. You don’t want to get rid of anything that is working. To determine what is and isn’t working, Google Analytics and Search Console provide information for each landing page of your website.

Since we are talking about Google Analytics and Search Console, you’ll want to make sure that whomever you hire to do the redesign installs the same Google Analytics codes in your new website so that you can keep all of your historical information. All too often, I see web design companies come in and create new Google Analytics accounts. But don’t let them. If you don’t have your history, how will you know that the new website is better than the old one?

2. Get Your Priorities Straight

Next, determine what you want to get out of your redesigned website. What is the end goal? More leads? A better user experience? Better aesthetics? Consider the metrics you want to improve and how the website will need to be changed to hit those goals. Additionally, consider how this redesign will emphasize your brand and any new products or services you want to bring to the forefront. Developing this vision will also guide you in deciding which pages to keep and how to organize your site better.

3. Identify Your Target Audience

Addressing your target audience is another key priority of any website redesign. While you may have done this when your last website was created, it is good to revisit it in case things have changed. So, think about the types of people you are trying to reach—these are your “buyer personas.” You can develop these personas from current customer data, market research, and industry data.

For instance, if you are both a home builder and remodeler, you will immediately have two personas you are trying to reach: the new home buyer and the existing homeowner. You may break that down within home buyers into first-time home buyers and retirement home buyers, depending on the homes you are building. As you define the personas for the site, think of the site as providing the “yellow brick road” for each persona. How do you quickly get them to where they will find the information pertinent to them?

4. Look at Competitor Sites

I say look at competitor sites loosely. You cannot assume that your competitor’s websites are working better than yours. I cannot tell you how many times I have researched builder websites only to find that their best ranking keywords are the company name. But they will give you an idea of what you are competing against. And don’t just look at your competitors. Look around the country to get ideas as well. This process will help you convey what you like and don’t to your website designer.

5. Carefully Consider the Site’s Structure

A proper website redesign involves more than just updating some fonts and pages—it requires a thorough restructuring, which can be risky (as mentioned earlier). If you’re not careful, seemingly minor changes to content, links, and URLs can create compounding problems for your site’s navigation and SEO, setting you back significantly.

Before any programming or changes are made, get a complete sitemap listing all pages, images, and blog articles. The sitemap should include the actual URL of the page, not just the name of the article or menu name. This will be used later to ensure that page URLs stay the same or redirects from the old name to the new name are created.

6. Before You Begin, Backup

When redesigning your website, it is so important to be organized. Ensure your website is backed up and the backup is good before starting. If something goes awry in your processes, it will be vital that you can restore the backup.

7. Get Things Up to Speed

Appearance matters, but efficiency is even more critical when redesigning your website. Online users only have so much time and patience, so a slow-loading page usually won’t make the cut as an individual bounces from link to link. Approximately 40% of users won’t stick around if a site takes longer than three seconds to load, especially if they are searching on a mobile device. Because Google knows this, it penalizes websites that are slow loading by reducing their Google rank. Ensure the web designer you hire knows how to optimize images, embed videos, and clean up HTML, CSS, and JavaScript source code to reduce load time. While you might think that all website designers should know this, they do not. Website designers come with a range of skills from little league to the major leagues. This is so important; be sure you ask.

8. Keep it Simple, Yet Striking

You don’t want to overwhelm your online visitors—you want to welcome them. Make users want to stick around by providing an elegant home page with easy-to-read fonts, contrasting colors, and well-organized links (think about the yellow brick road we discussed before).

9. Make it Easy to Navigate on All Devices

People access the internet on various devices, including desktops, smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles. Make sure your site is optimized and easy to navigate across all platforms. Before you start, you should look at your Google Analytics to see what devices your customers use to view your site.

10. Leave the Technical Details to the Pros

If any website-related jargon mentioned in this article is unfamiliar, don’t fret—you don’t need to know the technical details to develop a successful website design strategy. It’s better to focus on the bigger picture things such as the desired outcome, aesthetics, branding, and audience appeal. Those without home building experience come to you to help with design and construction. Likewise, you should seek web design, coding, and content professionals for your website redesign.

A Better Website Leads to Better Business

Designing and building a property isn’t all that different from constructing a website. And even though it takes more manual labor and materials to build a home, both processes require careful planning, structural considerations, and ongoing maintenance. Just as older properties require periodic renovation to remain functional, aging websites need a redesign to keep a business competitive and visible.

If you are interested in original article by Donina Campanelli you can find it here