You've likely had the same site for a while, there are probably things you love and things you hate about your site. You decide or are forced by the rate of internet change, that it’s time for a redesign. You have limited time and money to make a change that will have a big impact on your business. How do you know what’s important?
There are many different sites and goals, but let’s assume your goal is to have a site that generates business and opportunities. What is important to change and what can you leave as is? This article will give you the questions you need to answer to spend your time and money efficiently. The most important factors may not be what you think...
User Experience Guides Web Design
The first priority for a business website is to have a good and intuitive user experience. This is also important as user experience affects your search engine ranking or how high you appear in Google search results. Google’s focus has been on presenting relevant and valuable sites to users and user experience will affect how easy your site is to find.
Loading times have a huge effect on whether someone has a positive experience or is frustrated by visiting your site, but did you know it can also affect your search ranking? Page speed is a factor in Google’s assessment of the quality of your site. Higher quality means better positioning, for both organic and paid search. The average consumer has about a 2-3 second wait time they’re willing to accept before bouncing off your site.
Large animations can make a site look appealing, but balance that with the load time to decide what to keep and how to implement it. With faster internet connections sites have gotten bigger, however most visits to business sites are now taking place on a mobile device which makes load time optimization more important than ever. A good quick test is to use Google’s page load speed test. If your load speed is over 50 you probably have some work to do. Weigh your website redesign against how it may affect this important functionality.
Form Follows Function
Always guide design decisions by your audience’s site purpose. It might be important for a design firm or photography studio to have a large high-resolution image above the fold. A local business may prioritize having its address, contact information, and bullet points of their main services displayed prominently.
Ease of Use
This will change based on the purpose of the site. Can a new user easily find what they are looking for? How many clicks does it take for them to do something that you need, such as submitting a request for more information, make a purchase or set an appointment?
A good tool for finding out what users are doing is to review your analytics. Use your analytics package to answer these questions before setting your website redesign priorities: What is the most popular page? What are pages that are important to generating a conversion? These should all be available above the fold (Portion of page visible without scrolling) and easy to find. Including easily identifiable calls-to-action will help users identify what to do and convert users more effectively.
Get Your Site Conversion-Ready with Website Redesign
Barriers to Conversion
Make sure that there are no barriers to the conversion, the aforementioned ease of use is important, but do you guide users to the desired action? This is another good time to dig into your analytics and ask the following questions: What pages do people visit before making a conversion? Can those pages be improved? Are there too many choices on each page to distract someone from becoming a conversion? Are there elements you have tested to determine their effect on CTA (conversion to action)? It is always good to test messages, calls to action and other elements.
Improvements Based on Data
Here are some questions you can ask right now to improve conversions: Are users more likely to click on a warm colored button on a cool colored page? Do they need more information before making the decision to convert? Will a shorter form give you all the info you need while converting at a higher rate?
Testing, analyzing and drawing analytics-backed conclusions will give you a data-driven approach to conversion optimization.
Integration with Client and Content Management Systems
How are you maintaining the back end of your site? Look at your web applications and determine if they are delivering a good user experience. Does it require more information than needed to qualify a lead? Do the decision-makers on the redesign have access to the client management system data they need to prioritize design choices? Make sure you are using the best platforms to reach your goal.
Too Many Cooks
One of the pitfalls of a website redesign is design and feature “creep”. Having conflicting goals and too many directives can sideline the redesign process. It is definitely of value to get objectives and input from departments that are impacted by the redesign, but one staff member should be an overall project manager and they, or a small team, should have final say on what goes in and what doesn’t. Especially with visual elements, there are a lot of objective opinions that can result in endless “rearranging of furniture” that add nothing to the final product.
Having clear goals, a plan, a timeline, and prioritizing the above factors will go a long way to make sure your website redesign will go smoothly and be of the upmost value to your business.