There could be a number of reasons for a site redesign – you do not like the look and feel of it, bounce rates have gone up, traffic has gone down, engagement is minimal or an obvious one – visitor complaints. Here are some considerations that may tell you it’s time for a change with your website:
Ask your users
When it is time to do a new site, not everything necessarily needs to be thrown out. There is no magic formula to redoing everything from scratch. Realize there may be some things about your site that users love, and be careful to not stray too far from that in your redesign. A good place to start is to simply ask the users. This can be with a short survey on the site that asks them if they found what they wanted and provides information about their experience.
Too many features
Too many features added to a site over time results in an experience that is no longer a good one for the user. They become frustrated and overwhelmed with the significant number of options available on the site. If they are confused by too many features, they may click away from your site. In that case, a redesign helps a brand reset and make sure they have not strayed too far from their core business messaging.
If a competitive advantage for your company is offering a lot of information, at least make sure the navigation is clean. If there are too many choices right away, the user doesn’t know what to do. Offering sub-navigation to explore further into your site helps manage this process. The navigation menu options also need to be obvious, such as “Contact Us” or “About Us”. This is not the place to use jargon.
Use your data
Look at the data in Google and Bing Webmaster Tools as you go through this process. Both let site owners see if there are common 404 errors or title tags missing from pages. And of course there is Google Analytics. Here you are making some assumptions, but the data can at least provide some information about what works well on the current site and what does not. This data can help if you need buy-in from the rest of your team. Some people may be stuck on the existing site and not be very open to any kind of change. With supporting data, you can make a case for why a site may need a re-do.
Your fonts, color, and amount of whitespace reflect who you are as well as the usability of the site, so make sure it speaks to your audience. Use only two or three fonts to prevent the site from looking cluttered. Use bold and larger size fonts only when it highlights key points.
This alone is a huge reason to consider a site redesign. With an increase in the number of searches performed on a mobile device, site owners can no longer get away with a site that is not mobile friendly. An easy way to test this is to look at your site on your own mobile device. Also, check your traffic in analytics to determine whether behavior is different when users come from a mobile device versus a home computer. If the results aren’t good, you will want to talk with your web team about a responsive design.
Don’t forget SEO
There are technical SEO factors that go into every well-designed site so don’t forget about those as you make a change, such as title tags and meta-descriptions. Equally important is the content for the users so you want to use the right keywords, but use them naturally. Don’t try to stuff them into your pages because Google will catch up with you.
Once the site is redesigned, do not forget why you did it. If the goal was to increase engagement and three months after the new site launch metrics have not changed, it is time for another evaluation. This does not mean scrapping the whole site again. It is about staying on top of things so you can make necessary adjustments along the way.