Steps to a Successful Website Redesign
11 Minutes, 17 Seconds
Written By John Marx
Your website is the way that you sell your products and services through your brand on the Internet. Many companies have chosen a Facebook only approach which makes your brand Facebook and not your own. Having a Facebook, or other social media outlet is definitely beneficial but that is not what defines your brand. A successful website will also meet the objectives that you have set forth. This could be for increased visibility of your company, generating sales, handling customer service, generate leads, or a combination of these items.
When it comes to updating your existing website the first thought is to focus on a new and stunning graphic design. This will definitely get you noticed when people come to your site as being a truly beautiful work of art. What needs to happen more than a beautiful visual aspect is making certain it works the way your site visitors want it to work. This will cover working on desktop, tablet and mobile devices, increasing the content effectiveness and having an effective "call to action" for what you're currently promoting through your brand. When doing any website redesign we work on covering the following core elements so that your site is a true success.
Responsive web design is a set of developer techniques that make a website display optimally on desktop monitors, tablet devices and Internet enabled smartphones. With mobile Internet access skyrocketing, no business can afford to give mobile users a poor website experience. The responsive web design process can be complex and is quite different from traditional website construction that graphic designers are used to. When a graphic designer creates your template for you they will routinely only make one view, the desktop view, for you. How will your newly created website look and feel on tablet or mobile devices? Which elements are no longer needed on smaller screen sizes? What elements are essential to providing a great user experience?
Speaking of templates you should not use a template for your website. Your business is unique and different than that of everyone else. Your website should show off your company's core beliefs as well as its vision. Chain restaurants may feel they are the same as the local chain down the street but they are not. Even if they sell the exact same thing, same prices, etc. they all have different managers, employees, and a different geographic location. This sets your business apart even if you are a chain. You would think a cookie cutter company would be perfect as a template as all they do is create the same mold over and over. They are just as different as the chain restaurant. They may produce millions of the same item daily but they do so in a way that makes them equally unique from any other cookie cutter company. A template puts you into a mold of I am putting something online because I have to.
Compelling Website Content
The creation of useful, relevant, authoritative and persuasive content bottlenecks many Web design projects and undermines the effectiveness of the website. Poor content equals poor conversion rates. One area JM2 Webdesigners can assist you is getting skilled copywriters that are leading experts in your companies industry. They can take your factual inputs and transform them into compelling website copy that is engaging and effective for your product brand.
User Interface / User Experience
User Interface (UI) is what you will visually see when you come to a website. User experience (UX) is a set of techniques Web designers will employ to make a website easy for visitors to use. UX touches on design, copywriting, front-end development and end-user testing in particular -- informing, if not driving page layouts, typography, color palettes and navigational schemes. If users can find what they want quickly, and easily see value in your company's brand, products and services, then your UX execution has been a success.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Closely related to UX is conversion rate optimization (CRO) and is also crucial for a website built for lead generation and/or e-commerce. CRO is also commonly referenced as "lead generation" and is part of having a "Call to Action" for your website. CRO techniques are used tactically in the creation and presentation of offers (e.g., requests for consultation, special discounts, free quotes to qualified individuals), and strategically in the design of "conversion funnels" that create paths for users to follow on the website that lead them to convert in a way that makes the most sense for them.
Many websites fail because of CRO shortcomings, such as placing fantastic offers in low visibility areas (below the fold) of a Web page rather than "above the fold", presenting overly complex offers, or displaying offers that appeal to only one type of user rather than one for "tire kickers" and one for prospects ready to do business.
Above the Fold is the area where the user will see your Call to Action without having to scroll down to see the call of action.
Lead generation and e-commerce websites must know where visitors and conversions came from; otherwise, the company will not have the data it needs to continuously improve its Internet marketing campaigns. Your new website should have the ability to track all phone and form leads back to their source, enabling you to know that this lead came from Google search and that lead came from a Bing ad, etc.
Part of this lead tracking requires the use of analytics software to determine how a visitor flows through your website. Do they come to your home page and leave? Do they look for more than a few minutes and then purchase? What commands do they type in the search criteria? You have a site search for your site, right?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Unless a website is built correctly for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), future SEO marketing campaigns will be ineffective. And since most companies rely on SEO as the cornerstone of their Internet marketing strategy, they should make sure they really understand SEO. A properly setup SEO strategy will also garner you first page results under the keyword phrases that you want/need.
JM2 Webdesigners is here to assist you with this process using our custom developed software algorithms that determine the proper threshold for showing the keywords on your site. We do this by not only evaluating your content but the content of your competitors, locally and nationally, as well. JM2 Webdesigners will work with you on all aspects of your SEO, create documents and explains in plain language specific SEO-related tasks that we perform, including keyword research, sitemap creation, internal linking, SEO copywriting practices, Google Analytics integration and more.
301 and 302 Redirects
When you redesign your website many of the problems companies have is changing the overall structure of the website without thinking about the search engines previously saved links and information. A 301 redirect is a permanent change from location X to location Y. When these are properly setup when you submit to the search engines your updates and changes they will know to update your previous links to the new location.
A common mistake that many popular CMS (Content Management Systems) will do is a 302 redirect. These redirects work exactly the same as a 301 redirect except that they are temporary redirects. You should use these when the page is temporarily unavailable but you know it will be coming back. If you leave a 302 redirect in place too long Google and other search engines could either drop your page entirely from search results or treat it as a 301 redirect (permanent) and not return to that page again.
Social Media Integration
We all know that social media is big business now. When you have your site redesigned think on how you can integrate your social media into your website. You will be posting and updating your social media sites typically more often than your website.
When you post on social media make certain to also tie/link with your website as well.
Part of ranking well on the search engines is having a proper page speed. When your website loads slow users will not only leave your website but the search engines will as well. If the search engines are not impressed with the overall speed of your website you risk in not being as well indexed as you should be. Part of every project, and update, that JM2 Webdesigners does is to optimize all of the images to display as clearly as possible and in the proper sizes. Additionally, your code should be minified (shrunk) to decrease the amount of information downloaded, and utilize CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) to speed the overall page load.
Starting April 21, 2015 Google is marking their pages as "Mobile Friendly". This means the page being viewed is optimized for viewing on mobile devices. What makes a great mobile experience? You have to fonts that are easily seen, buttons that aren't too close to each other, loads quickly, and much more. You can give your website a test at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. When you do your test don't just test your home page. You need to test every page on your website.
Once a website is designed and written, developers code the data, transforming it into what will become the live website. This is where JM2 Webdesigners differs from much of the competition as we built our company on security and development expertise. By doing so we can take the graphic designs that designers (internal and outside graphic companies) create and bring them to life.
For instance, an e-commerce website integrating with an internal ERP system is far more complex than a stand-alone lead generation website. Verify that your in-house team is experienced and trained in best practices for the applicable client-side, server-side and database skills. If you don't have the expertise in-house, there are plenty of web development firms ready to assist.
Project Management Expertise
At this point it should be obvious that Web design projects involve a lot of moving parts. In order to keep projects on schedule and within budget, you must have a well-organized, documented process for managing workflow. A loosely managed project leads to miscommunication, errors, overlap, increased costs and gaps in execution. In short, a mismanaged project is a high-stress project that ends with a substandard newly redesigned website that will not have as much impact as a properly managed project.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Requiring a web designer or developer to perform your website updates is no longer a requirement to have a website. You don't need to know how to write code either which is a huge plus. Many business owners are busy running their business so they don't have time to update the site themselves today. This doesn't mean your site shouldn't be created without a CMS. It should be and you should receive information on how to use it. Every solution that JM2 Webdesigners creates not only comes with a customized administrative interface but we answer your support questions and cover training on how to use it no matter the size of the project.
Most companies don't worry about security until it is too late. Security should be the first thing you think about, even before designing your site. To an automated hacker bot the size of your company doesn't matter. Passwords should not be weak, data in your database should be encrypted and whenever you ask for user information or display confidential information it should be encrypted with an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate.
Redesigning a website sounds like a truly simple process. In reality redesigning a website is actually more difficult than creating a fresh and brand new one. With a new website nobody, not even Google, knows about you. When you redesign a site you not only have to take into account what your visitors know about you but also what Google and the other search engines know about you. Having a beautiful page layout will only get you so far and if not done properly can actually hurt your search engine rankings. If you are looking for a professionally designed and revamped web experience let us, JM2 Webdesigners, from Valparaiso Indiana, assist you in solving your web redesign needs. You can reach us through our Contact us page, calling 219-229-1633, or through email at sales@BusinessYETI.com.
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