Must Dos When Planning A Website Rebuild or Overhaul

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So, the time has come for you to do a complete redesign of your website. You know you want to make it quicker, faster, and especially, convert more traffic, but you’re not exactly sure what to start with.

Sound familiar?

If you’re like most website owners, a routine checkup on your site is not just a good idea, but essentially for growing your business. Even if you started the site with a wealth of knowledge about SEO, design, and other digital marketing techniques, chances are you’ve seen various areas where improvements can be made.

There are plenty of things to focus on, but here are some of the more common and pertinent ones to focus on when you rebuild or overhaul your website design.

1. Improve User Experience

User Experience, or UX for short, can make or break your website, oftentimes before you even have a chance to to start interacting with your visitors. A recent study from Stanford showed that 75% of users make judgments about the credibility of a company just based off the website design alone. That’s a stat you can’t afford to ignore.

A complete website redesign should be done at least every few years, but you can make minor improvements to the UX all the time. For instance, changing the names in the toolbar, or choosing a shorter video on the homepage to kill the loading time are great first steps to help the UX. Approach your site as a visitor or would (or find someone who will), and ask yourself honestly what you would change.

2. Nail the First Impression

You have approximately .05 seconds to make a good first impression on your site’s visitors, according to another study. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly four flaps of a hummingbird’s wings.

Not too fast, huh?

Visitors have to be wowed the moment they click onto your site, or else you can kiss read rates and conversions good bye. You would like to think that your amazing content and fantastic pictures will hold people’s attention even if the first impression is subpar, but unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

3. Clarify Your Site’s Purpose

Websites don’t exist in a vacuum, so if your visitors are interested enough in your content, you have another eight seconds to help them understand what they actually do with your website before they leave. Make sure your call to action is right in front of their eyeballs, or lead them to it quickly.

Solid website planning is crucial to this. What are your aims or goals? What are you hoping to accomplish with your website? Whatever it is, make sure you let the user know somehow why they are on your website to begin with.

4. Optimize Your Site for Mobile

Did you know that 51.3% of all web visits in 2016 came from mobile traffic? That’s the first time in history that mobile exceeded desktop traffic, but it signals a growing trend that the future of computing is held in the palm of your hand.

For that reason, your website rebuild should absolutely include optimizing for mobile, whether that’s finding a new platform, getting a new hosting service, or just downloading a new wordpress theme. If you’re not sure if your website is optimized for mobile, use a tool like Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to check.

5. Invite Customers/Visitors to Help

You are building this website for your customers, right? If so, invite them to help with the website redesign, and involve them as part of your core web design strategy. Their feedback will be essential in crafting a new platform that they will want to use, and will build loyalty in the process.

There are several tools available today to help with this, whether it’s through surveys, private Facebook groups, or webinars. Asking your customers to be a part of the design process will help them to feel valued and important, which is better than any marketing campaign can do.

6. Consider Your SEO

No website overhaul is complete without revisiting your SEO strategy. Which keywords are you targeting, and why, as well as whether or not to include long-tail keywords, are fundamental to growing traffic.

But before you start to throw old content out the door, consider whether you can redirect old, valuable links to your new ones that have better, keyword-rich content. One of the most valuable qualities of a URL is the age, so don’t toss it simply in an attempt to start fresh.

Crawl your existing website with a tool like Screaming Frog and audit the site using a free tool like Woorank to create a report showing you the best pages, as well as the broken ones. Then get in there and get your hands dirty.

7. Increase Conversion Optimization

If you’re like most people, conversions are simply a numbers game: bring in high amounts of traffic, and hope that at least a few of them spend some money.

That’s not only misguided, but it’s wasteful as well.

If you could find a way to increase your conversion rate by even 2%, what would that mean for your business? An extra thousand a month? An extra ten thousand?

Despite what you may think, conversion optimization is not rocket science; it’s simply tweaking one thing at a time until you find out the optimal positioning, wording, and other factors to drive higher sales. You can do that by split testing various factors until find the sweet spot.

Conversation optimization is not a one-and-done proposition either, it will be something you will continue to tweak and change throughout the life of your website.

8. Check Your Branding

Are you still selling or blogging about the same things now that you were when you started your website? If it’s been a couple years at least, then chances are you’ve changed your content a little bit, and a complete website rebuild is a perfect time to check whether or not it lines up with your branding.

Bloggers are especially prone to this. They are constantly updating, changing, and going where their audience takes them (freelancers are another group). Take some time during your website overhaul to see whether or not your branding matches up with the content on your site.

9. Add Social Sharing Buttons

In 2003, no one had ever heard of Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat. These days, it’s vital to running your business, and if you haven’t taken the time to add these buttons on your website, now is the time.

Social media should already be a part of your web design strategy, as it helps with both inbound and outbound marketing, but it also creates a connection between you and your audience that goes deeper than a simple HTML code.

10. Add an E-mail List

If you have one, fantastic. If you don’t, you need to develop one in your website planning stage. It’s as simple as that.

Today, there’s no excuse not to have a mailing list. Services like Mailchimp make the process painless, and they are easy to implement into your existing site. Adding a mailing list not only gives you a way to keep your fans updated on current developments with your site, but can bring repeat customers with the click of a button.

11. Build a Measurement Strategy

There are two stages to this. The first is getting a baseline of your current website design across metrics such as engagement, traffic by channel, Google rankings, conversions, top pages.

Once the website launches you will want to wait a few days and run the report against the baseline numbers to make sure your transition plan was successful. Assuming it was you’ll want to run the numbers monthly and make adjustments to maximize conversions, traffic and leads.

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