Website Redesign: incremental or radical innovation?
Speaking redesign and innovation is not a fancy decision, it’s a must. In a highly competitive market, your website must be in line with current market trends and users’ behavior.
So why redesign, first of all?
Redesigning a website should be appropriate in one of these 3 cases:
- The design of the website is outdated, and is now driving away users with clunky navigation or just plain ugly design.
- The website has gone through new and distinct, or repeated changes that meant spotty improvements. These changes don’t fall, however, under a coherent general design, not approaching an elegant and modern website of 2019. A complete redesign is needed, in this case.
- The website doesn’t convert as it should. It fails to meet (or it no longer meets) the standards you set for its effectiveness, by not driving enough leads or interaction with the website elements.
Example of website redesign
To put it simple, goals and objectives of the website have changed, the website is no longer modern, or you’re not getting the desired results with your website.
How to redesign a website
To redesign a website, you have to have previously set clear goals for it. A clear structure and a plan to follow. It might be the case that you start recreating the website structure and content from scratch.
The simple way would be to migrate your website to WordPress (if you haven’t done it already), choose an appropriate theme and begin customizing it.
Watch a website redesign in progress:
Best Practices you need to know when redesigning a website
1. Make an analysis of the current situation.
You have to check current design against current goals. What elements you have in the website, what they were intended for, and what they fail at accomplishing.
Don’t rely exclusively on your feeling that the website needs a redesign. To professionally redesign a website, you have to get “armed” with facts and figures, and a thorough analysis of what performs well and what performs poorly. For this doing, you might use the tracking tool you’ve installed for monitoring the website activity over time.
Spot the pages and page sections that underperform and figure out why they underperform.
- Identify and preserve the current assets your website has.
Assets include text content, graphics, photos, videos and audio files, databases. These include top entry pages, pages that convert the best, pages that rank well in Google results pages and pages that attracted the highest number of links.
It’s recommended that you pay attention to preserve these assets (make a list of them and take care to integrate them in the new website design, as well).
- Observe general UX standards.
The new design has to comply with user experience standards: e.g. links should be marked in blue, logo has to be placed in the upper left corner of the website and a link to the homepage should be placed on this logo, main navigation has to be simple for easy orientation within website.
- Keep the brand coherence throughout the new website pages.
Images and colors of the old website have been in line with old brand guidelines. As long as new meanings have been added to a consolidated brand, the website design has to keep the pace with it.
Make sure logos and color schemes, typography styles, fonts, are all consistent with the brand and ensure it’s recognizable in every representation (be it online or offline).
- Set A/B tests or multivariate tests before actual launch of the website
It’s recommended that you have more than one version of website redesign. Placing a CTA button at different places or using different copy for one section in a page might be subject to some tests. The winner test version can go a long way in raising the effectiveness of the website.
Tips and tricks for a website redesign
Before starting the actual website redesign, you must consider some tips and tricks that’ll help you a lot.
- Make site speed the no. 1 priority
In a mobile-first world, site speed in key. It refers to the amount of time required for a website to load into users’ browser. The quicker the site loads, the better it will be for user experience. And the higher that website will ran in Google.
We put together an extensive list of performance optimization tips that are valid if your website runs on WordPress.
To check the website speed during the redesign process, you can use the Google Page Speed Insights tool.
Even more, time to interact (TTI) with the website has equal or more importance than page loading speed. According to ZDNet.com, TTI and page speed are essential for Amazon as the most successful e-commerce website in the United States.
- Limit the number of elements in a page
Complexity in web design doesn’t necessarily mean effectiveness. On the contrary, it’s been proven that the less options people have in a website, the more inclined they will be to take a decision. This is due to the Hick’s law.
Simplicity and a limited number of items can be of use in case of:
- Menu items
- Drop-down menu items
- CTA buttons
- Contact pages
- Signup forms, etc.
This is an example of page with limited, yet all the more appealing choices:
- Prioritize scrolling over clicking
Scrolling means users discover more content in a page as they scroll down that page and pass from one section to another.
Clicking means users discover more content by clicking onto next slides in a slider, on tabs, on items in an accordion menu, on items in a drop-down menu.
It’s known that scrolling is nearer people’s online behavior than clicking. It’s faster, it’s simpler, it’s become part of users’ scanning process. Hence, it’s more effective in presenting content to users on a page and within an entire website.
- Use lists for making people better remember content in the page
Bulleted or numbered lists are better than long paragraphs of text. So, when you want to present important content to users, consider putting it into a list that’s more visual appealing, easier to scan and simpler to remember.
Take the example of this post. If you’ve read through to this point, it’s proof that it functions.
Lists serve to better structuring content, and organize ideas so they are easy to read, understand and remember.
In terms of SEO and ranking, pages containing lists have higher chances to rank no.1 (or 0) in Google.
Here’s how such pages show in Google:
- Include social proof in the website
Social proof, also known as informational social influence, does a lot in terms of website optimization. Including the number of Facebook fans, Twitter/Instagram followers in the website signals its content is appreciated by a large community. Others tend to appreciate it, as well, based on social evidence of the website quality.
Going by the numbers adds credibility to the website. Social proof increases your website’s effectiveness.
Work by a plan
When deciding to revamp your website, it’s good to create a plan. It’ll help you stay organized in making changes to the current website, so you don’t miss any redesign parts and the final version is ready on time.
In drafting your plan, you can use our article that elaborates on what you should consider:
- Know your audience
- Set website objectives
- Analyse the market
- Gather inspiration and analyse the competition
- Dress a website map
- Create a new content architecture
- Understand the user journey and delimitate users’ flow
- Create a website layout and mood board (images, color schemes, etc.).
- Test website variants, tweak and refine.
The biggest mistake and the biggest achievement in website redesign
Don’t pause Google Analytics
Now, you might wonder: is there such a thing that a big mistake which can completely ruin the website redesign and undermine its effectiveness?
Yes, there is. And it refers to pausing Analytics during the redesign process. This can lead to a gap between the analysis of the old website version and the study of improvements you make to it.
E.g. Do you have a high bounce rate? Which pages are mainly causing this high bounce rate? After the improvements you bring to the website, how the bounce rate changes?
To get clear answers to such questions, it’s imperative that you don’t pause Google Analytics from collecting data about your website pages.
Use scorecards for best UX
Scorecards are good for quickly visualizing metrics related to user experience. They help measure a website performance against metrics collected in benchmark studies (good performance standards at a certain time).
Here’s how a scorecard might look like:
Above all, don’t ruin conversions, don’t ruin SEO
As we already signalled in the best practices list, identifying and keeping current assets on the website are imperative. They help maintain current well performing items. Thus, all changes involved in website redesign mean improvements, and there’s a minimal risk in breaking the current conversions flow and SEO results.
Keep on site pages that drive leads and conversions, and where CTA buttons are clicked.
Determine what content, titles and keywords led to good rankings and traffic and keep it on site. reintegrate that content into the new structure. Test the new structure, and then, launch the new website.
With these in mind, website redesign should be easier, better and more effective. Are you ready to start your website revamp?