A Well Designed Website Turns Users into Customers
7 Important Things to Consider When Redesigning Your Business’ Website
All business websites need the occasional makeover. Because of the fast-changing nature of internet technology, as well as constant internal changes that likely occur within your business, you should redesign your business’s website about once every two to three years.
Neglecting to give your website a fresh look may result in low search rankings and stagnant traffic. Before jumping head first into a website redesign project, though, you should consider the seven following things.
#1) Brand Imagery
When redesigning your website, consider how it will affect your business’s brand imagery. A website is the perfect medium on which to promote your brand. It exposes visitors to identifiable elements that make your business unique. And the next time a visitor wants to buy a product or service that you offer, he or she may choose your business because they remember seeing its brand imagery on your website. To take advantage of this, you must include your business’s brand imagery in your website’s new design.
Choose colors for your website’s new design that reflect your business’s brand. Apple’s official website at Apple.com, for example, features a predominantly black and white design because these colors are commonly used in its brand images, whereas Coca-Cola uses red and white in its website’s design. In addition to using brand colors in your website’s new design, include other unique brand elements of your business, such as its name, logo, tagline or even an audio clip.
#2) URL Changes
How will your website’s new design affect the URLs of its pages? It’s best to preserve page URLs when redesigning your website. If you change a page’s URL, anyone who clicks an already published link for that URL may land on a 404 error page rather than the intended page of your website. As a result, you may experience less traffic to your website as well as lower search rankings.
But if you’re going to change your pages’ URLs when redesigning your website, use the 301 redirect code to automatically redirect visitors and search engines from the old URLs to the new URLs. There are several ways to implement a 301 redirect, though the easiest is to add the following code to your website’s .htaccess file:
“Redirect Permanent /old-URL.html http://www.website.com/new-URL”
Keep in mind that you’ll need to add a 301 code for every page that has a new URL. If you updated 100 pages of your website with a new URL, you’ll need to include the aforementioned line of code in your .htaccess file 100 times, modifying each line with the respective page’s old and new URL.
#3) Device Compatibility
As of 2016, mobile devices — smartphones, tablets, smart displays and smart wearables — account for more internet traffic than desktop and laptop computers. If your website’s new design isn’t compatible for all devices, it will only reach a small segment of your target audience.
To overcome this challenge, use a responsive design that automatically adjusts based on the visitor’s device. It’s the only mobile-friendly design solution recommended by Google, and that alone should be reason enough to use it for your business’s website.
Responsive design provides the highest level of device compatibility. Whether a visitor is accessing your website on a smartphone, tablet, wearable device or a traditional computer, he or she will have a positive experience. With a responsive design, your website will automatically shuffle and adjust the layout so that all visitors can use it, regardless of device.
#4) Ease of Updating
Consider how your website’s new design will affect the ease with which you can update it. Most digital marketing firms recommend businesses update their website with new content about two or three times a week.
Depending on how your website is designed, this may or may not be easy. If the new design doesn’t use a content management system (CMS) — or if it uses the wrong CMS — you may find yourself spending countless hours trying to perform otherwise basic processes like publishing new pages or editing existing pages.
You can avoid this headache by redesigning your website with a user-friendly CMS like WordPress. Used by millions of webmasters and business owners, this popular CMS allows you to manage your website using your web browser. You log in to your website via the admin page, after which you can access and manage your content.
#5) Load Time
Redesigning your website will almost certainly affect its load time. Anytime you change a web page’s elements, it affects the way in which visitors’ web browsers read them. In some cases, redesigning a website may increase a page’s load time, and in other cases, it may decrease a page’s load time.
To maintain a fast website, use a clean design that includes optimized code and optimized images. Placing CSS code at the top of your page — between the head tags — promotes faster load times, for example. Another design tip is to reduce the size of your website’s images. Large images look great, but they consume significant bandwidth for visitors. By shrinking your images, visitors can load and access your website more quickly.
Many business owners overlook security when redesigning their website. It’s not until their website is hacked when they realize the importance of online security. Reports show that approximately 30,000 websites are breached by unauthorized users each day. If this happens to your business’s website, a hacker may steal private data, deploy malware or perform other cyber attacks. Therefore, it’s important that you redesign your website with an emphasis on security.
You can secure your website by using a strong username and password combination for any back-end login panels, such as a WordPress interface. There are also security plugins and add-ons available for most CMSs that further protect against hacking. Finally, you can implement HTTPS on your website’s server to encrypt all transmitted data.
#7) Search Rankings
It’s frustrating when you invest time, money and resources into redesigning your business’s website, only to discover that it caused your website’s search rankings to drop. This is a common scenario experienced by business owners, however. A business owner’s website may have ranked on the first page for his or her target keyword. After redesigning it, though, the business owner may no longer find their website in the search results.
To protect your website’s search rankings, ensure that all URL changes are properly redirected using the 301 code and preserve all its original content. If you delete content from your website when redesigning it, Google may view your website as being less valuable. And if you don’t redirect old URLs to the new URLs, links for the old URLs may no longer carry search engine optimization (SEO) value.
Redesigning your website with a clean, optimized new layout shows visitors that your business has an active online presence. As a result, you’ll probably attract more traffic and generate more sales. But you’ll want to follow the right approach when redesigning your website by considering the seven things listed here.