Your website is the first impression potential customers will have of your business. It’s important to make sure that your website is up-to-date and reflects your company’s current branding and message. If it’s been a while since you’ve given your website a refresh, it might be time to either make some updates or do a full website redesign.
One of the questions you should ask yourself is, “Should you refresh your website, or do a full redesign?”. Here are some tips to help you get started.
What’s the difference between a website refresh and a redesign?
Think of it this way, a website refresh is like repainting your car and maybe adding some new carpet. It is more focused on the visual appearance of your site. A website redesign, on the other hand, is like doing all of the above, but also replacing the engine, drivetrain and wheels, in order to make it perform better.
When should you do a website redesign?
A website redesign is a huge change that could change the way your website functions and could also improve the capability of your website. Redesigning a website will go far beyond enhancing its visual look and could involve changing the overall structure of your site. A new site design could include reorganization of the website’s content switching to a new content management system (like WordPress) to simplify adding and editing content. If this is what you are looking to do, then a redesign would be the way to go. A website redesign process is much longer and will cost you more, as well.
When should you do a website refresh?
You should do a refresh when your current site is starting to look outdated. This can be for a number of reasons. Your company might have updated its branding, or you might want to change the look and feel of your website to appeal to a new target market. If your website is more than a few years old, it might also be time for a refresh to make sure that your website is responsive and meets current web standards.
Why bother with a website refresh?
If you just refresh your website, it may give your web presence a much-needed boost. It can help you attract new customers and give your existing customers a better impression of your business. A refresh can also help you stay ahead of your competition by making sure that your website is up-to-date and responsive.
Consider your website’s goals
Whether you are planning a website redesign or just a refresh, it is important to consider what your goals are for the site. What do you want to achieve with the new design? Are you looking to increase traffic, improve conversion rates or both? Once you know what your goals are, you can start planning your new site design with those goals in mind.
Think about your target audience
When you are designing your new website, you need to think about who your target audience is. What are their needs and wants? What kind of design will appeal to them? If you’re not sure who your target audience is, now is the time to define it. Once you know who you are designing for, you can start planning your new site with them in mind.
Get feedback from your users
One of the best ways to know if your website needs a refresh is by getting feedback from your users about your existing site. If you are constantly hearing that your website is difficult to use or navigate, then it is probably time for a change. You can also look at your website’s analytics to see how people are using your site. If you see that people are leaving your site after only a few seconds, it might be time for a redesign.
Evaluate your website’s current design
You can evaluate how good your website’s design is by not only looking at how it looks, but also how easy it is to use. If you find that your site is difficult to navigate or doesn’t look as modern as other websites in your industry, it might be time for a website redesign. Another way to tell if your website’s design is outdated is by looking at the technology it is built on. If your website is still using Flash or hasn’t been updated in a while, it is probably time for a new site.
Identify what needs to be updated or redesigned
Sometimes, a website refresh project can be as simple as just adding a few things, like forms or CTAs (calls-to-action), in order to achieve the goals you’ve set. Other times, a complete redesign might be necessary. If you decide that you need to do a complete redesign, start by making a list of all the things that need to be updated. This can help you focus on what is most important and make sure that your new website includes everything it needs. It will also help tremendously when you start talking to web designers about the project.
The best way to determine what needs to be updated on your website is by looking at how people are using it. Are they having trouble finding what they need? Are there pages that are getting a lot of traffic but not converting well? By looking at how people are using your site, you can identify areas that need to be improved.
There are conversion rate optimization tools available, such as Hotjar and Plerdy, that provide amazing information on how your visitors are using your site. These tools are designed to track, analyze and convert your site visitors. For example, Plerdy can show you where people are clicking on your site, how far they scroll down, and what pages they visit most, and much more. This information can be incredibly valuable when you are planning a refresh. With this data, you can then go back and redesign the areas of your site that need improvement, in order to achieve better results.
Create a list of priorities for the refresh project
Websites are like living entities and can be adjusted or added to at any time. You don’t necessarily need to have all the bells and whistles added if you’re doing a website redesign. It’s important though, to focus on the most important things when you are planning a refresh.
Based on your website goals, target audience and how visitors are using your site, you should list out some of the priorities for the website refresh project. What are the must-have features that you’ll need to accomplish your website goals?
It’s easy to get off track and start wanting to add a lot of new features, but create this list and stay focused.
Plan your budget
Depending on the scope of your project, a website refresh can be a very costly undertaking. If you are planning a complete website redesign, you’ll need to factor in the cost of hiring a designer or digital marketing agency, as well as the cost of any new technology or hosting fees.
If you are only making a few changes, you might be able to do it yourself or hire a freelancer to help. Either way, it is important to plan your budget and make sure you have the funds available to get the project done.
Another thing to keep is mind is SEO. Web designers often are not well-versed with search engine optimization. You’ll either need to either hire a web development team that is, or make sure you work with an SEO specialist to get the most out of your revamped site. If your web designer tells you that they’ll do the SEO for your site (on-page SEO), make sure to ask them exactly what they’ll be doing. Another option is to look for an SEO agency that also does web design. Most of them to
They should make sure that your permalinks on your current website are transferred over to the new one, that your site is mobile-friendly and that it loads quickly. Your page titles and header tags should all be focused on terms that you are looking to rank for on each page or blog post.
Your pages and articles will also need to have properly written meta descriptions. A meta description is the short paragraph of text that appears beneath your page or article title in search results. This is your chance to tell potential visitors what your page is about and why they should click through to it.
All of these factors are important for ranking in Google and other search engines, as well as providing a good experience for your visitors. If you don’t pay attention to the SEO, your marketing efforts and the money spent on the new site will be wasted.
Find new designs or templates for your website
One of the best ways to get inspiration for a website redesign is to look at other successful sites. Do a search for your products or services and visit some of the websites that come up high on the search results page. These businesses have obviously done some search engine optimization work to rank high, but they are likely converting their website visitors. Take note of some of the elements they have on their site.
- Do they have CTAs (calls-to-action) placed in key areas?
- Are they using lead magnets to get people to provide contact information?
- Is their key message ‘above the fold’?
- What does the website layout look like?
If you write these down, or maybe put them in a spreadsheet, you’ll be able to see what the top sites have in common. This will give you a good idea over the overall design that is working best for other businesses.
After that, you can either look for templates online or take this information to a web designer and have them add some of those design elements into your site refresh.
Update all of your website’s content and images
When you do a website refresh, it is important to update the content and images on your website. This will make sure that everything looks fresh and up to date.
Maybe you have images of services or products that have been updated or changed. Now would be a good time to update those images.
If you have a lot of content on your site, it might be a good idea to do an audit and see what can be removed or updated. There is no need to keep old blog posts or pages that are no longer relevant, especially if they aren’t performing well. If you feel that some of the content can be updated, then go ahead and do that. You can do that yourself or hire a content writer to do it for you.
Make sure all of your website’s content is accurate and up to date. This includes your contact information, business hours, pricing, etc.
Check all of your website’s links to make sure they are working. This includes your internal links as well as any external links. If you have a lot of links, it might be a good idea to use a tool like Screaming Frog to check them for you. This will save you a lot of time and ensure that all of your links are working properly. Having broken links on your site can hurt your changes of showing up in search results, so it’s important to fix them.
Test the new design and make sure everything works properly
Whether your project was a website refresh or a full website redesign, after the project is completed, you will need to test it to make sure that everything works properly. Test your menu, your contact forms and any other features that you have on your site. Don’t forget to test those links again, as well. If you’re working with a web designer for your site rebuild, they’ll likely build it on a development server. When the final site is transferred, some of the links may not transfer properly. Just test them to make sure.
If you have an eCommerce store, make sure that the checkout process is working properly. You don’t want to lose any sales because of a technical error on your site.
Test on different browsers
It’s also a good idea to test your website on different browsers and devices to see how it looks. You can ask friends to do this or find a tool online.
Test your site speed
There are a few tools we recommend for this, and they are free. You’ll get slightly different results from each, but test your site speed with both GTmetrix and Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If your site is loading slowly, ask the designer to go back and fix that. Page loading speed is a ranking factor and should not be ignored. Often, it’s just a matter of properly sizing and compressing the images, but sometimes there can be more technical issues that need to be addressed.
Another really useful page speed tool is Experte’s Bulk Page Speed Tester. It is similar to GTmetrix and Google’s tool, but it goes a step further and analyzes all of your website’s pages. With Experte’s Bulk Page Speed Test tool, you can also just add a list of URLs to test. Check it out!
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
One of the most important things to consider when you are refreshing or redesigning your website is whether or not it is mobile-friendly. With over half of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, it is essential that your site is designed to be used on a mobile phone or tablet. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it is time for a change.
A mobile-friendly website is one that is designed to be used on a smaller screen. This means that the text and images are easy to read and navigate, and that the website loads quickly on a 3G or 4G connection. You can test how mobile-friendly your website is by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Simply enter your website’s URL and Google will tell you if your site is mobile-friendly or not.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, there are a few things you can do to fix it. The most obvious solution is to redesign your website to be responsive, which means that it will automatically adjust to any screen size. Another option is to create a separate mobile website, which is designed specifically for mobile devices.
Most web designer these days will ensure that your new site will be mobile-friendly, so if you have a new full site built, you shouldn’t have to worry. However, it’s a conversation that should happen during the design process and your new site should be checked on multiple mobile devices before going live.
Regardless of which route you decide to take, making sure your website is mobile-friendly is essential in today’s digital world.
Launch the new design and start tracking
After you launch your new website, it’s important to track its performance. This will help you determine if the changes you made were successful or not.
There are a few different ways to track your website’s performance. The most common way is to use Google Analytics. This is a free tool that tracks all of the traffic on your website. You can see how many people are visiting your site, where they are coming from, and what pages they are looking at. This data is essential in determining whether or not your website refresh was successful.
Another way to track your website’s performance is to use heat mapping tools, like the ones mentioned previously (Plerdy and Hotjar). These tools show you where people are clicking on your website and can help you determine if your new design is effective. Heat mapping tools can be used in conjunction with Google Analytics to give you a complete picture of how people are interacting with your website.
Google Search Console is another free tool that you can use to track your website’s performance. This tool shows you how your website is performing in Google search results. You can see how many people are clicking on your site from search results, and which keywords they are using to find your site. This data can help you improve your website’s ranking in Google search results.
Finally, don’t forget to ask your customers for feedback. You can do this through surveys or by simply asking them what they think of the new site. When you launch the new site, send out an email blast to your contacts and let them know. This will not only get you some feedback, but it may also trigger some buying actions.
Maintain your website
Websites are not ‘set it and forget it’ types of tools. They need to be maintained on a regular basis, especially if you are constantly adding new content or making changes.
Website maintenance includes things like regular backups of the site, security updates, database optimization, and ensuring that all of the plugins are up-to-date.
Most of this can be done through plugins and manually logging into your site to do updates, but if you don’t have the time or resources to maintain your website yourself, you can hire a company that specializes in this. Many website design or digital marketing agencies provide this type of service. We have our own company that offers this service, which is WP Maintenance. This service is only for the WordPress content management system.
Now that you know it’s time for either a refresh or redesign, it’s time to start planning your new site! If you need help getting started, contact us and we’ll be happy to help. We are a digital marketing agency that focuses on SEO and websites that convert.