A Comprehensive Guide to Website Redesign
Change is the only constant, isn’t it? It stands true for space, nature, human life, technology as well as for branding and marketing. Yes, that is indeed a wide range of varieties!
With upgraded technology, people are constantly trying to upgrade their business and the way they serve their customers. And one of the many steps of this attempt includes upgrading their website – the digital face of the business that people interact with. It is, needless to say, the most important aspect when it comes to getting new leads.
Redesigning a website sounds pretty easy and simple. “Just shuffle all the elements around, throw in some trendy graphics and change the paint!” But no, it is even tougher than designing a new website.
Why? Well, here’s why.
A website that has not yet been launched will be absolutely new to the audience; there would be neither expectations nor grievances. Nobody can complain that something they liked has been removed or that the previous layout was easier to navigate. Anything and everything presented on the plate would be a surprise, and would be perceived with fresh eyes.
But a redesigned website has a lot of pressure on it. When we are redesigning a website, we are changing something that people are accustomed to, that they have come to trust for probably many years now. We started this article with the fact that change is the only constant. But only a handful of people embrace change with a genuine smile. Most are reluctant to get out of their comfort zone.
So, what do old websites in need of a revamp do?
They get revamped in a way that leaves people wide-eyed and excited!
Reasons Behind a Revamp
Q: Why should we revamp a website?
A: Because there is still some good left in it, and we must take it and make it shine before the world, not abandon it.
The intentions behind a website redesign are many. The design industry is one that keeps evolving with not only technology but also with the emotional landscape of the mass.
Pantone has released a new colour. Update your marketing posts! A new incident or event has left a mark on the face of the planet. Change your brand message!
And with changing marketing strategies and brand messages, the call for updating the website becomes unavoidable.
So, what exactly leads to the decision of redesigning a website? Like we said, there are many!
Insufficient Conversions on the Website
More often than not, we hear people complaining about low conversion rates on their website, or worse, about high bounce rates and cart abandonments.
While poor traffic can be attributed to inadequately done SEO and marketing, there can be no excuses for low conversions, bounce rates and cart abandonments. The primary culprit here is inefficiently designed user experience. A poor user experience is far greater a repellant than an overpriced product or service on your website.
An in-depth analysis of what caused people to leave the website midway will allow designers and business owners to find out the problem, and subsequently solve it.
Everything from clothes to furniture needs to be updated with time, and websites are no exceptions. How many times have you cringed at a website that looks like it is from the 90’s?
Outdated UI does not simply refer to the aesthetics; it also covers the user experience to some extent. While aesthetics contribute to a major share of the factors that attract people to a website, smart UI helps them to browse the website with ease.
As our perception of things changes over time, it is mandatory to upgrade the user interface of a website with the evolving demands.
After all, not everything can be valued as “antique”.
Changes in Business Goals
The vision of a company may remain resolute but its mission might undergo changes with the company’s growth or otherwise. With new goals in the queue, it is crucial that the company website is also updated to reflect the new intentions.
And this reflection cannot just be caught with some shuffling in the existing elements. One needs to dive deep into the personality and the motives of the brand, and put those up in the form of a memorable story through a good website design.
Changes in Marketing Campaigns
Whether brands change their business goals or not, every company needs to change their marketing strategy once in a while. The digital world keeps changing, and in turn, affects trends, thoughts and the way people interact with social media.
To keep up with the ever-changing scenery of social media, brands need new ways to interact with their target audience. And with updated marketing campaigns, one must update the very site to which people will be redirected when clicked on the campaign. If the campaign and the website are not in sync with each other, people will be immediately disappointed and will lose trust in the brand forever.
Best Practices for Redesigning a Website
The basics of redesigning a website are almost the same as designing a website for the first time. Almost. They differ in the tactics because, as already mentioned, redesigning an existing website needs a lot more precision than designing a new one.
Here’s what you can do to make sure that your revamped website is exactly what is needed by your target audience.
Analysis of Incoming Traffic
First things first. To solve a problem, we must first detect its source. And to divert traffic back to a website, we must know why it is not getting any traffic in the first place. The best place to start would be with the data from Google Analytics or any other traffic analytics tool that is being used.
A thorough investigation should show which pages are getting comparatively more traffic, how much time people are spending on the pages and what is the bounce rate. Furthermore, heatmaps will give you a clear picture of the path taken by a site visitor through the pages of your website. It is a perfect way to understand where people are spending more time, where they are stuck and what pattern they are following while browsing a page.
With the data in hand, you will have a good idea of where to place the important information, which pages to focus on and how to plan the journey through the pages.
In-depth Research on User Feedback
There is probably nothing greater than the feedback received from an actual user! While all of their words may not sound like music, they will allow you to take a look into the user’s mind, their emotions when they use your website, their expectations and problems.
It is not always possible to get hold of your site visitor or to mail them requesting feedback. So, you may try introducing a form on your website for the purpose. But then, it is important to remember that most people do not like filling up forms until and unless it is directly connected to their benefits. So, you may try using a subtle form that:
- does not pop up on the user’s face
- asks no more than 2-3 vital questions at a time
- gives the user an option to continue answering the survey questions or to quit if they want
- gives them an incentive for filling out the survey
According to a study by Survey Monkey, of the 89% who receive customer feedback forms, 2 out 3 people complete at least half of them or more. But then, 45% of people are willing to invest only 5 minutes on a survey while 33% would invest up to 10 minutes.
So, make sure to keep your forms short and precise.
Oh! And do not forget to drop an incentive because, according to the study, 34% of people complete the survey to get the incentive! But do not worry, with or without incentives, 95% of people usually give honest answers. That’s a relief, isn’t it?
Remember to promise the incentive before introducing the form!
Carrying out a survey takes a considerable amount of time and dedication. Preparing the right questions, knowing how much the size of each bite would be and knowing where to stop, and finally, evaluating the responses is a daunting set of task that would require days to complete successfully. If you are thinking of quitting because of the time involved, then you may try hiring a UX researcher to do the job. A professional UI/UX design agency can help you in more ways than one.
You know that saying “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”, right?
Gathering feedback from your target customers won’t be enough. You should step out, observe what is going on with your peers and competitors, especially those whose success rates are better than yours. The assignment may taste like vinegar but it will give you a better picture of what you are lacking. Have you never asked your neighbour or someone else how their garden is prospering while yours isn’t? Well, it is the same situation here, just professional. Here you obviously won’t be asking other companies the secret to their success but you may anonymously go through their website, try their services or products, read reviews about them and browse other aspects of their digital presence to see what they are good at as well as to figure out what their shortcomings are.
You may also try browsing through the websites of those companies that are lagging behind you. It is also important to know what it is that is keeping them from shooting forward. Having knowledge of both pros and cons will give you a big advantage in the game.
Almost Consistent Branding
The debate on whether to change the branding during a website revamp or not would probably end in a draw. While some prefer getting a fresh look on everything, some like to stick to the roots and make other necessary changes.
Whichever side you are on, just remember that drastically changing the branding might result in drastic reactions from your customers. Humans, as we know, get quickly accustomed to the way things are. They might complain about certain matters but would probably complain even more when replaced with an absolutely new but much better option. There is also the extremely important factor of trust working here. When something that we know and rely on changes its looks and personality overnight, we find it hard to bank on it, don’t we?
Likewise, when people get habituated with a website, they find it hard to change the ways they interact with it. A sudden change in appearance takes time to assure people that it is the same company that they had been working with.
So, the ideal way would be to update the website design while keeping some characteristics similar to the previous version. Try, especially, not to change the logo completely at one go.
A gradual change over a period of months would guide a user through the transformation process, and would make it easy for them to accept the changes while maintaining their trust in your brand.
Consistency in UI
We all know what the colours in a traffic light mean, right? Now suppose you visit a state, far off somewhere, where the rules are different; the traffic lights there are, say, blue and orange. Would you be comfortable driving there? I believe it would be extremely difficult the first few times you get on the road.
There are certain things that are universal. Some of these have been written down as rules while some others have just been going on through the years, and have turned into a routine. When we try to deviate anyone from these “routines” they find it difficult to adjust and more likely to quit easily.
We are accustomed to seeing or using a website with the menu on the top or compressed into a hamburger menu. Similarly, we know that the search bar would be on the top right. So, if someone tries to break the norms by altering the positions of these elements, users might have to fumble around for a while before they can find the required information.
Redesigning a website does not necessarily demand defining the norms. You can make it unique while sticking to the usual positions of the common elements.
One of the primary reasons for redesigning a website is poor user experience. It is usually the UX to blame when one cannot find the way to a particular CTA or to some page. So, when you are redesigning your website, grab that opportunity to improve the user experience so that your target audience can browse through the website with ease.
And make it memorable. People are moved by the slightest interactions on websites, only if they are unique and worth remembering – in a good way, of course! The burst of a confetti or an animated character moving across the screen upon taking an action or maybe guiding you through the features are only a few examples of the many possibilities that can make your site visitor happy.
So, go wild on your imagination, and include a conversation-starter in your website!
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These are, but some of the essential things, that one needs to remember while redesigning a website. The demands for every website would be different but if you remember the basics, then nothing can stop the new website from becoming a favourite!