As the public face of your business, available for visitors to browse 24/7, your website has to work hard for you.

And just as you wouldn’t expect your car to run for thousands of miles without regular servicing, your website also needs regular care and maintenance to keep it in peak condition.

But sometimes, despite the best efforts of you and your web design team, it becomes apparent that some changes are needed.  Perhaps your site has become too bloated with content, causing it to slow down?  Or maybe it just doesn’t seem to represent your business as well as it once did?

Whether it’s down to technical issues, or you’re looking  for a complete rebrand, it’s important to make sure your website represents your products and services to their best effect.  So with that in mind, we’ve put together some pointers for tackling your website redesign.

Preparation is key

Adopting a scattergun approach to your website redesign is not the best way forward.  A few tweaks here, and some new code there isn’t going to fix a slow or poorly-functioning website, so it’s essential that you approach the task in an appropriate manner.  And that means sitting down with your chosen web design team to discuss what works, what doesn’t, and what can be done to improve visitor numbers and ROI.

If you’re not familiar with website analytical tools, then you need to find someone who is, and who will talk you through all the possible options.  Don’t forget that technology is improving all the time, so it makes good sense to include the latest features – provided that they are appropriate for your business needs, of course – to prolong your new site’s useful life.

Some of the pages on your existing site will be generating plenty of traffic, whereas others may have high bounce rates.  Analyse the data to find out what your site visitors like about your site, and what has them heading for the hills – you want much more of the former, whilst eliminating the latter!

Analyse the competition

Have you carefully studied the websites of your main competitors?  Do you have a clear idea of what they do differently?  Are there any pointers that you can use to improve your own website?

Keeping on top of what your competitors are up to online is very important.  Spend time studying their websites in as much detail as you possibly can, exploring their products, services and content.  Are they doing something that you haven’t thought of, to generate increased sales? If you were a customer, whose website would you prefer to visit, and ultimately make a purchase from?

The aim isn’t to copy what the competition are doing.  Rather, you should be looking out for improvements that could be made across your own site, to enhance the experience for your web visitors.

Consider which features to include

If you want to give your website visitors the best possible experience, you first need to understand their online behaviour.  Do your customers tend to use the hierarchical menus within your navigation, or do they prefer to enter their search query into a dedicated search box?

What about including a Wish List option, where prospective customers can make a note of the products they’d love to buy?  Or how about partially completing online forms for returning customers, to save them time at the checkout?

If your web visitors tend to ask the same questions via email, phone or contact form, why not create a dedicated FAQ section?  Or perhaps a chatbot might be helpful, providing real-time responses throughout the days and nights, helping customers with their choices, and even upselling on your behalf?

Customer testimonials are worth including too.  We’ve talked before about Social Proof, so if you follow our blog you’ll already know that customers are easily swayed by the opinions of others.  Creating space on your site for customer testimonials and reviews is almost certain to result in increased sales figures.

How do web visitors view your site?

With the majority of online searches now conducted via smartphones, responsive web design is no longer optional.  If you’ve ever visited a website on your mobile, only to find that it’s optimised for larger screen sizes, then you’ll be all too familiar with the frustration and annoyance that it causes.

Your redesigned website must display perfectly across all devices, from the largest of PC screens to the smallest of mobiles.  And it’ll need to perform perfectly across all operating systems and browsers too.  Ideally it will also seamlessly convert from portrait mode to landscape mode.

And of course, it goes without saying that your site should load onto the viewer’s screen within two seconds.  Any longer than that, and there’s a good chance that your potential web visitors will click back to their search results and head to one of your competitors instead.  That’s something that you want to avoid at all costs!

Define your goals

If you want to know how well your new website is performing, you need to completely understand its purpose.  Far too many site owners focus exclusively on visitor numbers, but unless each visitor completes a desired interaction with you site, these numbers are relatively meaningless.

Are you hoping to increase your sales figures?  Is the purpose of your site to raise awareness of your brand?  Or are you hoping to harvest email details for future mailshots? Having a very clear idea of what you want your site visitors to do once they arrive at your site, will inform the design choices that you make.

Here at Brookstone, we know how daunting a web redesign can seem. But we have years of experience in creating beautiful and effective websites, and we know what it takes to make them outstanding. So if you’d like to find out more about who we are, what we do, and how we can help to grow your business, please get in touch with us for an informal chat.