What you need to know before designing your website

Website redesign

Hopefully the holiday season has helped recharge those batteries, given you some healthy new inspiration and got you ready, raring to go as we enter another year. Us too!

We all want to dive straight in and sink our teeth into the latest projects & ideas. But the key to any successful project is to plan and look at the bigger picture. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your new found motivation, you can use the questions below to guide you in the right direction.

If you’re redesigning your website, why are you changing it?

Is your current website not performing as well as you’d hoped? Has your business changed, or do you have something new that you want to reflect on your website? Does it work on mobile devices? Don’t worry, change is good. Websites should constantly iterate and grow with your business.

Technology is changing all the time, and your website needs to keep up. However, you need to understand what isn’t working and why, before you can fix it. Determine your current website’s weaknesses by using a combination of data analysis and user testing – see where people are dropping out of the checkout process and find the pages where people are leaving your website without converting. Find out what you can do better.

Many businesses want to start from scratch when redesigning, but there’s a good chance that you hold some strong existing content that’s driving conversions. If there are pages performing well, be sure to avoid changing them as this is usually overlooked when redesigning. Think about what search terms are currently producing traffic and be sure that they are used in the new design. If possible, use the same URL structure as these pages are currently bringing in your valuable customers but if not, be sure to redirect visitors to the appropriate page.

What is the main purpose of the website?

It’s important to have clarity on the one single main purpose for your website. You could be looking to improve brand awareness, or supply customers with useful information about your business or products/services.

Is the website for your main business or a side project? Maybe an event? Or something that would be better suited towards a microsite – an extension of your brand.

As well as understanding ‘what’ is the purpose of the website, think about the ‘why’. Why do you want to improve brand awareness, why do you want to provide more information to customers? For example, by providing more information, you can begin to build trust and a reputation for your products & services. Position yourself better against your competition.

What defines success?

We all want a project/campaign to be successful, but what makes it worth while for you? Goals need to be set at the beginning to truly understand if the project has been a success. Aim to include numbers and dates for easy measurable success.

Are you looking to grow your users? Get more enquiries a month? Increase your sales? Or jump up the rankings on Google? It would be great to achieve all these, but it’s better to focus on one goal at a time. You’ll be able to better test designs and achieve results much quicker.

Side Note: Be careful of vanity metrics (numbers or stats that look good on paper, but don’t really mean anything important), Whenever you start tracking a metric, ask yourself if it helps you take action and make decisions. If not, ditch it.

Who is your audience?

A website has to be designed with specific purpose in mind, which includes attracting your customers to engage with your products, forms, posts or other CTAs (calls to action).

Knowing who you are targeting and their needs can help support you and designers tailor the experience to their interests. By looking at your Google Analytics data for your synced marketing techniques, you can determine your customer;

  • Age, gender, interests
  • Online behavior
  • Technology used, including preferred browsers and devices

What do they want?

The more you understand then the more you can deliver better and stronger tailored content. If you’re starting a new website, or don’t have any existing data, don’t assume! Do your research.

Talk to potential buyers, create online surveys or create a focus group. The more you know, the better you can create a good user experience, improving your customer loyalty and potential conversions.

What are the focal points of the design?

While the layout is important for creating an attractive site, it also helps to determine how the content will be presented to visitors, how they navigate the site and what will be emphasized the most.

You’ll need to consider what is most important, remembering the ultimate goals of the website. Don’t overcrowd a page with information. Less is more. Take a look at some examples of bad web designs to avoid, in our previous blog Website design that can destroy conversion.

How will they find you?

For you to achieve your goals, such as more sign ups, increased enquiries or more sales, we need to get people to your new website. It’s very rare a potential customer will just stumble across your website. No matter how great your site looks, people won’t buy from you if they can’t find it or if it just looks pretty.

Time to get yourself a marketing strategy. Too many business owners make the mistake of thinking a website is finished when it launches, but it’s never finished as you need to market your brand new site to your audience, so this is where a marketing strategy comes along. Ask yourself;

  • What channels will I be using? (e.g. Email? Social? Content?)
  • What content will I be pushing out? (Educational? Inspirational? Curated content?)
  • Will I be marketing offline as well? (Radio Adverts? Television Adverts? Billboard?)

How’s your SEO?

Search Engines need to always be considered when designing a website. An area for disaster in a re-design is damaged SEO, that results in lower rankings and reduced search engine traffic. For on-page factors, if the site is currently doing well with search engines, recognise how it is structured and coded in order to avoid damaging the rankings.

If not, then changing things up and improving the on-page SEO is necessary. It’s best to keep the URL structure the same as it was before the redesign, so search visitors are going to arrive at the right place. Existing pages get the benefits of the current rankings rather than starting over.

Think of your Keywords and Phrases
Keywords and phrases should be used in all Titles, Headers, Image tags etc. If you are designing a website and not targeting any keywords or phrases, then your SEO won’t be effective, but if you are targeting keywords, make sure that these are the most powerful terms to go after.

What other websites do you admire?

Take a look at some of the leaders in the industry, or some of the most significant competitors locally, and judge the overall design of the sites. Visitors to your site are likely to visit other sites in the same niche or industry, so you can see how favourable your content and design stands against theirs.

Alongside checking out the competition, making a note of other websites you find visually appealing or have enjoyed using can give you a great idea of your expectations and aspirations with your new design.

What’s the budget?

Knowing how much a new website can cost is like asking “How long is a piece of string?”. Each website is different and depends on the requirements you choose. We can help understand these requirements in a strategy meeting and aid you to create your new website, exactly how you want it.

It’s always a good idea to to know how much you’re willing to invest – websites are an investment. Think about how much value your website will add to your business, don’t treat it as an overhead, more of an extension to connect with potential customers 24/7. With careful planning, good user experience, the right marketing strategy and a exceptional design, your website could soon give you the best return for your money.


New Year, New You

Now you’ve read all the important points of redesigning your website, why not talk to us about making it a reality? 

If you’re not ready just yet, we can discuss any of the points above in more detail and help plan your next successful website redesign. Email us at hey@bravelittletank.com or call us on 0333 121 2013 to organise a meeting with us today!