Key Pitfalls to Avoid When Planning a Website Redesign
When your company is in a growth stage, a website redesign can take your business to the next level. It’s the face of your business, the hub of your online operations, and the primary touchpoint with your audience. A well-executed redesign can breathe new life into your online presence and transform your website into a lead-generation powerhouse.
However, to achieve success, it’s crucial to avoid common pitfalls and ensure that your redesign aligns with your strategic objectives and target audience. In this article, we’ll explore key mistakes to avoid when planning a website redesign and provide insights on how to steer clear of these challenges.
Creating a Website Redesign Strategy: Avoid These Mistakes
A website redesign is a strategic step, often taken to align with your business goals, improve user experience, and enhance your online visibility. Nevertheless, the process can be treacherous if not approached thoughtfully. Avoiding common mistakes during this redesign process is crucial to ensure a smooth transition and the continued success of your website. Here are some prevalent website redesign mistakes and actionable insights to avoid them.
1. Neglecting your Ideal Customer or Buyer Personas
The Mistake: A website’s primary objective is to connect the needs of your target audience with a message, service or product you offer. However, many redesign projects start with design concepts rather than a real understanding of the users and research in this area. Don’t miss this crucial step or you will be spinning your wheels. When your redesign lacks research on your ideal customer profile, its like you are shooting in the dark. The result may look visually appealing but fall short of meeting your users’ requirements and needs.
- Develop comprehensive buyer personas that include demographic information, goals, pain points, and preferred online behavior.
- Create user journeys for each persona to understand how they navigate your site and make decisions.
- Tailor your website’s content, design, and navigation to address the unique needs and preferences of each persona.
2. Ignoring Brand Awareness
The Mistake: A strong brand is the bedrock of trust and recognition in the online world. During a website redesign, businesses sometimes make the mistake of reinventing their brand to such an extent that it becomes unrecognizable to existing customers. This can lead to a mismatch between your new website and your established image.
- Prioritize consistency in your brand elements such as logos, color schemes, and taglines.
- Ensure that the essence and values of your brand remain intact in your new website design.
- Highlight your unique selling points (USPs) that align with your brand’s identity.
3. Overlooking Client Engagement
The Mistake: Your website is not merely an online brochure; it’s a platform for interaction. Client engagement is about creating a two-way interaction with your audience. It involves not only providing information but also receiving feedback, answering questions, and nurturing relationships. When your website becomes a one-sided conversation, you miss out on opportunities to connect with your audience, gather insights, and build trust.
- Provide channels for feedback, such as contact forms, live chat, or discussion forums.
- Share client success stories and testimonials that highlight the positive experiences of your customers.
- Regularly update and maintain a blog or news section to keep your audience informed and engaged.
4. Inefficient Processes
The Mistake: Efficiency is the key to success in any endeavor, and website redesign is no exception. When your project lacks a clear roadmap, effective collaboration, and a streamlined workflow, it can lead to delays, cost overruns, and frustration.
- Create a detailed project plan with clear objectives, milestones, and deadlines.
- Communicate regularly with your team, designers, and developers to ensure a smooth workflow.
- Optimize your technology stack and adopt lean processes to enhance efficiency.
5. Not Leveraging Differentiators and Unique Selling Points
The Mistake: Differentiators and unique selling points (USPs) define what makes your business special. They can include your approach, expertise, technology, or customer service that sets you apart from competitors. During a website redesign, companies sometimes forget to highlight their differentiators and USPs. This can result in a missed opportunity to stand out and communicate your unique value to your audience.
- Identify and emphasize your differentiators and USPs throughout your website content and design.
- Use case studies and success stories to showcase how your unique strengths have positively impacted your customers.
- Ensure your website messaging and content clearly communicate what sets your business apart.
6. Working with a Graphic Designer Instead of a Web Developer
The Mistake: When embarking on a website redesign, the choice between hiring a graphic designer and a web developer can significantly impact the result and lead to issues like failing to address technical aspects properly. This mistake often occurs when businesses prioritize design aesthetics over the technical intricacies of a successful website revamp. An experienced web developer is essential for managing the intricacies of a successful website redesign.
- Collaborate with professional web developers who understand the nuances of website redesign.
- Ensure that they implement 301 redirects when replacing old pages with new ones to maintain SEO value.
- Follow webmaster guidelines to avoid crawl errors that could negatively affect SEO and user experience.
7. Designing for a Marketing Team Rather than Your Customers
The Mistake: Redesign projects frequently get hijacked by marketing departments that favor branding, social media, or a specific design. Your new website first and foremost needs to appeal to potential customers, convey value, inspire trust, and allow visitors to navigate easily. An experienced development and web design team can help your business put customers first while honoring the list of “must-haves” from marketing teams.
8. Ignoring Mobile
9. Leaving Out Proper Markups on Photos and Videos
The Mistake: While the visual appeal of a website is undeniable, the effectiveness of visual content for search engines depends on proper optimization. Without appropriate titles, meta-descriptions, alt text, and relevant file names, your visual content may not rank effectively.
- Invest in high-quality visual content and ensure it is search engine-friendly.
- Work with a web team that understands how to enhance the search engine relevance of images and videos.
10. Not Addressing Site Speed
The Mistake: Page speed is a critical part of an effective website. Not only will search engines penalize your site if it doesn’t load quickly, but visitors will bounce if it’s slow.
Advanced Website Redesign Pitfalls
The basics listed above will have an immediate impact on the quality of your website. As technology advances and user expectations evolve, your website must keep pace. These advanced design pitfalls will show up when a definite drop in ROI is noted. If these issues are on your developer’s radar, you can avoid losing valuable leads and revenue as a result of your redesign.
Your website has probably grown since it began, especially if you have an active blog or news section. Problems arise after a redesign launch it’s common to overlook hosting issues. Once the new site launches, bounce rates rise, and landing page visits are dropping, but no one knows why. When a website exceeds its hosting bandwidth, it is buggy, pages won’t deliver content correctly, and no one knows why. Believe it or not, most hosting companies won’t send you a notice or alert when your site is too large for your hosting package.
Experienced web developers understand website hosting bandwidth in relation to website size. If you’re concerned about hosting, ask the development team for recommendations while the redesign is in progress. If you’re going to change hosts or upgrade your hosting package, it’s best to hire top tech talent as soon as possible.
A brand refresh is not the same as a website redesign. They may coincide with one another, but your web development team shouldn’t be bogged down with brand refreshes while building the new site. If you’re launching a brand refresh, make sure it is 100% in place prior to the redesign. Lack of branding details and graphics will slow down your redesign project, setting it up for failure before you’ve started.
Failing to Include Analytics & Connecting to Google Search Console
A website redesign is supposed to bring a boost to a company’s web presence and lead generation. Improper tracking within Google Analytics will result in lackluster results. Ignoring Google Search Console will leave your team in the dark for correcting potential crawl errors early in the process.
Unrealistic Budget and Timeline
Instead of approaching the web development team with a date, give them an overview and ask them how long it will take. In a perfect world, you would give your development team a deadline and they would meet it. In a redesign project, a development team may inherit a website built by a less experienced developer, causing more work for them in the long run. Give your development team time to check under the hood of your website and identify issues before they commit to a timeline.
Forerunner Ventures: Transforming Digital Identity
For a venture capital firm known for its exceptional startup investments over the past decade, Forerunner’s challenges mirrored the common essence of many website redesign projects – the need for a fresh, forward-thinking design that harmonized with their innovative vision, an interface for non-technical users to effect updates, and the responsive support essential for every business. Their journey resonates with the typical challenges encountered during digital transformations, from design misalignment to technological constraints.
The Solution: Innovation in Constraints
By choosing a pragmatic approach of applying new designs to existing code rather than rebuilding the site from scratch and implementing real-time feedback loops, the Forerunner and Spiral Scout development team achieved their goals within tight deadlines. This highlights the importance of flexibility and collaboration in successful website redesigns.
The New Face of Forerunner: Triumph in Transformation
Forerunner’s website redesign stands as a testament to the concrete results of a successful digital transformation. With a visually stunning website, multiple design awards, and the newfound capability of the Forerunner team to autonomously manage the site without external engineering support, this project serves as a paradigm of a project executed to perfection.
Taking Simplicity Too Far When Planning a Website Redesign
Simple web design is popular right now, but it’s not a guarantee for success. If you’re launching a minimalist design, keep these bullet points in mind:
- Home Page Navigation. Make sure that visitors can find what they need from the home page.
- Functionality. Don’t hide navigation options and make sure they show up on mobile versions.
- Use the Data. The most successful minimalist websites use data to drive the design.
Visit our Simplicity in Web Design post for a full guide.
A website redesign can be a fun and exciting time for your company. If you partner with a top-rated software development company, you’ll avoid the pitfalls that are common with redesigns.