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  1. 1. September 2, 2011 Kelli Shaver 7 Factors to Consider When You’re Redesigning Your Website The Web Design Usability Series is the way your site functions? Do you simply want a supported by, an easy way better-looking site? Do you need to improve search to instantly share your screen with engine rankings and sales conversions? Maybe the anyone. lets you collaborate focus of your business has shifted and it’s time for on-the-fly, put your heads together new content. super-fast and even just show off. SEE ALSO: 17 Web Resources for Improving Your Design Skills These are all important factors to consider, so before you start, make a detailed list of what it is you wish to accomplish during the redesign. This will help guide you through the rest of the process and make sure you stay focused on the end goal. 2. What Type of Redesign Do You Need? Now that you’ve decided exactly why you want to redesign your site, it’s time to decide just how T here are very few, if any, websites on the Inter- far down the rabbit hole you need to go. Perhaps net that don’t undergo at least a minor facelift a small change in visuals and content is all that’s at some point in their lifecycle. If you own a necessary. On the other hand, you may need to add business with a web presence, at some point, that new features or completely redo your underlying site will need to be redesigned, whether it’s due to code base. Depending on your needs and budget, the changing nature of your business, or purely for a large overhaul may be out of the question, or it aesthetic reasons. may be the most cost-effective long-term solution, so take a moment to think about your needs going Redesigning your company site can be a major un- forward and work with your developer to strike a dertaking, so we’ve put together a helpful list of balance that best meets them. things to keep in mind when considering a redesign. 3. What Does and Doesn’t Work 1. Why Are You Redesigning? Currently?joliprint This is perhaps the most deceptively complex, yet No matter how large or small the redesign, chances obvious question of all. Before undergoing any re- are there will be some elements of your existing site design, however, it’s important to understand what that work very well and some that don’t work at all. Printed with it is you wish to accomplish. Are you unhappy with Now is the time to go through your site and identify Page 1
  2. 2. September 2, 2011 7 Factors to Consider When You’re Redesigning Your Website these elements. Maybe your content is too verbose If you’ve undergone changes to your brand and com- or your sales page isn’t very user-friendly. On the pany image, those changes need to be reflected in other hand, that photo gallery and the blog may be your site, even if the only updates are visual. Keep big-ticket items that do really well for your image your logos updated and consider a color-overhaul if and bring in lots of traffic. Some elements will need the corporate image or philosophy has shifted. Your to remain (though possibly given a makeover), some website is often the first impression people get of will need to be cleaned up and some will have to go. your business, so it should grow and mature right Break your site down into its key components and along with the rest of your brand identity. then compare those with the goals you decided on in step one and the overall vision for your web site. 6. When and How Should You If something doesn’t fit, it’s out. Launch Your Redesign? 4. How Is Your Site Being Used? When and how you launch your redesign can have a big impact on your traffic and in generating buzz Along these same lines, don’t forget to take a look about your new site and your product. Maybe you’re at how users are currently interacting with your simply making improvements and want to slowly site. This will help you identify great content and roll out changes over time and unannounced. This problem areas. Study your traffic statistics and site unobtrusive rollout won’t give you a lot of buzz, but analytics for information on things such as entry it will still accomplish your goals of improving the and exit pages, sales conversions, and search engine site’s performance and the user’s experience. On the keywords. This will help you to understand how other hand, a big relaunch around the holidays or visitors find your site and what they do once they at the start of a big promotion, or when announcing get there. While you’re studying those statistics, a major change in the way your business operates also have a look at details like screen resolution can both draw traffic and generate more interest. and browser usage. This will help your developer determine what technical specifications your site 7. How Do I Make the Transition should meet and whether a separate mobile version Smoother? of your site is recommended, among other things. Most people are a little intimidated by change. If you 5. Has Your Brand or Company have a site that gets a lot of repeat traffic, a sudden, Image Changed? drastic change in form and function can be a bit off-putting to some users. Further, you don’t want this drastic shift to damage search engine rankings and suddenly destroy any and all backlinks you may have gathered over the years. Try and keep vital elements of your site similar to their existing counterparts, such as the main navi-joliprint gation and header. Usually, your redesign should strive to be an evolution of your existing site, not a dramatic replacement. If the change is dramatic, make sure it’s clear and give your users a blog post Printed with or news announcement discussing the changes. Page 2
  3. 3. September 2, 2011 7 Factors to Consider When You’re Redesigning Your Website Similarly, you want to make things easy for the search engine spiders, as well. Moved content should be redirected via 301 redirects, for instance, and error pages should be helpful and transmit the cor- rect header information and meta data. For human visitors, make sure those error pages contain helpful information that is, where possible, relevant to the content the user was trying to access. Series Supported by The Web Design Usability Series is supported by, an easy way to instantly share your screen with anyone. lets you collaborate on-the-fly, put your heads together super-fast and even just show off. The possibilities are endless. How will you usejoin. me? Try it today. Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Kontrecjoliprint Printed with Page 3