Whether your website has become outdated, is no longer representing what you and your company stand for or whether you simply want to give your users a better experience; there are plenty of reasons to give your website a complete rebuild. However, before you get started, there are a few critical points to consider if you don’t want to risk losing your audience and ultimately miss out on sales and revenue.
What to look for
Checking your website on a regular basis to look for possible improvements is an essential part of any successful website strategy. No matter what your WHY is for the rebuild or redesign, your focus should always be on the following areas.
Are you providing your users with a positive experience? How long does it take to load your website and all its components? Is it easy to navigate and find what people are looking for? How relevant and unique is the information that you are providing? Is your website’s purpose clear or are you overloading visitors with mixed messages?
More important than ever, websites need to be easily accessible and optimized for usage on a range of devices. Half of all internet traffic now comes from mobile phones, so if your website is not mobile-friendly, you are going to miss out on visits and enquiries.
Upgrading or overhauling your website will automatically require looking at your SEO strategy to ensure you are still targeting the right audience, using appropriate keywords and making use of correct links to useful and functional pages. You can use an online tool to audit your website and create a report of which pages are working well for you and which ones you definitely need to be looking at.
Has your goal changed? Have you added new products and services that need to be included or are you looking at a total rebrand of your company? Identifying your goals and objectives will help you develop a clear strategy that should be reflected on your website. If the content or layout you are currently displaying is no longer in line with your company values or objectives, the overhaul should include these changes.
The technology and available plug-ins or third party tools may have changed drastically since you last upgraded your website. Things to consider adding, if not currently present, are social media buttons to make it easier for your audience to communicate with you and share your content around their networks. Social media has become an essential part of any web design strategy as it provides you with a free marketing platform. Mailing lists are another must-have item on your website, enabling you to keep your audience updated with the latest happenings and invite them to check in regularly with the click of a button.
When to upgrade
There is no set rule on how often you should give your website a rebuild. It is more a decision based on your business strategy and goals as well as financial aspects rather than based on a set time frame. Google and other search engines are constantly looking for websites that regularly provide fresh and relevant content, so in order to be indexed and ranked high in search engine results, your website needs to be up to date and up to scratch with the latest technological requirements.
In general, it is recommended to thoroughly overhaul your website every 2 to 3 years to ensure you can still keep up with the competition. In the meantime, installing updates for plugins and third party tools on a regular basis is essential to avoid becoming vulnerable to malware or security breaches. It is also the best way to continuously provide your users with an optimal user experience in terms of uninterrupted availability of your website, functionality and navigation.
Where to start
Depending on the reason and the ultimate goal of your website overhaul, you may consider starting from scratch or working with what you already have and making a few adjustments along the way.
The Revamp: Minor adjustments
If you are happy with your website’s design, main functions, its structure and functionality, but feel like the content and SEO need an upgrade, then a revamp is your best choice. Take inventory of what you have, what is working and what is not, think about your target audience and the points you want to get across and go from there. Decide which parts of your website you want to keep as they are and which ones you need to work on to improve the experience users have when they are visiting your site.
A Minor Redesign: A new look
Not quite as intense as a full rebuild, this option is best for you if you want to keep the majority of your website’s code and functions and focus more on the looks such as layout and navigation. You will also need to consider a redesign if the template you have been using so far is no longer supported, incompatible with other devices including mobile phones or more susceptible to malware due to lack of updates.
Businesses often choose a redesign when they are rebranding, updating their appearance including company logo, colour palette, images and fonts to reflect the change. Should you consider a rebrand that is resulting in a website rebuild, talk to a web designer and discuss your vision to ensure they can develop the right SEO strategy to support your goals.
Total Rebuild: Starting from scratch
There are several things that may require a total rebuild of your website, including; updating the code, databases and servers as well as the content management system, layout, structure and functionality. Most commonly, this is the case if your website has not been built on the platform you prefer to use, has functionality problems, was built without a good SEO strategy or has been “tweaked” to the point where it is no longer fixable.
Are you planning on giving your website an overhaul or do you find that your recent rebuild hasn’t quite brought the results you were aiming for? Give the friendly team at Energise Web a call today and we can take a look at what your website needs to get you back on track.