Redesigning your company’s website can seem quite simple on the surface — especially when you’re using a simplified platform such as WordPress. And this can tempt you to get started with the revamp right away.
But there are many reasons to think twice before going ahead. There’s much more to a website redesign than just engaging visuals and enhanced functionality (those are a given if you hire experienced WordPress web developers). And more importantly, this seemingly minor project can have major effects — good or bad — on your business, depending on how carefully you handle things.
Here, we’ll be looking at 5 critical things you should know before going ahead to redesign your WordPress website.
1. Know Your Goals
Why exactly do you want to redesign your website? It might sound like a silly question, but if you don’t have important reasons for this, you might end up gaining nothing in the end.
You might feel like it’s been 10 years since you designed your website and it’s now looking old and dull. And you might feel like it’s lacking some bells and whistles that you’re seeing lately on competitor sites. But the truth is, those aren’t strong reasons.
Your reasons must be tied to your business goals or other important factors. An example of a strong reason for a website redesign is, “To be able to increase email-signups by at least 20%”. Or, “To make the website more mobile-friendly, since many of our potential customers visit our website using mobile devices”.
By having your reasons tied to important business goals, you’d be able to convince yourself that you’re doing this for the growth of your business. And you’d be able to define what factors to focus on down the road when you’re analyzing how beneficial the redesign has been to your business.
2. Know The Upsides Of Your Present WordPress Design
Even if you’ve concluded that your present design just has to go, you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Chances are there are one or more good sides to the old design. It could be loading very fast despite its dull looks. It could be generating massive traffic from search engines despite low conversions. And it could be holding visitors down for hours despite not being mobile responsive.
You sure would like to transfer those upsides of your soon-to-be-chucked design over to the new one. That’s smart! But to achieve that you need to first figure out those upsides. Sometimes this might require spending hours with Google Analytics data. You might even have to outsource the task to website analytics experts. The sweet truth is that the outcome would be worth it.
So, once you’ve figured out those aspects where your present design is performing impressively in, factor in the important details when redesigning your website. And communicate them to your developer, too.
3. Know What Has Changed
If it’s been 10 years since you had your present design, what has changed about your business since then? Answering this question objectively would give you important insights that can make the redesign a productive step for your business.
While some changes like mobile-responsiveness and addition of social sharing buttons might be necessitated by common knowledge, other changes would require some deep digging. Examples include how the buying habits of your potential customers have changed, innovations that have rocked your industry, additions to your offerings, and expansion of your target market.
Now, don’t make the mistake of relying on yourself alone to figure out all these. Discuss and analyse these changes during meetings with your employees — especially those who have stayed long enough with your business. And consult helpful resources as well as industry experts for additional details that you might have missed out on during your in-house analysis.
4. Know How Competitors Are Gaining
You might have many more important reasons to redesign your website, but chances are you’re also considering that your competitor’s websites are rocking new designs. And you know what? If they weren’t gaining some benefits from the new design, they wouldn’t have stuck with it — especially since they would have done lots of testing and tweaking before arriving at the perfect formula.
So, you need to find out what results your competitors are gaining from their website redesigns and, more importantly, what specific aspects of the redesign brought each result. Guesswork won’t work here, so be prepared to hire a website audit and analysis expert or invest in tools for spying on competitor website metrics and analytics.
By knowing what result your competitors gained from each tweak to their design, you’d be able to replicate their results on your website.
5. Know how you’ll maintain your new website
Focusing on all the other aspects we’ve discussed so far can easily distract you from the on-going work that would be required after the new site is live. Yet, website maintenance is a must — especially when it’s based on WordPress.
You’d have to create new content and update the existing one from time to time (and if your website has a blog section, you’d need to publish new posts frequently). You’d have to update your WordPress software, theme, and plugins to the latest versions as soon as they’re made available. You’d need to keep abreast of SEO developments and optimise your website duly. You’d have to keep an eye on important metrics such as traffic and conversions. And you’d have to keep modifying your site to align perfectly with any digital marketing strategy you choose to implement.
All these are important tasks that could make or break your redesign. So, before you forge ahead with all the revamp and overhauling, decide who would do what, how they would maintain it, and how frequently it would need to be done.
When making any major life decision, the best approach is to pause, take some time to think about its potential consequences, and plan carefully before proceeding. Redesigning your website is no exception, since the website is an important component of your business.
By keeping these 5 important tips in this article in mind when planning a website redesign, you’d end up with not just a cool new design, but one that will bring positive results to the bottom line of your business.