About 70% of our work at Reborn Media is related to redesigning and rebuilding websites as opposed to brand new projects. It always interests me to understand what the motivation behind a website redesign is. It is one of the first questions I ask when talking to the client and quite often I am surprised by the uncertainty of the responses.
A redesign / rebuild is a great opportunity to review and improve the content, experience and returns of your website. Getting to the bottom of what is motivating a new redesign plays a key role in our planning and design. If you are purely looking at re-skining your site you are probably missing a great opportunity. Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to help you plan your redesign to make sure you get the best out of this new opportunity.
1) How are users interacting with your current site? Where are the gaps?
Understanding how your users discover, use and interact with your site gives us vital information as to what we need to fix and change with the rebuild. An obvious place to go to for this information would be Google analytics. Obviously, analytics is a fantastic tool to help us understand user behaviour on your site however don’t rule out direct customer feedback as well. Understanding user behaviour can help us understand areas in the funnel that are failing. Maybe simplifying areas of the process or improving content might help solve these problems. Until you understand the problems its difficult to know what needs to be sorted - which leads us on nicely to our next point.
2) What problems do you want your redesign to fix?
It is useful to compile a list of key areas you want your new website to address. These should be prioritised where possible. For example, it might be that your site is not being found on search engines for certain terms, or that you want to drastically increase newsletter signups on your site. Once we have this list written down we also have something to measure the success of your new website against a few months down the line.
2) What do you want to change about how you use your website?
A website needs to work for your users and customers but it also needs to work for you. It needs to be easy to edit, control and access. Before entering a redesign we recommend you start to plan how you want to administrate it. Do you have a team that will be editing your site or is it just you? Do your editors need different access to your site? What kind of content do you need to be regularly changing? ( images, blog posts, videos etc). How often do you need to administer your site? What devices do you need to access the back end of your site with? These are all useful questions to ask? A redesign / rebuild is a great opportunity to streamline and improve your editing workflow and experience.
3) What is working well with your current site?
In most cases, it is unlikely that an existing site has been a total disaster, often when we ask the question we discover that there are elements of a users existing website that work well and are worth keeping or at least evolving. When you come to rebuild a new website it is often very temping to completely start from scratch and move away from everything that has been done before, but be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Your current site is probably doing something really well.
5) How does your site fit in with your overall marketing strategy?
A website is just a part of your overall marketing strategy. It is important to understand how it fits into the bigger picture. Do you have a social media strategy? If so, how does your site integrate it? What about offline marketing efforts? Does your site have suitable landing pages to direct traffic back? What about special offers or promotions? How is your new site going to be able to adapt to seasonal changes or opportunities? Start to think of your site as marketing tool rather than the end point or a separate entity.
Redesigning and rebuilding a website is a perfect opportunity to review every aspect of your online presence not just how your new website is going to look. Unless you have a unlimited budget, this is a chance that wont come round every week so it is important to make the most of the opportunity and get things right. Methodical thinking and logical planning are your friends here. Ask difficult questions, seek the tough answers and formulate a plan to make sure that the next iteration of your website has most positive impact that it can.