I just recently launched the fifth website redesign of Red Kite since starting out in 2005 – actually it was overdue, but as most small-studio web developers will tell you they rarely have time to spend on their own sites. I took a week during Christmas to do most of the work and have been putting the finishing touches on it since then.
There are a lot of things that go into a successful website redesign – probably a lot more than you think. It’s a big project, but here a few things to keep in mind if you’re ready to take it on.
Here are a few things to consider when you next do a website redesign
- What three things about the old design would you change right now if you had a magic wand? This is a good place to start.
- Do a thorough content review – what stays, what goes, what needs to be added, and what needs to be revised.
- If you weren’t getting found in search results before, a redesign alone won’t help. Get help with search engine optimization early on while you’re working through your content review.
- See what your competitors are doing – do they have useful, relevant features that would also work for your audience?
- If you’re making your first mobile-friendly site, realize that it won’t look the same as your desktop site, but that’s okay. Really.
- Now is the time to carefully consider some of those features you always wanted but never had time to implement – if they work for your audience.
- If you’re moving to a CMS (content management system) for the first time, or switching from a different CMS, remember to include time for training.
- Make sure any pages that have been removed, moved or changed names receive a 301 redirect so Google can find them.
- Event with 301 redirects you may see a small drop in SEO results at launch time. This is normal and temporary.
- If your site is in WordPress, don’t forget to turn off the ‘don’t index in search engines’ feature when you launch!
How often should you be reworking the look and feel of your site?
In general, I’d suggest every 2-4 years, or more often in the following cases:
- Your site’s not mobile-friendly (this is a big reason for a makeover now).
- Your site is just not working – it’s dysfunctional or has too many problems with usability.
- The audience for your product or service changes.
- The purpose of your site changes.
- Your site looks dated.
- You’re not keeping up with competitors who are now outranking you.
If you need help exploring a website makeover and what’s involved, contact Red Kite.