Redesigning your website without knowing the reason why, is like buying a new house because you’re too lazy to clean the one you live in now. Oh, it'll look nice for a while, but eventually you’ll be up to your armpits in clutter again. The same goes for your website. Slapping on a fresh coat of paint might make it look shiny and sleek, but the fundamental problems will remain beneath the surface.
Spending time, money, and energy on driving traffic to a broken website is a massive waste of resources. Users might be flooding your site, but if all they find are broken links, poor navigation, a lack of direction, and accessibility issues, the frustrating experience will turn them off for good.
The good news? These are all issues that can be addressed on your existing site. So, what can you do instead?
1. Determine the goal of your website
For what purpose does it exist? From there, you can make decisions that will improve your site’s user experience and help you achieve your online goals. Let’s say your goal is to increase online conversions (sales, admission form submissions, new loan requests, etc). Your site should be structured in a way that allows customers to find information and complete the actions you want them to take in the least amount of steps possible.
By tailoring your site navigation and creating content that will benefit your users, you’ll begin to see progress towards reaching your goals.
Always remember that you are not your customer. The things that you think are important may be drastically different from what your customers think is important.
2. Dig into your analytics
If you don’t have analytics code installed on your site, do so as soon as you can. Your analytics will tell you what your users are doing once they get to your site, what content is most important to them, how they’re getting to your site, and when/where they leave it.
By understanding what your customers want, where they’re going on your site, and how they’re consuming content, you’ll be able to tailor your site accordingly.
Place the most popular/high traffic content/pages within your site’s main navigation. Don’t make your visitors traverse the maze in order to get the cheese.
Monitor and modify content
Some content will be a home-run right out of the gate. It resonates with readers, leads to conversion, and helps you accomplish your goals.
Other content needs some work in order to get there. Try revising or re-writing it in order to increase its effectiveness.
Structure the user flow
Give your visitors something else to do. Once they’ve read an article or filled out a form, what should they do next? Make it easy for them to move through the conversion process.
3. Make it accessible
Web accessibility is something that should come standard on every website. 1 in 5 online users is living with some form of physical or cognitive disability. Don’t alienate 20% of your audience.
Not only is web accessibility easier to implement than you think, but it can also improve your SEO performance.Web accessibility is also becoming a legal requirement around the world. The Canadian and Australian governments have imposed Online Accessibility laws, and a number of US businesses have ended up on the wrong side of embarrassing lawsuits.
This isn’t a scare tactic, as most organizations simply don’t know how difficult it can be to navigate the web for disabled users. However, when these users are prevented from accessing critical online tools, they’re forced to take drastic action.
All of that being said, you may still require a website redesign if the systems and framework that support your site are outdated or no longer capable of handling the needs of your business. If that’s the case, you can get started with our guide "How to Prepare for a Website Redesign".