Companies pursue website redesigns for many reasons – maybe you’re trying to get on trend for the new year, maybe you’re changing hosting platforms, or maybe you just have this gut feeling about a new idea that you need to chase down. Whatever the reason, though, too many redesigns create more problems than they solve, driving customers away.
Smart redesigns avoid reinventing the wheel and focus on making an accessible, intelligent site that serves your customers’ needs. At the core of this process, steer clear of quirky trends and focus on industry relevance.
When redesigning your company’s website, it’s important to recognize that this process isn’t the same as building your first site. Your first website, or even just a new site, is a process of experimentation. Because you’re an existing business, your task is to improve on the best parts of your current model and resolve customer pain points so that your site is easier to use.
Another common mistake that businesses make when redesigning their website is designing based on feelings and ideas rather than facts and research. This can be hard for creative individuals to hear – they had a great idea and they don’t want to let it go. But while your website is part of your overall marketing strategy, it’s important to remember that unlike an ad campaign or social media appeal, you can’t just pull your website if it isn’t working. Your site needs to function in the long term.
Before you launch any kind of redesign, you need to conduct user research to determine what your customers are looking for in a site. From there, you can prototype a new site, test it with focus groups, and run model scenarios. This will help you ensure your site meets all major user needs.
Finally, redesigns in the pursuit of trendy site features typically come up against three problems. They load too slowly because they’re overloaded with unnecessary features and they attempt to be interactive when they don’t need to be. This includes sites that are piled with multimedia content and pop-ups, features that are all too common today.
To put it bluntly, customers hate things like distracting pop-ups that block the screen and videos and audio that function on auto-play. These features are like a stranger jumping into your path and yelling at you; you wouldn’t like it on the street and your customers don’t like it on the web. Persist with these types of site changes and you guarantee that customers will drop you for a competitor.
You also get lesser results with your content promotion and distribution efforts because of higher bounce rates caused by slow loading pages and distractions.
There are absolutely scenarios that call for a redesign, whether it’s that your current site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ve left an old page stagnate for too long and it can’t adapt to new features, or your offerings have changed – but you shouldn’t redesign your company’s site just because you want to create a buzz or seem trendy. Ultimately, you need to put function and brand relevance first, not some nebulous idea of what looks modern or interesting.
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