So you’ve decided it’s time to give your site a makeover. It’s an exciting process, but it can also be overwhelming. How do you know which features you need? How do you know which design choices will serve you best? The Grow D&D team has done a few redesigns in our time, so we came up with a list to help you make sure your new site has all the bells and whistles it needs.
13 Things To Include In Your Website Redesign
Including these 13 things in your redesign will help your website more attractive and user-friendly for visitors, and can help you reach your business goals.
#1: A Responsive Layout
If you’ve read our blog before, you know we really get into detail on the importance of a responsive layout. That’s because having a mobile-friendly, responsive layout is vital to your success.
If you’re not mobile-friendly, you’re losing money, plain and simple.
If you don’t have a responsive layout already, that should be the first thing you include in your website redesign.
#2: SEO Optimization
Is your website ranking well in search results?
If it’s not, now’s the time to step up your game.
While you’re redesigning, revisit your SEO strategy. Pay close attention to:
- Title tags
- Alt tags
- Your content
- Your keyword strategy
- Your URL structure
- Your internal and inbound links
#3: 301 Redirects
While you’re stepping up your SEO game, make sure you don’t lose all the progress you’ve made with search engines thus far.
One easy way to do this is by using redirects. A well-placed 301 redirect will ensure you don’t lose valuable inbound links. Be careful not to overdo it though, or you run the risk of slowing your site down.
Tip: Only use a redirect if you’re changing the URL structure of a page with an inbound link you want to keep.
#4: A Content Management System
You’ll want to make sure you have a way to keep your website content updated after your redesign is finished.
A good content management system will make it easier to upload new content and edit your existing copy. For example, when we worked with Jada Windows, we used a plugin called Xmod to allow them to update and edit their content.
#5: Social Media Links
If you’re not connected to social media, now’s the time to start.
Social media marketing can be an effective way to reach out to and build relationships with your customers. Set up accounts on the platforms your customers frequent most often, and then make sure you link to those accounts from your website, and vice versa, so that people can connect with you.
You’ll also want to make sure it’s easy for people to share your content on social media. You can do this by embedding social sharing buttons next to your blog posts.
#6: Easy, Efficient Navigation
When you’re doing your redesign, pay attention to your website navigation. Take this opportunity to simplify so navigating your site is easier for customers and search engines.
When redesigning your navigation menu, keep a few pointers in mind:
- Keep it short and simple. You don’t want to overwhelm people with too many choices right off the bat, so limit yourself to seven items in your menu.
- If you have too many pages, use dropdown menus for subpages. This helps you keep things simple.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Websites use one of a few formats for their navigation menu because people are familiar with them and know how to use them already. For example, you might try a horizontal menu, a vertical menu down the side of your page, or a hamburger menu.
#7: Vivid Images
When you redesign your website, make sure it isn’t too text heavy. Today’s show stopping modern website designs use large, bold images to create a better visual experience. The right image lets you tell a story about your brand.
So, when you’re choosing your hero images and product images for your new site design, make sure they’re large, attention-getting, and high quality.
Don’t forget to make sure images will work with your responsive layout, too!
#8: Alternative Forms of Content
So, you’ve been around the block a few times… or should we say, around the blog. You know how important content marketing is. You run a great blog, and provide plenty of well-written content to your customers.
But how can you step up your game and bring in even more leads?
Try getting creative with how you present your content. Go beyond the basic blog post.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Case studies
(If you don’t have a blog, start by creating one and work your way up to other content.)
#9: Well-Placed Calls To Action
A new site design means a new site layout. You’ll be moving things around, so think about where your CTAs will go. You want to place them somewhere where they’re most likely to get people’s attention.
Psychology plays a role in many aspects of web design, such as copywriting and CTAs. Your designer should be able to help you place your CTAs where they will be the most effective.
One great place to start is to use anchor text CTAs in your content and make sure they’re placed below your most compelling copy.
#10: The Right Landing Pages and Forms
When you’re doing your redesign, take the time to make sure your landing pages look polished and professional.
Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Keep the page clean, without ads on it. Make sure the design is uncluttered, and consistent with the rest of your site.
- Use the language from your new CTAs in the landing page’s title to help guide people through the conversion.
- Update your forms. Is there any information you need from your leads that you didn’t get from your old forms? Is there any information you ask for that you don’t need or use?
#11: An About Us Page
You need a killer "about us" page. This is especially true for small businesses who don’t have much name recognition. This page might just be your reader’s first introduction to what you do, which makes it a great tool for grabbing their interest and gaining their trust.
So if you didn’t pay much attention to this page when you were first building your site, revisit it when you do your redesign.
Tell your clients your story. You want your page to explain why you’re in business and how you can help people solve their problems.
This is a good place to include testimonials, if you have them.
#12: An SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer)
What is SSL?
An SSL certificate indicates to your customers that your website is a safe site. SSL ensures that information customers enter on your website remains private.
How do you know if a website is secure? There are two obvious giveaways:
- The url will start with https:// instead of http://
- There will be a green padlock on the left side of the url bar.
Why is SSL important?
SSL tells customers that it’s safe to give you personal information like their credit card info. Plus, Google has confirmed that SSL is part of their ranking algorithm.
You can purchase SSL certificates from sites like GeoTrust. The price will depend on your individual needs.
Keep in mind: not every ecommerce site will need an SSL certificate. For example, if you use a third-party payment service like Paypal, you may not need one.
#13: Your Customers’ Favorite Old Features
One thing that should definitely include in your redesign?
The features from the old site that your customers loved most!
You don’t need to change everything at once. In fact, that can be a bad thing! Changing everything suddenly can frustrate people who may miss an old feature they loved, or aren’t quite sure how to use your new site.
If a certain aspect of your old site worked really well for you, look for a way to integrate it into the new design.
This post covers some of the most important things to include in your redesign, but there are as many different best practices out there as there are websites and businesses that use them.
The most important features to include in your site are the ones that will tell your company’s story best and help you connect with your customers.