Your web site is more than just the face of your business; it can also be one of your greatest assets, so it’s important to make sure that you are using it to its full potential. If you are planning a web site redesign, this is the perfect opportunity to take a deeper look into how it’s performing. There is a lot to consider when redesigning your site, and below I have listed six key items to focus on:
- Identify Your Target Audience: The most important thing to think about with your website is your target audience. It’s not enough to attract users to your site – you want to attract the right users. A good exercise to perform when redesigning your site is to identify the personas within your target audience. Who are they and what makes them tick? Below is an example of the type of information you should gather about each persona. Once you have gathered this information, go back to your site and make sure their needs are being met. Does your content answer their questions and engage them?
- Employ a User-friendly Design: Your website is a wealth of information for your users, so you want to make sure that the design and layout makes it easy for them to find what they need. Avoid using too many fonts or colors as it can be distracting. A good rule of thumb is to pick a serif and a sans serif font. Typically Serif fonts are used to distinguish headlines and sans serif are used for body text as they are easy to read. Use bright colors sparingly to draw the eye to links and call to action buttons. Also, if you have content heavy pages, it’s recommended to employ techniques that break up the content, such as using bullet points to highlight key facts or block out some text on a colored background. If the page is too content heavy, the user won’t read it all but you want to make sure they come away with the most important points.
- Review Your Home Page Messaging: The home page is most often the first page someone sees and you want to make sure you engage them so that they are enticed to explore the site further. Some key items to consider for your home page:
- Does it highlight your key differentiators and make you stand apart from your competition?
- Does it clearly communicate who your business is and what your products and/or services are?
- Does it speak to your target audience(s)?
- Are there clear calls to action?
- Check that your Navigation and Site Map are Clearly Organized: An exercise that I start with for every new website is to examine the full site map and make sure that pages are logically grouped. A redesign might also include a reorganization of the main navigation. You want to narrow it down to the top 4-6 main “buckets” of information and then group relevant pages underneath. For any additional pages that don’t quite make sense as a main nav category but are still very important, a utility navigation is perfect for keeping those links accessible at all times. At the end of the day, a good site structure is one that is intuitive.
- Don’t Forget About Mobile: These days, you can no longer expect that the only place your website is being viewed is on a laptop or desktop. It’s important to make sure that your site is still usable on a mobile phone or tablet. Responsive design takes into account the different screen resolutions and adapts your content accordingly. Always check your google analytics to see how your audience is accessing your site. Chances are, there are a good amount of them viewing your site on a mobile device and you want to make sure their experience is just as good.
- Optimize Your Content for SEO-friendliness: Lastly, you want to make sure that you are optimized for search. If page URLs are changing, you don’t want to lose any SEO juice that you may have previously had so always use 301 redirects to point those old pages to new content. Additionally, all of your content pages should have unique Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and Keywords. Header tags should also be used to differentiate heading content. You also don’t want to forget about the content that search engines can’t read on their own, like images. You should add Alt attributes to images so that they can be searched as well.
By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to creating an easy-to-use, conversion-friendly website that will attract and engage your customers.