Things you don't normally consider when redesigning your website, but should
There are a lot of reasons to come to a decision to redesign your website. And while there’s a common culprit of why businesses redesign their websites, there are a few more reasons and ways to approach this process.
So, what are the things that you don’t normally consider when you redesign your business website, but definitely should?
1. Setting up 301 redirects
If you are deleting pages from your old website, merging several pages together or creating new SEO-optimized links for the existing pages, you need to establish the correct redirecting process. 301 redirects (“Permanent redirects”) minimize the risk of having broken links on your website, while also permanently transferring old SEO ranking to the new pages. Hence, the move happens smoothly and incurs close to no losses.
Setting up 301 redirects is also extremely important if you’re switching to a new domain name and want to avoid a search traffic dip due to the search engines recognizing your website and domain name as brand new.
2. Create a custom 404 page to combat the bounce rate
Avoid a post-redesign spike in the bounce rate by creating a custom 404 Page not Found message that is tailored to your business. Make your customers feel appreciated by writing a sincere apology for the confusion and help them navigate a newly redesigned website with a few helpful links.
A friendly joke with or without a graphic or image comes a long way, as well as a unique coupon code or a freebie. Experiment with the design and offerings to get the best results if you notice that this page is getting a lot of hits.
3. Data migration
Any time you transfer your website from one platform to another, you need to migrate your site data. That includes text, image and video files, SEO elements such as image ALT text and page titles, and of course your product catalog if you have an online store. You’ll need to export from the old platform and import your content to the new one while making sure that all internal links lead to the right places and no files have gone missing.
Alternatively, you can first take some time to analyze your content and see which pages and products get the most attention, and which ones underperform. Center the new website structure around popular products and posts and consolidate or rewrite the others. It may take more time, but this way your data migration process will have an added bonus of bringing your best content forward. This is what redesigning your website is all about, isn’t it?
4. Changing hosting companies
Are you happy with your hosting company? Is their price competitive, is their server uptime and customer service responsiveness satisfactory? There are a lot of cost effective options out there, but don’t forget to check out the market and make sure that the company delivers on its promises before committing to your hosting company.
It’s best to discuss this with the agency that’s handling your redesign efforts as they usually know what to recommend. For instance, we offer our own hosting solution under our Web Care Plans but also recommend A2 Hosting to others.
5. Changing CMS (Content Management System)
Just as with hosting companies, CMS companies are out there competing for your business, not the other way around.
Make sure that your chosen CMS serves you well. Your website should have all the functionality that your business needs while making it easy for you to update and market your site. Migrating to a new CMS might take some getting used to, but it will pay off long-term if your current choice is insufficient.
Depending on the type of website you have, you could choose Shopify, which offers great solutions for e-commerce and Wordpress for a variety of other types of websites (and you can also install the Woocommerce plugin that provides great e-commerce functionality).
This is something that normally the web agency in charge of redesigning will recommend the pros and cons of these platforms and should be discussed with them in the beginning.
6. Redirecting domain name (DNS)
Set up redirection of the domain name the right way by doing it with the help of DNS records. This process needs to be handled carefully as it will vary depending on what email server or service you’re using and if there are any additional subdomains associated with the main domain name. Start by looking at your domain dashboard and figuring out which records need to be adjusted.
7. Rewriting copy
This step is crucial if your website conversion rate is low. You need to step up your copy game if your website doesn’t make enough sales or bring in enough leads. Check to see if your landing pages are too bland or have too much text on them that isn’t being read. Your existing copy might not be persuasive enough or doesn’t command authority because it’s missing examples of your best work or client testimonials as one example. Your copy should reflect your brand and user persona while providing the convincing language to entice the visitors to use your services or purchase your products.
8. Reshooting photography
Are images the weak link of your website? The visual aspect of your website is crucial, no matter if you’re a product or service-oriented business.
Reshoot images that are lackluster and consider using videos or animated images to set you apart from the competition and showcase your products better. Style your photography in a new, exciting way and make sure that the overall shoot vibe aligns with the spirit of your brand. You don’t have to follow the latest trends, but you’ve got to have a consistent recognizable style.
If you don’t have enough budget for a photoshoot, you can also consider using stock photography for ambient and editorial purposes. But beware of what images you choose! These stock photos are often recognized from a mile away and knowing what and where to choose them is important.
Not all of these tasks are necessary in every case of redesigning a website, but it’s always good to keep these often overlooked points in mind. It’ll help better understand the process, give you more knowledge when discussing the new design with your chosen web agency and help set expectations when preparing and reviewing costs and budgets.
Contact us and request a quote if you’re considering having your website redesigned. We’ll help you go over everything that’s involved to make this as smooth and exciting as possible.