Individuals who are in charge of marketing for their business or nonprofit frequently approach me for advice when redesigning their website. They have had a site for years, but decided for various reasons the time is right to start over again.
The question I get time and time again is, “What should I consider when redesigning my website?”
Naturally, you want to put some thought into the look and feel of your website. That should revolve around the impression, or feeling, that you want others to have when visiting your website. What is your company culture, and how can you convey that in layout, design, and color?
Also consider what features you want on your site. Do you need a form for people to request more information, so your sales team can follow up? Do you need an instant quote calculator? Or maybe you actually want to sell products or services right on your website.
Rather than pulling ideas out of thin air, it helps to take a look at other websites, primarily in three different categories.
Category 1 – Websites In Your Industry
Taking a look at other sites in your industry is a no-brainer. You’ll want to make a list of what you like about those sites, so you can make sure you’re not missing anything that others in your industry is doing.
You also want to make a list of what to avoid. What practices do you see your competitors engaging in online that you think are a terrible idea? Make sure you avoid those things on your own website.
Category 2 – Websites Outside Your Industry
Too many limit themselves only to other websites in their industry. Break the mold, and look at other websites outside your industry. If you provide professional services to other businesses, you might look at other companies that do the same, but are not actually in your industry. If you are going to sell something online, look at the e-commerce store run by someone who sells something completely different.
Of course, your list again should include both things you like and what you want to avoid.
Category 3 – Your Current Website
Finally, take a look at the website you already have. I’ve found that even when our clients are ready to scrap their entire website, there’s typically something they still like about it, that they want to carry over into the new website.
By the same token, if you made some mistakes that you regret in that old website, you need to make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes in the new website.
Whether you’re going to redesign your site yourself, or you’ve decided that was the mistake you made last time, looking at websites for guidance is a great first step. It will get you started on the right foot before starting to build your new website by yourself or with a team.