Your website is often the first impression a prospective customer has of your brand. A tired, clunky, or even worse, a site that is difficult to navigate is not the first impression you want to leave.
Whilst you might think your website looks great, it’s important to keep on top of the analytics and understand how it is performing.
Often, websites can get tired without regular updates and redesigns. The way that visitors, including new and returning, interact with the content on your website is hugely impacted by the way it looks and is presented.
Whilst first impressions for new visitors are important, for returning visitors, it’s equally as important to keep things fresh. People can get “blindness” to features and pages on your website if nothing ever changes so it’s important to make regular updates to keep things interesting and fresh.
We are just as guilty as anyone of this. Our website is in desperate need of an overhaul, both in terms of the design but also the content. Things move quickly in our industry and when we designed our site, it was something different, something a bit quirky. Over time, this has become dated, and the information is not as easy to digest so we need to make changes to the design and content.
Like most things, our clients take priority, so our own website has been put on the backburner, but we are very much aware that it needs work. We often have similar conversations with our clients and prospective clients, and it can help to use our own website as an example at this time.
Refreshing your website is not just about bringing the look and feel of it up to date. A website refresh can help to bring more traffic, more leads, and ultimately, more conversions.
Here are some of the key reasons to think about a website redesign.
1. Mobile Friendly
It’s hard to believe we are still talking about this in 2022, but it’s still amazing to find so many websites out there that are not mobile-friendly.
When we talk about being mobile-friendly, we are talking about how easy the content is to access on a mobile device. Google has specific guidelines in place to ensure sites are mobile-friendly. Here are some of the factors that make a website mobile-friendly:
- Text is easy to read
- Clear fonts
- Clear headings
- No need to pinch and zoom
- Links and navigation are easily clickable
- Content is easy to consume
- No full-screen pop-ups
With more people than ever accessing websites through mobile devices, a website that isn’t mobile-friendly is going to prevent you from reaching your potential.
When you are designing a new website, think mobile-first and worry about the desktop design after. Even though you will do most of your testing on the desktop design, it’s important to shift your mindset and think like your customers.
2. Reduce clutter
Over time, websites tend to get more cluttered. Most new designs start off clean with lots of whitespace, however, over time, things get added. An award logo here, a block of copy there and before you know it, your website looks cluttered which makes it much more difficult to navigate and find the information you are looking for.
Over time, new pages also get added and old pages continue to linger. A new website design and development project is a great opportunity to audit all the content on your website and determine which pages are adding value to your customers and which are simply adding bloat.
Bloat is bad for two reasons. One – It prevents people from getting to the really good stuff. Two – it wastes valuable crawl budget from search engines like Google when they could be crawling more important content on your website.
A redesign is a perfect time to declutter and make sure the most important content on your site is easy to find and can be presented front and centre.
3. Restructuring your content
A redesign presents you with an opportunity to restructure the content on your website to maximise your optimisation potential.
Over the past few years, there has been a shift towards websites focussing on topical relevance for groups of keywords. Traditionally, individual pages would be optimised for a specific keyword or maybe 4-5 keywords. Today, we are more focussed on optimising our websites around a specific topic.
This doesn’t mean creating huge pages that are optimised for every aspect of a topic.
Instead, it means structuring your content in a way that makes it easy for both users and Google to get to all the relevant pages relating to a specific topic.
This is often referred to as a hub and spoke structure.
The hub page is the main page you want to optimise for the primary keywords relating to a specific topic. The spokes are related pages that are linked from the hub and in turn, all link back to the hub. This creates a topical ecosystem that allows people to find out as much as they want to about a specific topic and also showcases to Google and other search engines that you are an authority on a particular topic.
4. Technical improvements
A website redesign and development project can also allow you to embrace new technologies. Over the past five years, website owners have had to make numerous changes to keep on the right side of Google including mobile-friendly changes, page speed updates, and now a focus on new metrics called Core Web Vitals.
These changes can sometimes be expensive to retrospectively develop on an existing website and oftentimes, it makes more sense to include the latest changes into a redesign and development project, ensuring that a new website is optimised for any key ranking factors.
Obviously, it is difficult to predict future changes and there is a chance that you will develop a new website that ticks all the current boxes, only for Google to make a change and require you to jump through new hoops.
Therefore, a regular redesign and development schedule is the best way to ensure your website is optimised and has the best possible chance of ranking, no matter what changes Google makes.
5. Improved path to conversion
Over time, we can use analytics to understand how visitors interact with our website. When a new site goes live, we are basing our design decisions on historic data and research. It’s not until a site goes live that we can truly measure the way people actually engage with the content on our website.
Hopefully, we got things right. The research paid off and visitors interact how we want and expect them to. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Despite all the best efforts, including user testing, analytics data and data from tools such as Hotjar, people simply don’t behave how we expect them to once the site goes live.
Maybe they had got used to the old way the site was presented. Maybe the navigation is not as intuitive as we thought. Or maybe we simply got things wrong.
Hopefully, these are things that can be easily fixed without needing a complete redesign and development, however, over time added clutter can mean the path to conversion becomes more difficult and a redesign is a great opportunity to review this.
Heat mapping tools like Hotjar can really showcase how people engage with the content on your website and this can be used to inform the new design and layout moving forward.
Make the path to conversion as simple as possible. Keep forms short. Give people the option to use Google or Apple pay at checkout and don’t bombard people with too much information.
Whilst redesigning and developing your website might seem like a big outlay, the rewards can huge when done well. There are also SEO benefits of redesigning your website, some of which have been covered above but also the fact that Google likes to see fresh content and websites that update on a regular basis.
Think about how you can pull content from your blog to key pages including the homepage to help to keep those pages fresh if they are not pages you would manually update on a regular basis.
Faster, well-structured, and optimised websites are all music to Google’s ears so if it has been a few years since you last updated your website, perhaps now is the time to think about the benefits of a new website. Chat to the Digital Hothouse team today and see how we can help to take your website to the next level.