There’s never a bad time to consider giving your website a makeover. Even the most rudimentary updates and overhauls can make a big difference to website performance and appeal.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for well-intentioned business owners to shoot themselves in the foot in the process. Web design and development is a complex and demanding field – one that shouldn’t be approached in a haphazard manner.
Detailed below, you’ll find a selection of common errors made by online businesses during the web redesign process. All of which could leave you with a site less functional and appealing than it was in the first place:
#1: Not Setting Defined Goals
As touched upon above, the worst thing you can do is set about the job without clear objectives in mind. If you’re planning on redesigning or updating your website, ask yourself – why are you doing so? What do you hope to achieve and what issues are you looking to address with your updates?
From visual appeal to performance to navigation to content and so on, it’s essential to know what you’re working towards before getting started. There’s room for adjusting your objectives along the way, but they still need to be established ahead of time.
#2: Overestimating Your Capabilities
Diving in at the deep end with limited knowledge and experience is a recipe for disaster. The skills and competencies needed to get the job done will be determined by your objectives and the extent of the work required. Nevertheless, if there’s any aspect of the project you aren’t 100% confident you can handle, you’ll need to hire help.
Try to focus on the long-term ROI of the project, rather than any initial costs incurred. Hiring help also brings the added bonus of objective input and expert consultancy, which can be worth its weight in gold.
#3: Failing to Prioritise Content
Designing, developing and launching the most technologically sophisticated site the world has ever seen is a complete waste of time, in the absence of quality content. Quite simply, there’s nothing you can do to redesign your website in a way that’s going to work, if it lacks the content needed to appeal to your audience.
Content should therefore be prioritised as the primary contributor to a web redesign project. This could include revisiting and auditing your existing content, adding new content and branching out into different types of content.
#4: Not Simplifying Your Site’s Design
There aren’t many ‘rules’ that apply to all web design and redesign projects across the board. Keeping things simple is one of the rare exceptions to the rule – simplicity being the trend of the moment right now.
Increasingly, web users are responding positively to sites that keep it simple and make it as easy as possible for them to access the information they need with no unnecessary distractions. Conversely, those that take things to extremes with ostentatious additions are cast off as all-style, no-substance.
#5: Not Conducting Enough Tests
Last up, there’s a degree of trial and error involved in all successful web design and development projects. You can’t always predict what your audience will respond positively to, which is where the value and importance of testing comes in.
Rather than simply making assumptions, you instead make adjustments, see how they go down with your visitors and make further adjustments accordingly. You test, you measure, you adjust and you test again – continuing the cycle indefinitely for continuous optimisation. All the data needed is right there at your fingertips (even with a free service such as Google Analytics), so you may as well put it to good use.