So, you've found the ideal web development company and are in the process of rebuilding your website. That's excellent! In the age of 'everything now', it's important to keep your Internet presence current in order to stay relevant with savvy online shoppers. That applies equally to B2C and B2B websites. But, a website redesign has to adhere to a few guidelines, or the redo will be more of a hindrance to your brand image than a help. Here are the worst website redesigns your business needs to avoid at all costs.
1. Forget to Help Your Customers During the Transition
Alert your regular visitors and customers right away that they've made it to the right site, or they may think you've gone out of business or moved without warning.
First-time visitors won't miss a beat when you roll out a redesign, but your existing customers, as well as frequent visitors who haven't made purchases yet, will be thrown off when they come for the first time and everything has changed. You need to let them know right away that they haven't gone to the wrong place. Welcome them back with a brief but thorough explanation like, "Welcome to our new site!" Let them know you haven't disappeared and that they made it to the right place.
2. Fail to Provide a Fully Responsive Website
Today's Internet shoppers use a variety of devices (and even different online identities) to shop. This goes for both B2B and B2C shoppers. They might log on initially from a work PC, check in later via a tablet or smartphone, and could even switch again when it's time to click Buy Now. This makes it essential for websites to feature fully responsive website designs that provide a stellar user experience across devices, platforms, and interfaces. Work with your web development company to assure that the website works equally well when accessed via iPhone, Android tablet, full-size desktop PC, and everything in between.
3. Updating the Design, but Not the Content Strategy
A sexy new website is just half the game. In order to remain high in search engine rankings, you need to back up the new design with a great content management strategy that includes smart content targeted to each stage of the customer buying journey. Use metrics to track how visitors navigate through your website, where they interact with content, and where they tend to drop out. Supplement your own content with industry news, interviews, and commentary by guest bloggers and other thought leaders in the field.
4. Putting Form Over Function
Does your site look and work as well for visitors on tiny screens as it does for larger interfaces?
A good web development company will help build an attractive site, but good looks is no substitute for easy navigability and a smart layout. Make sure that the website is exceptionally functional, empowered with a strong search feature, and is designed so that finding what visitors are looking for is easy and intuitive. Avoid overly artsy designs that make it difficult or impossible to determine where to go to get what information. We recommend a data driven web design approach that prioritizes metrics ahead of aesthetics.
5. Not Timing the Redesign Wisely
When you roll out the new web design is as important as how it looks. Avoid changing over during an active marketing campaign or during the heaviest shopping seasons. Roll out your new website design during normal traffic periods when visitors aren't likely to be hurried or easily confused.
6. Forgoing Analytics During the Transition
It is tempting to hold off on collecting and analyzing your website metrics during the transition. Don't. Continue to collect metrics during the swap over and use the information to determine what's working effectively and what you and your web development company might do differently to ease the transition for customers and make the website easier to use.
Just as website design trends change, so do SEO requirements. Make sure your new site reflects the latest search engine algorithms, so that it ranks well on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other popular search engines. You can download our 10 Step SEO & Digital Marketing Guide to get started on a better content strategy for your website now.