The Extreme Checklist of Website Redesign
The key to survival in today’s crushing eCommerce environment is to outpace the competition by being adaptable to sticky situations. This is only possible by having a farsighted approach for readily accepting changes that may seem insignificant at first glance, but are beneficial for the long run of your business.
With every passing day, thousands of new websites are born on the internet; behind these websites are those companies who are waging an endless war to outdo each other. To be able to dominate online is the ultimo-motive of most eCommerce businesses and to do this they need to have adaptability. Every once in a while it is a good idea to re-design and give your website a new look so that it is always unique to look at and offers something more to new and returning customers. There are quite a few steps to be followed when getting involved in website re-designing, however, if these steps are poorly executed there is a high chance that your initiative will do more harm than good for your website.This is the digital age, an age where your website is the most critical marketing tool at your disposal. It is very important to look after the needs of your website in a manner that is beneficial for your business.
To do this, it’s essential to identify that redesigning is not all about the aesthetic appeal of your website. While such adjustments may seem the most significant, a beautifully designed website will lose its purpose if the pages are not well optimized. The chief motive should never be forgotten – the idea to attract and retain customers, enhance the user experience while they browse through the web pages and last and foremost, to give them something in return for their actions.The goals which we outline in the Extreme Checklist of Website Re-design 2014 will affect the behavior of your visitors during their stay at your website.
By the time you are done with this checklist, you will know the following:
- Does your website need a re-design?
- What is the plan of action if your website needs re-designing?
#1 – Measure Your Ground
Before making any initial decisions or defining goals, it is always a good idea to measure the current standings of your website. Best option here would be to analyze the performance of your website over the past few years, by determining:
- Number of repeat / unique visitors
- Bounce rate of visitors
- Average / Total time spent on the website
- Current standing of unique keywords in Google
- Domain authority
- Number of unique leads / new form submissions
- Total / Average sales generated over the period
If obtaining this information seems like a difficult task for you, we recommend using Google Analytics, to track these changes and statistics to retrieve the past and current performance of your website.
#2 – Define Your Goals and Objectives
After collecting all the necessary data about the past performance of your website, it is time to draw the line and mark milestones which will be your ultimate aim. By defining these goals, not only will it help to consolidate your efforts, but it will help you in determining whether you really need to redesign your website.
Facts such as “The current website looks drab” or “Because they are doing it” are not a powerful fuel for driving such major endeavors. To recap, redesigning is not about how visually appealing your website is, but more so, about how it functions.
Here is a check-list of general ideas to define as your rock solid goals:
- Increase traffic to your website
- Increasing traffic from specific sources / driving targeted traffic
- Increasing Conversion Rate
- Decreasing Bounce Rate
- Increasing / Decreasing Click-through-rate
- Increasing Domain authority
- Increase the number of new leads / form submissions
- Increasing rank of your competitive keywords
It is vital to spend considerable time in chalking out these goals as they will determine the course of action you will be taking in near the future for increasing your website’s performance. From this step, there is no looking back; the only place you stop for breath is when you reach the end of this checklist.
#3 – Circumvent Dangers by Safeguarding Assets
With your objectives / goals defined, it is time to check your inventory and protect your assets before revamping your website. Considering the fact that your website has been running for quite a long time, it is likely that you have assimilated quite a few assets which you would definitely like to safeguard before moving forward.Website assets may include things like:
- Noteworthy or High Performing Content
- Current Keyword Rankings
- Inbound Links and
- Conversion Tools
To initiate this process, start by conducting and in-depth audit of your website and interlinked pages and create a record of the most valuable of your assets. The following checklist will enable smooth-run of this process:
- Total number of pages in your website
- Which pages are most significant?
- Number of Inbound Links to your website
- Sources of these Inbound Links
- Which Inbound Links are most significant?
- Current ranking of your unique keywords
- Which Keywords are the most effective?
- Your most shared content / viewed content
It is mandatory to complete this step to maintain the firm ground your business presently stands on. Losing such valuable assets will negatively affect your website redesign, it will be more like building your website from scratch and deleting all the progress you have made so far.
#4 – Scrutinize Your competition
The best way to beat the heat is to outpace the competition in the areas that they are adept at. We highly recommend using our Extreme SEO Analyzer to analyze your competition. The tool will tell you how you fare as compared to your competitors. Run the Extreme SEO Website Analyzer to get the current standing of your website and this will help you develop an idea about their strengths and weaknesses. Look around their website and make note of things that are praiseworthy and things that could be bettered. This information is not for cloning on your website, but for understanding how the same things can be implemented on your site in a superior manner and learning from their mistakes.
After your analysis is complete, make a list of things that you would like to do for your website and things that could be implemented differently for higher performance.
#5 – Create a Blueprint and Customize Your Homepage
Homepage is the area of your website which will be receiving the most traffic, thus, it is essential to customize your homepage in a manner that makes it an ‘attention-magnet.’ Choosing to not optimize your homepage can be a grievous mistake as this page forms the first bonding between your website and a potential customer. An average visitor scans a website for 3 seconds before he decides to prolong his stay at the website or chooses to hit the ‘x’ button. It is crucial to optimize the visitors’ experience in such a way that is not only attractive but also retaining, so that he always chooses the former option.
The mistake most entrepreneurs make today is by stuffing too much information on the first page of their website. People do not want to be sprayed by information when they land on your website. There are specific areas for everything, and they will eventually go to such areas if you can hold their attention long enough.
The key idea behind a successful homepage is Clarity and Simplicity. If the design looks neat and the homepage is welcoming, there is no way the visitor is running away any time soon. Considerable time should also be spent into optimizing the keywords for your homepage so that it is easily reachable.
Provided below is a checklist for Home Page Customization:
- Your website homepage should radiate brand image and corporate colour schema (Have a personality)
- Connect your homepage with your visitors emotionally using Social media channels and realistic visuals
- Provide only most significant information about your brand in the homepage and avoid bias words
- See that all areas and menus of your website are easily accessible through the homepage
- Limit the number of choices the visitors can make and give proper guidelines like Tool tips and road map
- Define and integrate the most significant brand and commercial keywords for your webpages
- Implement content marketing strategy and Integrate social media links and blog posts into your homepage
- Use Testimonial, recommended trust seals and Legal pages to make your site compliance with site architecture process
- Make sure install Google Analytics or piwik analytic for track your site visitors behavior and traffic sources
The homepage should be designed from the viewpoint of the consumer, to cater to his needs and requirements. If he has taken the initiative to come to your website, there is a reason driving his visit, and your homepage should be the fuel to determine his next course of actions.
#6 – Be Content – Centric
The more fresh content you have, the better it is for your website. Google and other search engines love websites with fresh and useful content, as much as consumers. Thus, it is very important to have a content-centric action plan for your website.There is a wide assortment of mediums that can help you produce content for your website like:
- Press Releases
- White Papers
- Info-graphics and
- Images, etc.
Here is a checklist of Content Marketing routes for your website:
- Blogging – It is by far the most successful content marketing strategy that can be employed by any business. Does your website have a blog?
- Press Releases – Post press releases as and when necessary for increased traffic
- Outsource Work – Define agencies or authors for your content marketing strategies and let the experts take control of the situation. They will keep your website updated regularly, beneficially.
The Blog is the most powerful tool for tapping your targeted audience. It serves as a way for consumers to interact with your business and drives them through the initial Inbound Marketing drill of your company.
#7 – Identify and Integrate Solid Call to Actions
The entire idea behind optimizing and redesigning your webpage is to convert visitors into consumers. Any step from your website a visitor may take, that pushes him closer to being a consumer is known as conversion. Two things drive the conversion ratio of your online enterprise:
- Landing Pages
CTA’s are those elements of your website, which induce visitors to take a series of actions. This can be anything from asking to download an eBook to requesting form submission.Every page of your website requires a Call-to-action, but it is vital to ensure the call is relevant to the content provided in the web-page.After clicking the CTA, visitors will be re-directed to a landing page. This page will host a simple form which the user might have to submit in order to get something in return (mostly the deal offered through the call-to-action).
Though this looks fairly simple, here are a few things that should be taken into consideration when designing a landing page:
- Landing pages should not have website navigation (to avoid distracting customers)
- The description of the offer should be clear and simple to the visitor
- Social sharing buttons should be included for obvious reasons
- The deal or offer should be beneficial to the visitor (Important)
- Include the company logo
- Make use of your most powerful keywords to get found on search engines
Landing pages are most powerful tools for generating leads. It’s highly likely that these are not in your present goals, but it is a good idea to inculcate them as soon as possible.
#8 – Use Semantic Markup and Make your Website Responsive
Deciding to redesign your website and forgetting to make it optimized for better viewing on Tablets and Smartphone’s can be a mistake, you will never forget. Over 65% of today’s demographics use mobile or tablet platforms to surf the internet. If your website is not responsive, then you are far away from tapping into this traffic base- don’t make this wrong decision.
The most favored way of transitioning into mobile platforms is by making responsive websites. What these websites basically do is, adapt themselves according to the resolution of the screen of the device being used to access them.
Here is the quick checklist for developing a responsive website:
- Determine the source of mobile traffic
- Define the framework of your responsive theme
- Design your website’s layout appearance for portrait (smartphones) and landscape (tablet) viewing.
Choosing to ignore the mobile market is not an option your business should consider. When the entire world is obsessed with their mobile devices, so should your business be.
#9 – Optimize for Search Engines – But don’t Do the Same Mistakes.
My company Extreme SEO Internet Solutions describe SEO as ‘The Science of Synergy’ – Everything that we have talked about in this Extreme Checklist is somehow interrelated, and one is not possible without the other.All the above things that you have done so far will be in vain if your website cannot be found online. It is most important to be found online – make your website reachable. How can you aim to increase the leads, and convert sales if your website has no visitors?
Here is our checklist for Search Engine Optimization:
Use latent Semantic Keyword Indexing Strategy : By now you have a fair idea of which pages in your current website obtain most rank in search engines – the pages with most traffic, number of inbound links, highest keyword rankings. Proper 301 re-direct pages need to be created to preserve the value of these pages. However, do not use old school style Keyword stuffing or link building with your commercial keywords. use proper keyword strategy like Brand keyword 40%, Commercial keyword 25%. Generic & Long tail Keywords 35% for avoid keyword stuffing or content penalty issues.
Making a 301 Redirect Strategy: The most efficient way is to create a spreadsheet record of your old significant / important pages along with their old links. Then create a separate 301 redirect for each of them to avoid skipping out any links. But , do not link any link profile that totally irrelevant for your niche and don’t forget to use proper pagination and inbound link strategies. Focus on choosing 1-2 keywords for every page. Once you have finalized the keywords, it’s vital to use on-Page SEO tactics to further optimize your webpage.
#10 – Recap – Time to Take a Break / Note
So we have come to the end of our extensive drill, and it is time to take a break. Sit back and observe – Has the entire process of website redesign been effective for you? For obvious reasons, it is essential to measure your ‘Returns-on-Investment’ for your redesign.Here is our last, but not the least checklist to measure ROI of website redesign:
- Number of new visitors to the website?
- What sources are they coming from?
- How many visitors converted into leads?
- What instigated them to convert?
- Number of leads converted into actual sales.
- Number of Unique visitors per day,week,month
While conversion ratio of your website will be your primary concern, other metrics to consider will be the objectives that you set for yourself in the second step of the redesign. The detailed analysis of these measurements will help you understand the sectors which are working well for your website and the sectors which need improvements in your website.A website redesign does not offer immediate results. It is a process that takes place over a span of time and requires small adjustments and tweaks to be made to your strategies every now and then to achieve the primary goals of your business. In order to reach these milestones, it is essential to constantly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your website and plan your next set of actions accordingly.
There is more to website redesign than meets the eye. The initiative to invest time and money into such a venture involves more of doing your homework, before you design that beautiful and visually appealing website. The website needs to be result-oriented in such a manner that is affiliated with the best ethics of inbound marketing. Following this curve will not only insure that your website is ‘reachable’ but that you are able to convert and retain customers once they enter your domain – Literally!
Don’t treat your website like you would treat the attic in your house. A website is sophisticated, yet the most powerful marketing tool of your company. It should be integrated with all functions like Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management, Online Reputation Management and Conversion Rate Optimization. Making these decisions will decide the future of your brand and help you turn your website into a flourishing inbound marketing platform.Make use of the opportunity while you have it. Follow this checklist to your success.
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