Consider what to keep
Yoast’s advice is never to start your website completely again. He feels there is usually some content well worth keeping:
“Well, I would never start all over again, even if you have over 1K posts and you think most of them are really bad. Just delete all the bad ones. Just delete them, do nothing else. You can either choose to 410 them or to 301 them to the homepage. Both are in this case a valid choice. But keep the good ones, and at that point start producing high quality content. Even if you’re only left with 20 or 30 good posts after you’ve deleted all the other stuff. You’d still have more than what you would have when you’d start fresh.
So, don’t start over. Just fix it up. Remove all the old stuff and then keep on going. Good luck!” from Yoast
One of the first steps in redesigning your site is to work out what is worthwhile to keep. It is important to have a plan for any pages that are ranking well in google.
Consider what software your website runs on
If your website software is using outdated, expensive and difficult to maintain software, then I would consider moving to WordPress.
Why WordPress? It’s easy to learn and use, it is very extendable, is Search Engine friendly and it is easy to manage.
Consider your branding
A website’s visual marketing is a key element in reaching your customers. Quality visuals enhance your company’s appearance and as well as emphasising the tone you set as a company. Use your business goals to guide your website’s structure or graphics. Consider what you intend to communicate with your customers. It is important to choose colours that are appropriate for your audience, context and the message you want to convey. For example, warm colours can communicate passion, energy or even a warning. If your brand isn’t tying in completely with your website, that is a good indication that you should do a redesign. Fortunately, with WordPress, you can change to a new theme to give a new look while keeping all the content. Perhaps all that is needed is a rethink of the home page and your key landing pages.
Take a look at your website from your potential customers perspective. Customers turn away from websites that are too confusing or where they can’t find easy information. If your website is difficult to navigate this is a huge red flag and a restructure is a good place to start. Over time we add more and more content, and the structure can become unwieldy. Not only does the website structure affect your user’s experience, but it can also affect your SEO: see Site Architecture for SEO
Take a look at other sites, especially those in your industry. Do they have features you admire or hate? Is their website easier to access and work than yours?
Improving the way the information in your site or application is organized and presented is one of the most cost-effective ways of increasing user satisfaction and engagement. Information architecture can help you find out how your users think about the world, and transition those lessons to your product. See more here
Improve Your Content
Do you have clear calls to actions? Do you need to update some of your copy? Does your website communicate your unique value proposition?
I recommend the following course on Lynda.com showing you how to analyse, prioritise, and think strategically about content in many formats across many channels. Through a series of decisions, you can transform an outdated, content-heavy website into a multifaceted, multimedia showcase: https://www.lynda.com/User-Experience-tutorials/User-Experience-Fundamentals-Web-Design/421802-2.html
Consider also if there is additional or improved functionality you want to add. It could be adding a forum, RSS subscriptions, blog, e-commerce etc.
Where to begin
Having listed all the areas above. It can feel overwhelming, and it is easy to get bogged down in the details. However, I suggest that you start with these or similar questions first:
- Why now?
- What’s the expected outcome?
- What’s the budget?
The answers to these questions will guide the website design and development decisions. By focusing on these, you will be able to think more strategically about the changes you want to make to the design, structure, content and functionality.
Need some help with choices about a website overhaul? Contact us today to discuss your needs. We can guide you through the decision making process. You will be glad you took the time to get a clearer plan.
Tarnya takes your vision of your business and translates that into a web site which is what you wanted but didn’t know how to describe it. ~Carol