If your small business’s website isn’t gaining traffic, actively engaging customers or targeting the right personas, it might be time for a redesign. This is particularly true if your site’s been online for more than a year and isn’t updated frequently. It’s important to stay relevant — nothing screams “behind the times” like an outdated front-end website — but redesigns can be time-intensive and costly, even if you know exactly what you’re doing.
Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before you launch into a website redesign.
1. When was the last time I updated my website?
This is a huge indicator of the time you’ll need to devote to a redesign. If your website hasn’t been updated in over a year, chances are you’ll be spending some serious time on content alone. The more outdated your website, the less you’ll show up in search results; that means reduced traffic, reduced exposure, reduced revenue. On the other hand, if you’re pretty diligent about content updates, you’re looking at a shorter timeline devoted to design and optimization.
2. What’s wrong with my current website?
Old layouts, images, content, resources — any outdated elements — immediately age your website in the eyes of the visitor. A bad hyperlink or a broken image can turn a hot lead sour in seconds, and outdated business info means confusion for customers and trouble for you. Make a list of all the problems with your site, then start drafting up solutions.
3. How much do I hope to accomplish?
Are you looking to revamp or rebrand? State what you’d like to achieve and be liberal with your estimates. If you have a clear strategy in mind from the get-go, you’ll gain far more from the work you put in. A simple content revamp may take hours or days, while a full rebrand could take weeks or months.
4. What do I like about other websites?
Compare your site to those of your competitors. Do they have a more modern design? A wider array of features? Simpler contact forms? You can even visit the most popular websites of different industries and see what they’re doing well. What can you take and adapt from these sites to suit your brand and vision?
5. What is my overall business goal?
Are you looking to convert leads faster? Increase traffic or purchases? Draw visitors to your physical store? It’s unlikely you’ll be able to achieve all of those without seeking out some extra help, so identify your biggest priority and do everything you can to execute on that. There are plenty of free online resources that can help you improve your site’s SEO, which is where any entrepreneur should start.
6. Have my offerings changed?
We’ve covered this a little, but it warrants repeating. If your product or service has changed at all, you must address that on your website. This is an obvious consideration for e-commerce sites, but brick & mortars often underestimate their customers’ expectations. Web visitors want their online experience to translate into their in-store experience — and if products or services are misrepresented online, you’re setting yourself up to lose business.
7. Can I analyze my website’s success?
Most web builders offer built-in analytics or integrations. This data isn’t just important to online retailers — it can help small businesses pinpoint what content is drawing traffic and where visitors are falling off most. Those insights are pivotal to not just your redesign, but your business as a whole. Visitor demographics paint a real picture of the online community that you can’t see clearly offline. Examine your data and make sure it lends to every decision you make.
8. Is my site mobile-friendly?
People expect websites to perform just as well on their smartphones as they do on their desktops. Sites that aren’t mobile-optimized are asking for extinction these days — they handle poorly, load slowly, and look awful on most screens. Developing a clean, user-forward, mobile-friendly site should be your chief priority if you’re setting out to redesign anyway.