According to Netcraft’s February 2014 Survey, there are about 920,102,079 active websites. By active websites, I mean websites that return a 200 OK response. That’s a lot of websites. With the development of content management system software like WordPress and Drupal, managing websites is a breeze. However, there is one area of a website people over look or leave to the last minute, and that is website redesign. I mean, we look at domain name choosing, picking a web hosting provider and the software we are going to use, but the re-design process. If you have a static website for too long, you could be losing new, returning or old visitors.Here are five (5) common website redesign mistakes people and businesses make when redesigning a website:
Stopping the Design Process
When you launch your website, you should already be planning and working on your website’s new design. This is the same for a website that has just been redesigned. You should never stop the website redesign process.
This will allow you to never have to worry about timelines or the ability to test and integrate new web technologies.
Using a Splash Page
A splash page is a single page with a short and sweet message and was popular 10+ years ago but not anymore. However, they are still being used for the website redesign stage; especially by people and businesses with a service portfolio. It is okay to use a splash page for a new website that hasn’t even started, i.e. “coming soon” page, but for a website redesign, they should be avoided.
Yes, it informs your visitors that you are working on a website redesign but you are losing the visitor’s attention and loyalty.
Plus, these splash pages usually appear for months, if not over a year, so not only are you potentially losing visitors, you are affecting your website’s search engine visibility, because you are switching from an informative multiple web page website to a single non-informative web page.
Instead, keep your current website design, but put a message at the top, side or bottom of your website stating that you are working on a website redesign. A great tool for this would be top bar that is close-able, like a Hello Bar – inform the visitor and possibly give them a link to follow about the updates of the redesign or a link to a newsletter.
Not Letting Your Visitors Know
Should you let your visitors know that you are working on a website redesign? Why not? Use the opportunity to inform visitors about the process and the steps you are taking to redesign the website. It’ll make a great blog post and I’m sure the owners of 920,102,079 websites will appreciate your take on the process.
You could also make a series of blog posts, to gain more page views and visitor attention.
Launching a Redesign and Thinking You’re Done
When you launch a new website design, you not stop making changes to it. Of course, you should do your best to make sure these changes are minor and these changes are based on testing, i.e. A/B testing, in order to satisfy your visitor and your wallet.
An example of this would be providing a service that has five (5) plans. Each plan has a set of features, its own pricing, etc… At the bottom of the feature list, there is a button where a visitor can click to purchase that service plan. You named it “Sign Up,” when you initially launched the website redesign. You have not received a lot of orders, so why not try “Sign Up Now” or “Order Now” etc…
Another example would be having a website that has a side navigation (sidebar), that has five (5) panels or widgets (a container of content). The order is A, B, C, D and E. Panel E contains a newsletter signup form. You’ve notice that you have not received as many newsletter sign ups as you hoped, so why not move C to E and see if it improves or variation thereof.
Thinking that your new website redesign will be the end of that redesign is a mistake. You should be ready and prepared to make slight changes to the website redesign.
Not Developing a Solid Foundation
When redesigning a website, some people and business make the mistake of a total redesign, meaning there is a significant changes to the code. While this may be necessary in some cases, this should be avoided and can be avoided by remembering that your website should have a solid foundation. By foundation, I mean front-end framework like Twitter’s Bootstrap, which allows you to change the appearance of your website through CSS, while making zero or little changes to the HTML. Let the CSS do majority or all of the work and not your HTML. This will save you time and money.