Ahoy Mateys! You’ve probably noticed lately that your website is looking a little worse for wear. What she needs is a bit more than fair skies and wind in her sails. She needs a redesign, something that’ll bring her into the modern age and truly make her a jewel of the digital sea.
But how do you even get started? The last thing you want to do is try and navigate a redesign without a plan in place.
There are countless articles out there telling you what to do. Instead, we wanted to give you some tips on what not to do. Follow the tips below to ensure your users will “jump ship” without hesitation:
1. Redesigning for all the Wrong Reasons
One of the best reasons to go beyond scrubbin’ the decks of your website is because your competitors are. From a seamless shopping cart to compelling, engaging content, there’s nothing like seeing your competitor’s redesigned website to show you how stale and outdated your own site is. It doesn’t even matter why they did it, just that they did. And now you have to keep up.
2. Make it All About You
This is your company website, so make sure you tell customers all about how great your business is. Some might caution you toward making the copy too “company-focused”, but who else is going to sing your praises? Your competitors certainly aren’t! Your redesign needs to leave absolutely no doubt as to how amazing you are, so use every square inch of space to tell customers about it.
3. Let Them Figure it Out
People looking for stuff on the web love searching. Why else do you think Google is so popular? To help them out, make sure your site search is as slow and inaccurate as possible. You want to keep people on your site longer? Make them work for it!
Same goes for navigation. By laying everything out in a nice, neat, coherent order, you just make them find what they need faster and leave. You want them to spend as much time as possible sifting through every page to get to where they’re going. If you can throw in some loud, auto-play videos or pop up ads, so much the better!
4. Worry About the Technology Later
You don’t need to know how a ship runs to navigate on the open sea. All you need is wind in your sails and a fire in your belly. Same goes for website technology. SEO? Integrations? CRM? CMS? Leave all that mumbo-jumbo behind. All it’s going to do is weigh you down like a lead anchor. You can figure it all out later when your site is up and running.
5. Who Cares about the Crew?
In the process of redesigning your website, you might hear about all the people you’ll need on your crew. Marketers and copywriters, programmers and social media experts. Bah! All you need is a reliable crew what can follow orders. Remember, you’re the captain here, and the last thing you want is a bunch of bilge rats scurrying around making your life difficult.
Speaking of crew, they’re all gonna have an opinion on your website. Marketing’s gonna blather on and on about optimizing this and that, while the copywriter’s going to nag about the content. You don’t need a bunch of lazy ne’er-do-wells telling you how to run your ship. Remember: feedback is another word for mutiny.
6. Mobile Users Can Walk the Plank
Some of your customers are gonna browse your website on their tiny little smartphones. That’s akin to looking at a ship through the wrong end of a spyglass! If they can’t see how big, beautiful and majestic your site is on the biggest possible screen, they can walk the plank! Ye want real users who can appreciate all the effort you’ve put into your redesign, not a bunch of scallywags attached to their smartphones.
7. Looks are all that Matter
If a customer comes across your site, you think they’re gonna ooh and aah about how fast your site search is or how easy it was to find what they were looking for? No! They don’t care about any of that. All you need to think about are the looks. Big, bold visuals are what puts the gleam in customers’ eyes. Why do you think so many stores have huge billboards and placards out front? To draw people in! And that’s exactly what your website should do, the bigger, the better.
8. Once You’ve Launched, You’re All Set!
Once your website is launched, that’s it. You can sit back and relax and let the customers start pouring in. You don’t even need to optimize — optimizing is what people do when they don’t get it right the first time, but by following this guide, you’ll have circumvented all of that, leaving your competitors in the dust!
…if you actually follow any of this advice, you’ll be all set to sail…right into a jagged coastline.
The truth is, a solid redesign is a team effort, with carefully planned goals and a path of milestones that take advantage of both analytical data and customer preferences to create something that lends itself well to a unique and effective user experience.
By following best practices along with having a detailed understanding of what works for your specific target audience, you’ll not only attract and retain more customers, but you’ll also help ensure smooth sailing for your website.