Businesses outgrow their websites. It happens to the best of us. Your website might have been state-of-the-art when you launched it, but a few years down the road, it’s outdated, not mobile-friendly, and doesn’t reflect your business’s current state.
Beware! A website redesign is not an opportunity to start from scratch. Your redesign should be based on the foundation you’ve built up over the years – the content, the branding, the design elements, etc.
Website redesign is an opportunity to improve upon what you have — not just aesthetics but also functionality, conversions, and most importantly, the relationship your team has with the process.
You can use this opportunity to improve your organization, reduce clutter, and focus on your strengths. But as with anything, there is a right and wrong way to tackle a website redesign.
Here are some of the most common mistake’s businesses make when redesigning their websites — avoid them, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful relaunch!
10 Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Redesigning their websites
#1. Neglecting SEO
That is a huge mistake and can be incredibly costly. A redesign is a perfect time to audit your website’s SEO and make necessary changes.
You must ensure all your pages are indexed, you have a strong keyword strategy, and your titles and meta descriptions are well-written and enticing.
You might experience a traffic drop during your redesign – that’s normal. But focus on making sure all the right SEO boxes are checked, and you’ll be able to quickly recover any lost traffic, gaining even more visitors in the long run.
Otherwise, you risk losing all your progress in search engine rankings, and it will take much longer to recover.
If you’re working with a website design company, then you want to choose one that understands SEO to the core, not one that’s only big on graphics and animation.
While aesthetics is important, they probably come third or fourth on the list of priorities for a successful website.
Here’s a list of things to focus on when redesigning your website for SEO:
- Submit Your Sitemap to Google
- Check Indexation Status
- Audit Your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
- Optimize Your Content
- Update Your robots.txt File
- Set Up 301 Redirects
- Don’t Forget About social media
- Monitor Your Traffic and Conversions
- Secure the site with an SSL Certificate
#2. Not Defining their Redesign Goal and Addressing User Needs
You’re not just redesigning your website because someone else is also redesigning theirs. There needs to be a clear purpose for your redesign.
Is it to generate more leads, boost sales, or increase brand awareness?
Not having a defined goal is one of the main reasons website redesigns fail. How will you know if your redesign is successful if you don’t have anything to measure it against?
It also helps to consider what your users want and need from your website. Do they want more visuals or more text? Easier navigation or more products on the home page?
The best way to find out is to ask them. You can do this through surveys, social media, or in-person interviews.
Even more important is to know what works and what does not work on your current website. Use Google Analytics to find out which pages get the most traffic and where people drop off.
That will give you a good idea of what elements to keep and what needs to be changed.
Rather than approaching everything blindly, take the time to review your current website’s analytics and audit your user’s needs. That will help you define a clear goal for your redesign and ensure you’re addressing the right pain points.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when defining your redesign goals:
- What do you want your website to achieve?
- Who is your target audience?
- What do they need from your website?
- What works and doesn’t work on your current website?
- How will you measure the success of your redesign?
- What are your main assets (images, content, video, graphics, etc.)
- What do you want your overall design to communicate?
- What are some other websites in your industry that you like?
- What content works best on each page (text, images, videos, etc.)
- What do you consider a successful content strategy?
- What are some other goals you have for your website?
You may have to audit your current website and fine-tune your goals before you’re ready to start the redesign process.
But taking the time to do this will save you a lot of headaches and frustration.
#3. Not Involving their Entire Team in the Process
A website redesign is not something to do in a silo. It’s a team effort that should involve everyone from the CEO to the customer service reps.
The reason for this is simple. Everyone has a different role in the company and, therefore, a different perspective. The sales team, for example, will have a different take on what the website needs from what the marketing team proposes.
The best way to avoid this is to involve everyone in the redesign process. Get their input on what they think works and doesn’t work on the current website. What do they think should be improved?
Be sure to give everyone a chance to have their say and be open to all suggestions. Even if you don’t end up using them, it’s good to know what everyone is thinking.
You should also set up a project management system that everyone on your team can easily access. That will help keep everyone on track and ensure no one is left out of the loop.
And last but not least, be sure to do regular check-ins with everyone involved in the redesign. That will help ensure everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises.
Here’s a quick overview of how to involve your entire team in the redesign process:
- Get their input on what they think works and doesn’t work on the current website.
- Give everyone a chance to suggest something.
- Set up a project management system that everyone on your team can easily access and review.
- Have regular check-ins with everyone involved in the redesign process.
#4. Not Understanding the Size and Scope of the Project
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when redesigning your website is not understanding the size and scope of the project.
Often, companies will underestimate how much work goes into a redesign. They think they can do it in-house with their current team, or they’ll only need to make a few changes here and there.
The reality is that a website redesign is a big project that requires a lot of planning, strategy, and execution.
If you’re not prepared for it, you’ll end up spending more time and money than you had initially budgeted for.
To avoid this, you must clearly understand the project’s size and scope. Sit down with your team and map out everything that needs to be done.
Create a timeline of when each task needs to be completed and assign responsibility to specific team members. That will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the project stays on track.
Some points to discuss when mapping out the size and scope of the project:
- How do you want the website to look?
- What changes need to be made to the current website?
- How will the content be organized?
- Who is responsible for each task?
- When do you want the project to be completed?
- What website features need to be included?
- How will some of the site changes affect your overall marketing strategy?
- What’s your budget for the project?
#5. Not Setting Clear Deadlines
Learn to work with clear deadlines, or else you’ll never get anything done on time.
You don’t want to rush the project. At the same time, you also don’t want to drag it out forever. Set a realistic deadline for when you want the project to be completed, and make sure everyone involved is well-aware of it.
You’ve probably seen a situation where a company sets a launch date for their website, but then they keep pushing it back.
Don’t let this happen to you. Set a deadline and stick to it.
If you find that you can’t meet the deadline, sit down with your team and figure out why. Is there something you can do to speed up the process?
Be sure to factor in external factors when setting your deadline as well. If you’re relying on someone else to complete a task, give them enough time to do it.
And last but not least, don’t forget to factor in some buffer time in case something goes wrong.
No matter how well you plan, there’s always a chance that something will go wrong. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Some factors to consider when setting deadlines:
- How long do you think the project will take?
- Are there any external factors that could impact the timeline?
- Do you have enough buffer time in case something goes wrong?
- Can anything be done to speed up the process?
- Is everyone aware of the deadline?
- Are there any risks associated with not meeting the deadline?
We suggest you leave enough time for:
- Site Migration
- Content Creation
- Project Management
You must also factor in the time after the design is over, and you have to pass it over to relevant stakeholders and go back and forth with changes.
That is often forgotten, and people are always surprised that the design takes much longer than they had initially envisioned.
It takes time to explain the rationale behind decisions, get sign-off at each stage, and do reviews.
#6. Doing a Surprise Launch of the Website without Testing
When the day to launch your new website finally arrives, you want everything to go smoothly. The last thing you want to see is bugs and technical glitches.
To avoid this, you must test the website before launching it. That may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies launch their website without testing them first.
Test the website on different browsers and devices to ensure it works properly. Check all the links to ensure they go to the right place.
Do a spell check to catch any typos. Test the forms to make sure they’re working correctly.
Test the website extensively, double-checking everything before you launch it.
It’s also a good idea to do a soft launch of the website. That’s where you launch the website without any fanfare or marketing.
It allows you to test the website in a live environment and fix bugs.
Once you’re confident everything works, you can do a full launch of the website.
Some things to test before launching your website:
- Different browsers
- Different devices
- Spell check
- User experience
Do a soft launch of the website to test it in a live environment.
Fix any bugs that pop up before doing a full launch.
There are plenty of features to test on the website before it goes live.
To make sure your website is ready for launch, here is a helpful checklist:
- All content has been added and edited
- The site has been tested in different browsers
- The site has been tested on various devices
- All links have been checked
- A spell check has been done
- All forms are working properly
- The site is easy to use and navigate
- The site loads quickly
- There are no broken images or links
- The contact information is correct
- The site looks professional
Run heatmaps and user testing to see how people interact with the site in real time.
Heatmaps reveal some of the big attractions and areas of confusion on your website.
Where are people opting out?
What are they clicking on the most?
Are they scrolling down to see more content?
This type of data is invaluable when you’re making changes to your website.
User testing will give you insights into the user experience.
How easy is it to navigate the site?
Do they understand the content?
What do they think of the design?
User testing will give you critical feedback that you can use to improve your website.
#7. Reduced Page Loading Speed
Fast loading speed is now part of Google web vitals. If your website loads like molasses, then your SEO ranking will tank.
Your website’s loading speed is important for two reasons:
- User experience: People are impatient, and if your site takes too long to load, they’ll leave.
- SEO: Google now considers loading speed as part of its ranking algorithm. If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, then forget about ranking on the first page.
How do you improve your website’s loading speed?
- Optimize images: Images are often the heaviest elements on a webpage. Use an image compression tool to reduce the file size without reducing quality.
- Minimize HTTP requests: Each time a user visits a webpage, their browser has to send HTTP requests to the server. The more requests, the longer it takes for the page to load.
- Enable browser caching: When users visit your website, their browser stores certain files (like images) on their computer. The page will load faster when they visit your site again because their browser doesn’t have to send as many HTTP requests.
- Use a content delivery network: A CDN is a server network that delivers content to users based on location. That means that users in different parts of the world will get content from different servers, which reduces the load time.
- Reduce the number of plugins: If you’re using WordPress, you probably have many plugins installed. This can slow down your website because each plugin has to load its own files. Try to reduce the number of plugins you’re using, and only use the ones that are absolutely necessary.
You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to see how well your website performs. Just enter your URL, and the tool will give you a report with suggestions on how to improve your page speed.
#8. Neglecting Lead Generation
A website is only as good as the leads it generates.
If your website isn’t designed with lead generation in mind, you’re missing out on many potential customers.
Here are some things you can do to generate more leads from your website:
- Understand Your Target Audience: The first step is to understand who your target audience is. What are their needs and wants? What are their pain points? Once you know this, you can design a website that appeals to them.
- Create Compelling Content: The content on your website should be compelling enough to make people want to stick around. Write blog posts, create infographics, and produce videos that grab attention and generate leads.
- Use Calls-To-Action: A call-to-action (CTA) is a statement or button that encourages users to take action. That could be something like “Sign up for our newsletter” or “Download our eBook.” Your CTAs should be placed prominently on your website so that users can’t miss them.
- Use Lead Magnets: A lead magnet is an incentive you offer in exchange for someone’s contact information. That could be a free eBook, report, or video. By offering something valuable, you can encourage people to give you their email addresses so that you can continue marketing to them.
- Make It Easy to Contact You: If someone wants to get in touch with you, make it easy for them. You want to include your contact information on every webpage and make it visible. You also want a live chat widget so users can get help immediately.
- Look at Keywords: What keywords are people searching for that you want to rank for? Use these keywords throughout your website, from your website’s blog, articles, sales copy, and even the title tags and meta descriptions.
- Optimize Your Forms: If you’re using forms on your website, make sure they’re optimized for conversion. That means keeping them short (no more than five fields) and ensuring the CTA is visible.
- Create a Lead Nurturing Sequence: Once you have a lead’s contact information, you need to nurture that lead. That means sending them emails, discounts, and other offers that will encourage them to buy from you.
Gated quality content and subscriptions can also be a great way to generate leads from your website. By requiring users to give you their contact information, you can add them to your email list and continue marketing to them.
You can nurture leads through emails, product testing, or even by offering free consultations.
- Creates a User Journey that Supports the Buyer Journey: Once you understand your target audience and what they’re looking for, you can create a user journey that takes them through your website and ultimately converts them into paying customers.
You also want to provide shortcuts with every action step along the way. That could be a chat widget, contact form, or even a PDF download.
#9. Creating an Aesthetically Pleasing Website but Not Functional
Having an aesthetically pleasing website isn’t enough.
Your website also needs to be functional. That means it should be easy to use, navigate, and, most importantly, easy for users to find what they came to look for.
If your website is difficult to use, users will leave and find another site that better meets their needs.
Here are some tips for making your website more functional:
- Make It Easy to Navigate: Users should be able to easily find what they’re looking for, whether it’s a product, service, or piece of content.
- Use Intuitive Design: Users should be able to quickly find what they’re looking for without getting lost in a sea of links and pages.
- Make It Responsive: Your website must be responsive. Meaning it should adjust to any screen size. That is especially important now that more people are using mobile devices to access the internet.
- Load Quickly: Users expect websites to load quickly, so make sure your site is optimized for speed.
- Clear Unnecessary Pages: Every page on your website should have a purpose. If you have pages just taking up space, get rid of them.
- Include a Search Function: A search bar can be a lifesaver for users who can’t find what they’re looking for.
- Fix Broken Links: Nothing is more frustrating for users than clicking on a link and getting an error message. If you find broken links on your website, fix them as soon as possible.
- Breadcrumbs for Direct Navigation: Breadcrumbs are a great way to help users navigate your website. They provide a link trail showing the user where they are on your site and how they got there.
#10. Not Considering Changes that are User-friendly for You and Your Team
It also helps to consider how the redesign will impact you and your team.
For example, will you need to train your team on using the new CMS?
Will the new design require more maintenance?
These are all important factors to consider before you begin the redesign process.
Here are some tips for making sure your redesign is user-friendly for you and your team:
- Keep It Simple: A complex website will be more difficult to maintain and update.
- Choose a Responsive Theme for your dashboard: A responsive theme will make managing your website easier, primarily if you use a mobile device.
- Create a Staging Site: Before you launch your redesigned website, create a staging site where you can test everything out. That will help you avoid any last-minute surprises.
- Back up Your Website: Before beginning the redesign process, back up your website. This way, if anything goes wrong, you can always revert to the original version.
- Plan for Change: Redesigning your website is a significant change, so plan for it. That includes creating a budget, setting a timeline, and gathering all the necessary resources.
- Communicate with Your Team: Be sure to communicate with your team throughout the redesign process. This way, everyone will be on the same page, and no one will be surprised by the changes.