When it comes to web design, it’s not all about looks.
We all can point out a jumbled page, a dated layout, and wonky formatting. Messy aesthetics, indeed, do not speak well for your company.
Be careful, however, not to let aesthetics be the primary driver of your website redesign. Looks, on their own are usually not reason enough for a full overhaul.
Instead, when deciding if a redesign is really called for, keep your immediate business goals in mind. Consider not just how your site looks, but also how it functions. After all, this is a long and expensive process—payout should be measurable against a set of marketing objectives that support the business.
Link redesign to measurable results
Maybe you’re looking to improve your SEO ranking, attract more visitors, increase the amount of time spent on your site, or generate more sales. These are all great reasons to think redesign because they’re all about measurable results.
Take SEO scores, for instance. Increasing searchability is certainly a worthy goal for a new site. To better understand the ways you can do better, first collect data to determine:
- Which of your marketing channels bring the most customers to your site: How realistic are your SEO goals? Everyone wants to rank #1, but considering your competition, and your SEO history, there may be other channels that can help you get found on the web.
- Which terms lead the most people to you: Google has us over a barrel. You may have to invest in some short-term paid search in order to truly evaluate the relevant search terms that lead visitors to your site.
- Which are your most search-valued pages: Set some keyword parameters that align with the role your website plays in your marketing mix. Then evaluate existing pages against those metrics.
Once you have this information, you can weave better search power into your redesign, so as to increase leads, downloads, and sales.
Weigh the risks
Website redesign can hurt you, too. Remember, your existing website has assets that took time to build. You have your most trafficked pages, your most shared content, your best performing keywords, and other strengths you want to preserve.
A redesign can wreak havoc on these assets. Web designers, especially those who lack a marketing background, might not realize that removing a page with a high number of inbound links can cost you a lot of SEO credit. In the process of revamping your site, you might inadvertently be undermining your inbound strategy. To avoid this and other pitfalls, take inventory of your assets and carefully choose a designer familiar with inbound marketing.
Make a visual impression
A website exists to get your company’s unique message out there, so that you are free to build strong relationships with your consumers. It should tell your target who you are and what you do, and do so in a way that attracts and engages visitors.
Branding is indeed about the visual impression you want your site to convey. Aesthetic decisions—logo treatments, the use of icons or photography, color scheme, the inclusion of characters, celebrities, representative graphics—apply across all elements of your marketing mix, including your website. Whether you’re looking to generate new leads, increase awareness, speak to lapsed customers, or fulfill some other marketing objective, your site should be built to achieve these goals.
When it comes to redesign, there are visual concepts—such as eliminating the navigation menu on lead gen landing pages, or the use of video—that can be implemented in order to fulfill the task you've assigned to your site. With that in mind, this is not about making your site “pretty.” Aesthetics do matter, so long as they serve something greater.
Looking for more information? Check out our 10 Step Checklist for Your Website Redesign ebook.