This horror story is too often the reality for a number of businesses who undertake a website redesign. What you thought was going to be a huge success turned into a living nightmare. Your new site is live, but instead of new traffic and happy visitors, they are running for their lives in the other direction. All of the best practice documents, tips and tricks couldn’t have prepared you for the terror of dealing with a zombie website.
Your next website redesign doesn’t have to play out like a horror film. Here are 6 mistakes to avoid before your next big redesign. Following them could save your business' online marketing life.
Just because you want a new look, doesn’t mean you should persue a redesign. Before undertaking such an important task, you must get feedback! Start by looking at the analytics and assess how your users are engaging with your site. Talk to your customers and get their input. Your redesign needs to be in sync with the rest of your marketing efforts. So don’t force it, use it to your advantage. Use a simple pros & cons list to weigh your options and to help keep you grounded and focused.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your website is not for you, your co-workers or even to boost the CEO’s ego. It is for your audience. If you are doing a new site in order to make an internal department of your company or business happy, you will fail. In order to create a website that gets results, it must be created out of goals and centered on attracting and converting your audience into customers. Focusing internally is maybe the fastest way to turn your website into a zombie.
While feedback is great, not all feedback is equal. Isn’t it funny that the ones who complain the most that are usually nowhere to be found when it comes time to execute the change? Listen to others' feedback, but make sure you are listening to the right voices - mainly your audience and those in the organization that understand your buyers' needs and wants. Design-by-committee often leaves a project without one owner who has responsibility for it being completed on time and correctly.
In many compromises, you end up with 2 parties who settled for much less than they wanted and as a result both are upset and the solution they arrived at most likely sucks and doesn’t fix anything. The biggest way to combat this is to throw preferences out the window and force decisions to be made around achieving goals.
For many business, you are stuck in the never ending two to three-year redesign cycle. By launching a site and letting it sit idle until the next redesign, you have successfully created a zombie without even realizing it. Embracing the truth that websites should be living and able to constantly adapt to your audience will result in happy users and higher conversion rates. We call this approach Growth Driven Design. Check out this free eBook which goes into this subject in a lot more detail.
Now, there are times when a total makeover is needed, but this is rarely the case. When you make huge changes all at once, you have no ability to determine where the changes you made had the greatest impact. By breaking up the redesign into phases you can see how each update impacts your website as a whole.
By avoiding these 6 common mistakes, you can prevent a living nightmare. A website redesign is not something you should do just because. Make sure you know what your goals are and plan out how you are going to achieve those goals. If you killed your last site and are now dealing with a zombie website of your own, there is hope. Review your mistakes, compare the data and put a new plan into action. Take the lessons you’ve learned and avoid these 6 six mistakes and you can bring your website back to life.
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