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6 Website Redesign Mistakes that Will Turn Your Website into a Zombie

Oct 29, 2015
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6 Website Redesign Mistake“It seemed just like any other website redesign project. The team worked well together, aside from the normal butting heads over a few design issues. But all in all, the project ran smoothly. After the 3 months of hard work, late nights and multiple concept changes, the new site was ready for launch. What happened next, no one on the team could have prepared for. What was supposed to be the launch of an exciting new website, transformed into a monster none of us were prepared to face. The new site was live, running and working just like a website should. But according to our data, it was as if the site was actually dead… looks like we had a zombie website on our hands.”

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.

1. Your Website Redesign is Based on a Feeling

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.  

2. You Created the New Site for Internal Purposes 

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.

3. You’ve Got too Many Opinions Involved

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.

4. Death by Compromise

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.

5. You Forgot About Future Growth

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.

6. You Changed Everything at Once

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.

Need help with a plan? We’ve got your back.

Website Redesign Project Plan




 

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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