If you’re going through a business website redesign or if you plan to in the future you’ll need a priority list.
It’s good to have this list from the beginning of the project. It helps with all the decisions you’ll have to make throughout the redesign process.
I’ve worked on redesigns for my own websites and I’ve helped other businesses with theirs. Things come up all the time and it seems there are always more decisions than anticipated.
I’ve found that a priority list works well. It’s something you and the team decide on before you get started so that decisions are easier. It’s necessary because you’ll want and your team will want different things on different pages. But the goal with web design is to limit elements on every page. With your priority list you can easily let people know that their requested element might not make the cut.
With that in mind here are the 10 tips to use when redesigning your website.
1. Focus On Sales And Profit
The priority list needs to focus on sales and profit. Without these two things your business doesn’t exist.
Think of your business website as a salesperson. All the things your salespeople do regularly need to be handled on the website. Some things are easier to do on a website (tons of information) while others are difficult (answering specific questions).
The number one item on your priority list should be sales and profit. All decisions take into consider sales and profit whether it’s a page’s layout or what elements should stay or be taken off a page.
2. Don’t Forget Early Sales Steps
When we think of online sales we often think about a call to action that asks a customer to buy. But the sales process is longer than that. It starts with someone being introduced to your company. Then it involves earning trust. Then it involves knowing that they need something and recognizing that you offer a solution to their need.
All these different elements need to be handled on your website. A blog post is something that answers a common question your customer has regarding your industry. Someone that reads your blog post likely doesn’t know who you are or what you offer. But you can earn their trust with the blog post and introduce yourself. The other pages on your site move them through the rest of the sales process.
Talk to your sales team and customers. Lay out the steps in your sales process and make sure they’re all covered and of high priority on your website.
3. The Need For Speed
A key to a successful website is speed.
Google has talked about page speed for years. They focus on increasing the speed of all their applications and how it has a positive impact on user experience and sales. They also encourage businesses and other websites to increase page speed in every way possible.
Keys to getting a faster website include getting a better host that knows how to optimize how your site is hosted so it can load fast for as many visitors as possible. It also includes having knowledgable designers and developers that know how to increase page speed.
And it starts with your team understanding that page speed is a priority. When you’re working with designers and developers you’ll have to eliminate some elements in favor of a faster page speed.
4. Short, Descriptive Titles And Headlines
Titles and headlines include the title tags of your site and the titles and headlines that appear throughout your website. Shorter is better, but the key is a balance between short and descriptive. If you can be just as descriptive in one word as you can in two or three then go with one word. But if three words better describes an image, product, service or what a page is about than one or two words you’ll need to use three.
For example, a services page for some businesses probably only needs to be called “Services” instead of “Our Services”. The actual type of service could be implied in other areas.
But for other businesses the headline might need to say “Website Design Services” because “Services” would be too vague.
You’ll have to find the correct balance for your business. Work with your team to see how short you can go, but also ask people outside your business if they understand what your pages are about.
5. Responsive Design
The world is moving to mobile devices. Many people still use and continue to use desktops and laptops, but the more people are spending more time accessing websites on their smartphones and tablets.
The future seems to be one with multiple different screen sizes and shapes.
Responsive design takes longer to design up front because you create versions of your website for every device size. It’s not a different website. The URLs are all the same. And all the elements remain for each version so it’s not like you have a mobile site and a full site. Everybody gets a full site, but they get a version optimized for their device.
6. Understand Your Customer’s Language
The content on your site determines multiple things with the most important being whether your customer finds your site, if they understand what you offer and if you win them over.
To accomplish these things you need to use your customer’s language. Your sales team likely has this down solid. They know how to speak with your customers. They know the words your customers use when talking about your industry. It’s often different than the words you use when talking about the industry because you’re an insider. You know abbreviations and industry terms. Your customer probably doesn’t.
A web designer that designs websites for small businesses should probably use language like “We Create Websites”, but a web design that creates apps for tech apps could probably use language like “App UX Design Services”.
7. Limit Options And Calls To Action
When you go into the candy store and see 100 different flavors of jelly beans you probably feel overwhelmed. It’s difficult to choose just one. But if you walk in and see three options you don’t really get flustered or overwhelmed. You pick the one you like and move on.
Don’t overwhelm your customers with all types of calls to action. Identify the choice you most want your customers to take on each page also considering where they are in the sales process. Make that call to action the one that stands out the most. You can have others on the page, but make them more subdued.
8. Small Headers
We mentioned responsive design earlier. One of the struggles with mobile websites is that the headers on the pages often get too big. All a visitor can see is the header and from that they often might not know what page they’re on. It even happens on some desktop websites.
Keep your header small. Shrink your logo and top navigation. Use a headline that is big, but not over the top. And don’t use huge images because they’ll take up too much room at the top.
9. Real Photos Or Specific Illustrations
Stock photos can be great, but most of the time you’re going to be better off using real photos of you, your team and real customers.
Your potential customers want to know who they’re working with. They want to know the company and the people that make it a company. Use real photos when appropriate.
And to avoid stock photos you can also use illustrations. They’re more expensive, but they’ll be exactly what you want and they can help communicate your message on each page.
10. Share Your Vision On The About Page
The About page is often one of the most trafficked pages on a business website. It’s especially popular on B2B websites. Like I said, people want to know the business they might work with. When you share the vision you have for your business you let people know what you’re working toward. That allows them to connect to that vision and they’ll become more likely to buy into what you’re doing.
Deigning a website is not easy. But you can make it easier by understanding the process ahead of time. I’ve worked on multiple redesigns over the years and these tips are things I wish I would have known when first working on websites. I know they can help you with your redesign efforts. Do the work ahead of time and it will make the process easier. It still won’t be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, but it will go smoother and should result in a better website.