8 Common Website Redesign Pitfalls to Avoid
If you’re going to redesign your website, do it right! Don’t just give it a new coat of paint to cover up the structural damage. Be willing to invest in things like mobile or mobile-friendly, improved page-loading speed, SEO, user journey and other such “esoteric” concepts, or you might as well not do a website redesign at all. To help you avoid the pitfalls of redoing your website, here’s a checklist of things to keep in mind:
1. Visitors need to understand what your business is about at a first glance.
This is really important. If the visitor can’t understand what your company does or sells in the first second, you’ve already lost them. And this is especially true of visitors coming from the business sector. According to some studies, around 46% of visitors will hit the back button immediately if they don’t understand at a glance what it is that you do.
Besides having your products and/or services in plain view and easy to decode, it also doesn’t hurt if you prominently display testimonials, industry affiliates and awards your company has received. All these elements will build user confidence in your offer.
2. Your website should accommodate mobile platforms properly.
Most of your visitors will come from some sort of mobile platform. It is a simple fact acknowledged even by Google when they moved to a mobile-first indexing method.
Because of that, you need to make absolutely sure that your new website behaves properly on mobile platforms. And you shouldn’t skimp on quality checks either. There are a variety of mobile platforms and browsers out there, and your website should work well on most if not all of them.
One other thing: your buttons should be both finger AND mouse friendly. Meaning you need to make sure that your buttons are not only clickable when viewed on desktops, but can also be tapped by an adult’s finger when viewed on mobile.
A frequent mistake business people make when redesigning their company websites, is to use cheap developers. Yes, you might save some cash right now, but your website will not stand up against the competition, which will eventually hurt your bottom line. Take your website redesign seriously and consult an experienced developer.
3. Homepages are not supposed to take more than 3 seconds to load.
Given the current technological advances, you have no excuse to ignore 3-second-load rule. Again, most of your users will come from mobile platforms, and mobile users have the attention span of a mayfly. If they don’t get what they need in less than 3 seconds, they move on. Just like that.
During a website redesign, everybody focuses on visual and content quality, aesthetics. All that is good and well, but the main focus should be on SEO and page-speed optimization. Anybody can build a beautiful page that takes forever to load, but how many can keep it beautiful AND make it really fast?
4. The hosting provider matters. A lot!
You want to keep your current hosting provider because you are used to them and it’s more comfortable this way. But does your current hosting provider or hosting plan offer your new and improved website the speed, accessibility, security and up-time you need to successfully grow your business?
No matter how much you optimize your website’s loading speed, if you host it on a sub-par server, that’s just money out the window. You should have a serious talk with your development team about what your new website needs in terms of hosting. Then go out there and find that reliable hosting solution.
And don’t forget: your hosting provider should offer you https accessibility (also known as an SSL certificate). This is not an optional service. Just think about the fact that each year, the number of hacked websites reaches tens of millions. Take any preventive measures you can. They help keep your data safe and make you look reliable in front of your customers.
5. Readability is often overlooked. Maybe because the font size is too small…
No matter how people access your website, they need to see the information you’re presenting to them without squinting. Not even for a moment. Otherwise, like in the case of slow loading pages, they will leave and you will lose your revenue stream.
Pay special attention to the type and size of font used on your new website. Ideally, the body font size should not be smaller than 14 pixels. For easy “bulk” readability, the font should be of the Sans Serif variety. No, that is not the name of the font, but a font category. Sans Serif only means the font does not have those cutesy little pads on the letter ends.
Is your text content partitioned in easily readable chunks? Does it start with headings and include subheadings if necessary? These things help a lot when a visitor is skimming the content for quick information. It’s good practice not only because of improved user experience, but also because search engines like it. You make it easier for them to find and index your information.
6. No social media icons at the top of the website!
One of the big, but fairly common mistakes businesses do when redesigning their websites is to insert social media links at the top of the web pages, sometimes even in the navigation section.
Many visitors are avid social media consumers and, as such, are drawn to these links like moths to a flame. What do you think such a visitor clicks on when seeing your social media links right up there, so enticing, just calling out? You got it! And once they click on those buttons, they won’t return. You can’t compete with the attention-grabbing powers of social media.
Talking of shooing the user away from your website, get rid of those pesky links that open in new browser windows. Why? Because, once the visitor has gone to see what’s in the new window, they have no way of hitting the return button and come back to the original page. They will usually move on. So, don’t! Don’t use those kinds of links, except maybe on pages you want to drive the users away from.
7. The contact information has to be easily accessible.
“Duuuh!!!” you might say. But this is one of those obvious things that get frequently overlooked.
It’s good practice to put some of your contact details in the footer and have a more complete contact page or section accessible from the navigation menu. This way, you satisfy both those who want to quickly find out how to contact you and those who want more specific contact information. Win-win!
8. MUST upgrade Google Analytics code implementation.
We cannot stress enough how important this aspect is. If the Google Analytics code implementation on your website is not current and/or is poorly done, you will literally not know what’s happening with your website. Who’s visiting and from where? How can you identify problem pages or sections that almost always creep up during “live testing” (that is when your website is already online and accessible to the public)?
Your development or marketing team should help you with this part. But you must make sure that the new implementation is properly planned and executed, otherwise it will not help you at all.
Any good business needs a good website in order to have conversations with buyers and ultimately drive sales. But don’t put beauty before brains. Try to accommodate your customers’ needs as much as possible by making things run smoothly and providing easy access to information. Then focus on design and appearances. Businesses who put their customers first always win.
Need more help with your website redesign? Find out what actually makes a good website.
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