When doing a website redesign, there’s a lot to consider and there are many people who want to be involved when it does happen. Designers want to talk about building a better user experecen. Developers want to upgrade technology for mobile and tablet Internet use. Your SEO team wants to keep as many of your rankings intact as possible.
Yet there are other important content questions to consider before revamping your website. Here are some important questions to consider when doing your site redesign.
Although this seems like such a simple question, depending on the age and size of your site, you truly may not know.
Not knowing what you already have may result in accidentally losing valuable assets during the redesign process, wasting dollars creating duplicate ones or missing an opportunity to build on something your audience has shown to like. Use this time to take stock of what you have by beginning the content auditing process to your current assets, including web pages, blog posts, articles, ebooks, videos, case studies, etc.
Once you know what you have, look for holes.
Make note of this. Maybe you’ll want to incorporate it during the redesign process, and maybe you won’t. But put it on the list for consideration.
Like most companies, your website redesign includes a “content refresh” or an update of the existing content on your site. It includes adding pages, updating pages and even killing pages that aren’t offering you or your customers value. But how do you know what those pages are? Don’t guess, dig into your analytics and find out.
Don’t create new content without understanding what’s already working and what’s not in order to make informed decisions about where your time is best spent. Implement content that will entice and engage your audience in what you have to offer.
Before you redesign your site, you should have a clear understanding of how visitors are navigating your current site, where messaging is working and where calls to actions are being wasted. Once again, analytics data can help you identify spots where your current site is doing well and where’s it’s missing the mark. Use it to look for areas to make improvements, whether removing an obstacle, updating a call to action or providing insight into how customers are using your website.
The same way we want to identify what’s working, we also want to know what’s not. Looking at your internal search logs allow you to eavesdrop on your customer, seeing what they’re searching for, in their very own words. Are they looking for a certain product you don’t currently offer? Or, maybe you do offer the product, but based on search volume, you find it may warrant its own page or category on your site to increase visibility. Or perhaps the searches highlight a problem with your navigational structure that should be addressed or the naming convention you’re using.
Take a step back and ask yourself: what is the goal of my website? Is the content presented guiding visitors toward the desired outcome? Does it support what the site is trying to accomplish?
This could be a messaging question, but it could also be a structural one. Look at your site architecture and how you’re funneling people through your site — is it logical or are users getting lost in the process? Is the information presented in the proper order, serving the right user? Analyze your user flow to see how many clicks or steps it’s taking your visitors to get where they need to go. A visitor shouldn’t have to make more than three clicks to get to an important content page.
Also, look at the elements of your main navigation. Do they give the right summary of what your website is about?
You can use analytics and heatmapping software to help you identify how your customers are navigating your site, but you can also seek out the insight of someone unfamiliar with your site. Give them a goal and see what steps they take to accomplish it. Leave them on your site and ask them to tell you what the site is about, its purpose and what it is asking of visitors.
By reviewing your content and defining your desired outcomes and strategies, you’ll be able to provide a lot of the information the agency would be seeking during its discovery phase. You still want to let them do their research, but supplying more information and good content ahead of time will yield a smoother, faster process, and a better end result.