Rebuilding your website can be both an exciting and terrifying experience (we know this first-hand having redesigned our own in the last 12 months!). You can let your creativity free when finding a new look for your website but if you’re constantly asking yourself “will it work?” you might have missed a few crucial stages before even getting to the design.
Based on our experience designing our own websites and working with other people’s designs, we believe this is the best way to redesign your website to ensure it helps you achieve your business objectives.
1. Identify who your target audience is
You need to be clear on who your target audience is before starting the website design as this can inform everything from the colour scheme to the layout of a page e.g. a younger more tech-savvy audience may be looking for busy pages with lots of features where as an older audience could be after something much more simple.
Make sure you’ve identified key characteristics about your audience such as age, gender or profession as well as what it is your business has to offer them that sets you apart from the competition. You can use our downloadable strategy worksheet to get started.
2. Know what you want to say
This rarely happens but having your content clearly mapped out makes it easier for your team to design a website that fits your business rather than trying to make your business fit a website design.
Having your content (and your Calls-To-Action) prepared helps your designer structure your pages in a way that naturally works for your user and for SEO. You’ll also find that your website will be more useful to your audience as everything you want to say will be clearly presented rather than surrounded by extra waffle you’ve created simply to fill the design.
TIP: Use your content to highlight the benefits for your audience and what they’ll get out of your services or products.
3. Have a journey for your users
Having a clear user journey or actions you want them to take will enable your designer to create a site structure that naturally takes users on that route and include functions that help them complete actions more easily. These will closely align with your business objectives e.g. if your goal is to achieve more newsletter subscribers, the designer can incorporate a sign up form that is integrated into the site pages rather than simply added to your footer.
To truly get the most suitable website design for your business you should only start to design your website after the previous steps have been completed. Most designers will start with a wireframe or mock-up to ensure what they’re planning aligns with your vision. There will likely be a little back and forth as the design progresses but this can be significantly reduced by properly planning your user journey, identifying your target audience and creating your content before the design starts.
Imagery should be the final thing you focus on – remember that this can be altered at any time so you don’t want to slow down the design process by worrying about a placeholder image. By this point you will have finalised your layout for specific pieces of content which will make it much easier for you to source images to fill your site.
Where possible you should create your own images as these will be unique to your brand however you can use stock imagery if you don’t have anything of your own that suits. All of your imagery should be high quality and relevant to your brand. Think about the tone and style of the imagery you use and try to remain consistent across your site – are all of your images dark and gritty? Light and humorous? While some contrast can help your content stand out, too little consistency will make your website feel messy and confusing to users.
Redesigning a website can help you achieve your business objectives as long as you take the time to evaluate exactly what you need out of the new design before you start.
For help designing a website that fits your budget and delivers real returns, get in touch with our team to arrange a chat.