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What to know before starting a website redesign

What to know before starting a website redesign Gabriel Shaoolian

According to a recent eMarketer study, 70 percent of U.S. internet users say that a company's website is the leading factor influencing their purchasing decisions. That being said, it's no surprise that the design of a website and its functionalities are directly linked to the levels of engagement you'll see. Statistics from several eMarketer studies highlight the items most users find important on a website. From design elements to making sure your website is free of errors, here are the top things to consider in order to achieve results from your site:

Mobile optimization

As of May 2015, 53 percent of e-commerce site traffic was coming from mobile devices. It's incredibly important that websites are mobile-friendly, or you'll likely be unable to reach a significant portion of your audience. With a growing population of mobile users, a responsive design is the best choice for most brands. This type of design ensures that your website is appearing appropriately and as it was intended to across nearly all platforms imaginable. In addition, 39.6 percent of mobile users say that websites are too difficult to navigate on mobile and that's why they don't make a purchase via smartphone.

When users are on-the-go, they need a mobile site that is designed for a small screen. Phone numbers should be clickable so that users can seamlessly be connected with a representative from your company within seconds. Forms like shipping information or billing information must be optimized for mobile users, so that typing in relevant details isn't difficult and doesn't require excessive zooming in or out. Anything that interferes with the user experience on mobile and causes a barrier for a visitor to connect with your brand will likely result in a missed opportunity to generate a sale. Don't let that happen.

Focus on content

Not only is focusing on content good for SEO efforts because it allows you to integrate relevant keywords into your site, but it also helps prove your value to users. Whether it's through blog content, or the right messaging on your homepage and landing pages, you should be giving your users as much information as possible to show them that either your products or your services are worth their time and money. More than ever users are becoming reliant on conducting their own research, and comparing products by brands. In comparison to two years ago, 38 percent of internet users conduct more product research because more and better information is available, and 36 percent do so because they want to learn more about products.

Take the time to develop valuable content related to your products or services. It's important to users, and often is what will keep the potential customer in the buyer funnel. Once you provide enough content to the user, you can utilize other marketing techniques like email or paid advertising to market to them more closely. However, content is generally what generates the initial interest in your brand, and therefore is not something you want to skip over. 

Test, test, test

Before launch, you should do an extensive amount of testing, proofreading, and general review to see what's working and what's not. Errors on your site will contribute to a loss in brand credibility. 91 percent of U.S. internet users listed "contains errors or mistakes" as their main reason for not trusting a brand's website. Practice quality assurance by going through every section of your site with a careful eye. Sometimes changing a button that was not working on one section of your site can adversely impact a different section. Pay attention to even the smallest elements to make sure it is in the best condition possible before launch. If you present your customers with a site that is poor quality, it can give the impression that your products and services aren't very good either.

If you don't have Google Analytics set up yet, you should. While this will be most helpful once your site has launched, do a thorough analysis in Google Analytics on a regular basis. Perhaps there are areas of your site that are consistently resulting in high exits. This may be a good section of your website to review once again for errors in content, functionality, or imagery, etc.

Simple navigation

Design aesthetics are important for websites, however, functionality and usability is even more valuable. 91 percent of U.S. B2B buyers said that search and navigation tools are the most important feature for a vendor's website to have. The navigation on your website must be simple to use, and should mirror the pathway that you want to encourage users to travel through on your website. You can't completely control the order that users navigate your website in, but implementing some reasoning behind the direction of your navigation can help you control it to the best of your ability.

If your website's navigation is difficult to use or confusing for visitors they're going to leave your site in favor of something better. Focus on clarity and what will make sense in the mind of your audience. While some things may be second nature to you and your employees, it may not be as obvious from the perspective of a new visitor. When designing your navigation, the ultimate goal should be to create a tool that will almost be second nature to your customers. For example, consider what's known as a "hamburger" menu, which is a common symbol for navigation in the world of website design. The three-lined icon typically resonates with users quite well and is widely recognized.

Preparing for your next website redesign

All in all, designing a new website needs proper planning so that you can determine the best approach to accomplish your objectives. Identifying what functionalities, features, and capabilities are essential for your brand, as well as looking at data throughout the decision-making process, should help shape the outline for your design plan.

Gabriel Shaoolian is the CEO and founder of Blue Fountain Media.

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Gabriel Shaoolian is the CEO and founder of Blue Fountain Media, a NYC-based digital agency focused on generating qualified leads, increasing sales and expanding brand recognition for clients online. He is an entrepreneurial leader with a passion...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: John Mark

2016, June 15

Great article,
Mobile optimization,Content,Test and navigation.
very essential information.