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7 Questions to Ask When Planning a Website Redesign
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
As a site owner or Webmaster, at one time or another you will consider redesigning your website. Maybe it's because you are bored, maybe it's because your site is old and out of date, maybe it's because users are having difficulty finding what they are looking for on your website. Whatever the reason is, at some point in your online career, you will be looking towards a website redesign of your site.

Website redesign needs to be addressed with caution. It's not one of those things that you can just jump into and expect everything to take care of itself. If you are going to follow through with a site redesign planning is a must. Prior to planning there are a series of questions that you should ask yourself. Hence the purpose of this post.

7 Questions to Ask When Planning A Website Redesign

While there are a number of questions that you need to address, here are a few "must ask" questions when planning out your site redesign.
  1. Why do I need a redesign? It may seem simple enough, but what are threasons that you are even considering redesigning your site? Take a pen and piece of paper and write down five reasons as to why you need to redesign your site. If three or more of the reasons deal with usability, that might be a strong indication that a site redesign is probably a good idea.
  2. What are my goals for the site? You would be surprised at the number of site owners who have difficulty in answering this question. What is the reason for your site's existence? Is it to provide information? Is it e-commerce based? Is to act as a portal to other websites? Prior to planning a website redesign, you'll want to establish clear goals for your site.
  3. Do I have the proper resources needed to complete the site redesign? Depending on the type of site that you have and what the goals for your site are, a website redesign may require a great deal of time, money and resources to complete.
  4. How much time will it take to complete a site redesign? Planning a proper website redesign takes time in itself. A site redesign is something that you do not want to rush. You must dot all of the "i's" and cross all of the "t's" if you want to have a successful redesign. If you are coming up to your peak sales season, you're probably not going to want to launch a new site that may confuse buyers. On the other hand , once you've completed your research and have factored in everything that needs to be addressed with your redesign, you will have a better idea of the ideal timing for the launch of your new site.
  5. How will a site redesign affect my search engine rankings? Anytime you redesign your website, you run the risk of having your search engine rankings plummet. Improper use of redirects, failure to include content that is currently ranking over to the new site can have a dramatic impact on your search engine rankings. Not all companies have the sponsored budget to "buy" rankings in the search engines. Loss of organic rankings can be extremely difficult to get back. You should weigh the options of losing existing rankings through a new site redesign vs. keeping the same site and adding new features to it vs. creating a micro site to support your main site. Consider items such as site architecture, URL structure, page optimization, linking inventories and site interlinking. Drastic changes to any of these items will have an impact on your search engine rankings.
  6. Ask yourself, what's good about your existing site? What areas need improvement? Many times, Webmasters and designers have it in their heads that their site needs to be flashy and needs to feature all of the latest web design trends. Well the fact of the matter is, these sites traditionally do poorly in the search engine rankings and more importantly do not provide the best user experience. How many times have you become frustrated with a flashy homepage that makes use of Flash with a large number of images that takes forever to load the page? After the page loads, you have no idea about how to find the information that you were looking for in the first place. Or the page just takes forever to load.... Your old site may have had perfectly good navigation and now the user cannot even find a link to your sitemap. Prior to planning your redeign, jot down the positive points about your site and identify the areas that need improvement.
  7. How will my visitors react to a new site? This is probably one of the most important questions that you can ask prior to planning a website redesign. Website usability should be one of the key areas of focus as you plan your redesign. Take the time to find out what your audience appreciate about the existing site. Ask them what their experience was like. Leading up to your website redesign, provide a feedback mechanism to allow your site users to comment about their site experience. Test your proposed site and test again. Planing your site redesign right the first time will save you from having to do another one in a matter on months. You site should be designed for a strong user experience that will help you achieve the goals that you have set out for your site.

Taking your time to plan out the redesign will save you time, money and resources in the long run. Asking yourself these seven questions prior to planning your website redesign will only make your redesign all that much better.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, April 02, 2008  
1 Comments:
  • At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What would you suggest should be in a Redesign post-launch survey? What type of questions?

     
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