Is your website running on autopilot? Does it need a tune-up?

Your website is the online expression of your business and everything your brand stands for.  Left unattended for too long, your website may look dated and out of touch. But don’t just blindly follow trends.

Before redesigning your website, consider your reasons.

Take a step back and study your website. Is it working out for you as it stands? A functional website should be easy to navigate. It should generate traffic. And it should bring in clients.

Draw up a rubric for evaluating your current website, or for your redesign if need be. Consider your company’s objectives and set corresponding website goals that would satisfy these objectives. Read on for our suggested considerations before redesigning your website.

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1. Establish your expectations for your business website.

Figure out the real reasons you’re considering a website redesign. Have you been looking at the same website for too long? Sometimes there’s a technical reason: maybe your site lacks functionality. Or it needs to be optimized for searchability. Your website should present your company to the world in the best possible light.

Is your website an accurate expression of your brand? Your corporate values?

What, exactly, would you like your website to do?

Outline your expectations for your business website redesign in concrete, quantifiable, and attainable terms.

2. Specify your objectives.

Now that you’ve set your objectives, determine what changes you want to see from the redesign. Outline any new functions you want your redesigned website to have. Establish a financial plan and decide on hiring a web designer or working with an internal design team. Make sure you are satisfied with your current hosting solution. Consider all these points before you decide how to redesign your website.

3. Determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Take a critical look at everything on your current website and evaluate its functionality.  You might spot technical issues (pages are difficult to navigate) or design issues (your home page is dated). Identify features of the website that are working out well for your business. Next, identify those features that generally work, but could use a tweak.

Finally, note those features that must be changed. Record all the issues that you’ve identified in a list. Now that you know exactly what you want, you can embark on the redesign.

4. Consider updating your website features.

Remember to consider additional features that may be expected from an updated website in your industry. Make sure your website may be viewed from any browser. Consider whether you want it formatted for mobile devices. Will your new website require additional services it doesn’t currently offer? Decide on what you want your new website to do before redesigning your old website.

5. Analyze user behavior.

Are you using analytics software? Are you tracking your customers’ behavior on your website? Now is the time to pull up your website data and recognize any issues. Are users coming to your website but not buying your product or calling? Consider introducing new plug-ins and improvements in your redesign to address conversion rate.

6. Unveil your new website strategically.

Consider launching your redesigned website during a high-traffic time (think semi-annual sale, or mid-December). Be strategic about your launch date. But be sure to introduce any major rebranding before the big day.

7. Make sure your redesign doesn’t discourage returning users.

Your redesign should not remove old and familiar content. It is OK to updated it, but if visitors are returning to use a feature make sure they can still find it after your website redesign. For example, if you had a calculator that returning visitors use make sure that is has the same URL or forwarded to the old URL.

And of course, if you change any links, make sure your returning users are automatically redirected to the new page.