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Things to Consider Before You Redesign Your Website

Jan 19

Written by:
1/19/2011 11:17 AM  RssIcon

Redesigning a website can be a very involved process, but just like anything, thought and planning before the process begins, will pay off in a smoother transition.   Here is a quick look at some points to consider before diving into the redesign process.
Goal of the Redesign

What exactly do you hope to accomplish with your redesign? It’s always important to have a clear understanding of your reasons and motivations for redesigning or upgrading your website, since they will impact the decisions that you make along the way. Without these goals the project will lack direction and you will likely end up with a website that still doesn’t meet your needs.

Minor Upgrade or Complete Overhaul?

A website redesign could be anything from a minor facelift to an entirely new site. Obviously the time, effort, and cost involved will vary, but first you should determine what types of changes are required for you to meet your goals with the design. If a complete redesign is done, you will also want to consider to what extent the new design should resemble the old design and whether to include interactive features. If visitors are returning to the site, chances are you will want them to notice the new design without feeling like they’ve gone to the wrong website.  This is where your company branding comes into play, i.e. your logo, mission statement, etc.

What’s Effective on Current Site

Most likely there are some functions of your current design that perform very well and these are aspects that you would like to retain and incorporate into the new design. It’s a good idea to make a simple list of your likes and dislikes to assist you in designing your goals for the new design.

What’s Not Effective on the Current Site

Building on the previous point, if you are redesigning the site you are bound to want to alleviate some specific aspects of your site that aren’t performing well for you.  Again, this is where your list of likes and dislikes will greatly support your goals for your website overhaul.

Steer Visitors to Your Site

During any design process you never want to lose focus of your website’s target audience. By knowing who you are targeting and how you can meet their needs, you will be on your way to building an effective website. What style of design are your users going to like and what will work best for them?


Improving the functionality and usability of a website is always a positive aspect. It’s pointless to spend time and money on a redesign that looks great, but simply isn’t easy for your site visitors to operate and navigate.


Most likely your website includes some form of a logo or branding. Are these items still up-to-date and will they work effectively with a new design? If your logo is out-of-date and not attractive, a new design may not do much good if it is still using the same old logo.

Color Scheme

If your site is already well-branded, it’s not a good idea to completely change the color scheme since you want the site to look familiar to returning visitors.  Often it’s a good idea to make minor changes to the color scheme, such as changing shades of colors or adding a few new colors, just to give the site a fresh look.

Front and Center

Every design is going to draw attention to certain parts of the page in one way or another. By knowing what you want to emphasize allows you to have more control of what gets attention from visitors.  Pages with lots of Flash elements (movement), direct your site visitors’ eyes all over the page, where they may not “get” what your business is all about or what you have to offer.


Navigation is one of the most critical elements of any site. If a significant amount of content and/or pages have been added to the site, since the last design, it is possible that the site’s navigation is no longer effective.  It’s important to actually think through your visitor’s experience, on the site, to ensure that the navigation will be easy and consistent. 

Meeting Visitors’ Needs

Meeting the needs of visitors is important to the success of any website. Will visitors be coming to the site looking for information? If so, make it easy to find the information and make it a prominent part of the design. Will they be coming to the site to find products? Will they be coming for some other reason? Anticipate what your visitors will want and do your best to give it to them with little to no effort on their part.

Increase User Interaction

The most successful websites have the ability to get visitors involved in one way or another. Most of our club sites require members of the club to log into the site, which allows them access to secure areas of the site, whereas ordinary visitors do not have this capability.  Blogs are also great for stimulating user interaction because they allow for comments and discussion. Other possibilities are forums, games, user-generated content, polls, quizzes, etc. By making the website more engaging to visitors you are more likely to get a higher number of repeat visitors.


You need to consider who will be perforning routine maintenance and updates? If multiple people will be using the website, it’s important that everyone is very clear about their responsibilities for the site and that they are in agreement as to how the website looks.  We provide extensive training and manuals so that everyone involved with the site administration is properly trained.


Keywords should be used in titles, headers, anchor text, alt tags, etc. Designing a website without knowing what words and phrases you are targeting means that you are most likely targeting none, at least not effectively. Don’t simply consider the search terms that are being targeted on your current site, but ensure that you have selected the most effective terms to exemplify your club or business, then verify that the content of the site reflects these terms.

What will make visitors want to come back?

This is perhaps the most important point to consider.  You’ve probably thought about how the new design can make a strong first impression, but what is it about the website that will assure recurring visitors?

When we talk to clubs and businesses about a site redesign we often hear, “We know we need to update our site.”  I know I sound like a squeaky wheel on this, but the Web is a powerful tool that is accessible to millions and millions of people all over the world.  When you have a web presence that is not effective, or looks out-dated, or is just plain ugly, what does this say about you, your business or your club?  With some thoughtful consideration about your re-design, the process will go smoother and you’ll have an end web presence that you’ll be proud of and one that accomplishes everything that you need to assure your club or business great success. 

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