Yesterday we started a short series of tips about redesigning your website.  If you missed part one please click here.  We present the second instalment below.

Graphic Design Considerations

Determine what the look and feel of your new website needs to be.  What style is most likely to reflect what your business is all about and appeal to your target audience?  Consider the style and quantity of graphics, the content layout, background and font colours, and even font styles – all of these have an impact and should be tailored to match your niche and target market.

Use professional website design services such as those available from WSI IMS and take into account any technical issues including the best web platform for your new website. “Flash” can look great and give your visitor an impression of interaction.  However it can take much more time to load a Flash page than an HTML page and websites that rely heavily on Flash are a complete ‘no no’ from a search engine optimisation point of view. Similarly Java Script menus can make a website look convenient and pretty, but the content generated by scripts cannot be read properly by the search engines’ robots, which is again bad news from an SEO perspective..

Cross-browser rendering – if, as you should, you have web analytics on  your website, check the browser statistics for your visitors and watch the overall global trends in browser usage.  Internet Explorer is still the dominant browser but both Firefox and Google Chrome are making inroads into the Microsoft monopoly.  More and more people are now accessing the internet from their ‘Smartphone’ so you need to make sure that your new website is compatible with as many of these browsers as possible.

Site usability and structure

After you have studied the output of your website analytics and have a full understanding of which pages and content sections of your old website need most attention you will be able to plan what changes are needed. You will find an excellent checklist including 25 usability considerations  here. These considerations will help you make your site accessible, compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and most importantly easy-to-use.

Website Content

A website redesign provides a great opportunity for you to review website content and check if it needs to be updated or if any new product or service needs to be added. Things to consider include:

  • Is all the information you want to communicate included?  If not, add it.
  • Can your visitors find important information on your website quickly?  Make it easier for them to find using the website navigation links.
  • If you would like to ‘engage’ with your target audience more and encourage them to communicate with you, add social elements to your website;  add a blog or poll voting plug-in, organise competitions, add Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn buttons and add an RSS subscription button. Make it easy for people talk to each other! This way they will be more likely to visit your site more often.
  • If your website is used to sell goods online and you are seeing a high level of ‘bail-outs’ ( lack of conversions), you should consider a redesign of the main Landing Pages in the website and add more conversion elements to those pages.
  • Review the existing website images and their  ALT tags – are they still appropriate or do they need to be refreshed / replaced?  Both your visitors and the search engines love to see new content.

Tomorrow we will publish the third and final instalment of this post covering the Search Engine Optimisation of your new website and the key pre-launch checks.  Please visit us again tomorrow, leave a comment below or visit WSI IMS – WSI Digital Marketing in  Surrey, Sussex, Kent & the South East of England

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