Tips for redesigning your website
If you’ve been living with a mediocre website that doesn’t reflect your brand for far too long, we understand your pain – we have too!
It may sound a little strange that a company like FULLER – with an in-house design, digital and content team at our fingertips – would have trouble updating our own website, but the truth is, when it comes to agency the client always comes first.
It’s the classic “plumber with a leaking tap” analogy.
Fortunately, we had a moment of self-reflection and decided it was high time we started practicing what we we’re preaching.
So, in-between print deadlines, website redesigns, video shoots and content campaigns for our clients we’ve been squirrelling away at creating a brand new FULLER website that truly reflects our brand.
Our website redesign was touched by just about every member of the FULLER team and is based on the brief of “simplicity and elegance”, with key considerations given to user experience, engaging content, page loading speed and SEO.
The process involved a significant amount of collaboration and negotiation, and we learnt a lot about ourselves, our processes, and our clients’ needs along the way.
Here are some of the lessons we learnt, which may help you to prepare for your own website redesign…
Do your research
Before jumping into wire framing, take a step back and consider your visitor behaviour and content preferences. What do visitors really want from your site? And what questions will they want answered when arriving on the site?
A review of your Google analytics will tell you the pages people linger on, what the most popular content is on your site, and what pages people bounce off. Plan to have more of what visitors want and make it as easy as possible for them to get to it.
If you want to go one step further, a simple Google survey of your customers or stakeholders will tell you immediately what is most important to them, in terms of content and functionality. You can then allow that to inform the design and content of your site.
When building our own website, we surveyed key stakeholders, which revealed that the three most important things to people when visiting websites are:
- Ease of use
- Engaging content
- Fast page loading speed; and easy to use on mobile (of equal importance)
We also asked what was most important for our stakeholders when visiting the FULLER website, the results were:
- Engaging content
- Informative case studies
- Easy to find information
When you begin the process of designing a website for your own business it’s worth considering these factors and taking the time to better understand your audience.
Set goals and expectations
Like any marketing tool, you need your website to achieve a business goal to provide an effective return on investment and to measure its success.
At the beginning of your project, gather the key decision makers and practitioners who will be involved in the build (developers, designers, writers) and be clear about the website’s purpose.
A website that needs to reinforce your brand and carry a clear message about your organisation is very different from a website that needs to make you money, or a certain number of leads each month.
Make sure you invite all the relevant parties (both in-house and externally if you are using an agency) to a kick-off meeting, and set clear expectations for effective collaboration for the duration of the project.
It’s never too early to start content
Content is often the stumbling block that pushes out the go live date because it tends to be left to the last minute and not given the attention it deserves.
Our website survey revealed that engaging content is the second most important thing to visitors when on a site. It is the thing that will keep your visitors on your site for longer, and keep them coming back. Producing content that is on brand, relevant, SEO friendly, and useful to the visitor takes time.
As soon as you have your site map and wire framing signed off, get started on planning content for each page of the site.
Make a list of existing content that can be migrated across, pages that need to be edited and pages that need to be completely rewritten. Make sure you consider where video and images can be featured on each page and start scheduling photo and video shoots as required.
You may want to update your team photography, get photos of your office space or products, or feature a short video that introduces your company to visitors.
All of this content creation takes time to plan and execute, so the sooner you get cracking the better. Put everything into a timeline and aim to have content signed off by the time your content management system is ready to go.
Consider mobile first
We’re living in a hand-held world, so make sure your considerations for mobile optimisation aren’t an after-thought.
We are all consumers of websites on mobile and are all familiar with the functional frustrations felt when experiencing a site that hasn’t been optimised for mobile.
But don’t just take our word for it, Google’s latest statistics show just how important it is to think about mobile when designing a website:
- 95% of users will turn to their smartphone for immediate information or advice.
- 94% of all mobile searches are performed on Google.
- 50% of users will bounce from a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
- Consumers expect the same experience on mobile as they do on desktop, and as they do in person – there is no online/ offline/ mobile/ desktop – simply “living”.
Source: Google internal data
Our key take-aways for mobile optimisation are:
- Make mobile a consideration at the outset of the project rather than retrofitting at the end of the process.
- Simplify mobile design as much as possible to consider the user experience and their time restraints – less is more.
- If necessary, write two sets of copy for desktop and mobile to ensure mobile text is as minimal as possible.
- Consider the functional limitations of mobile. For example, hover states that add a bit of wow to your desktop version won’t translate on mobile.
- Consider flipping the design process – what can you apply from the mobile design to the desktop? Designing for mobile first may mean that you don’t spend time on superfluous functionality that will have no place in your responsive design.
At the end of the day, like any marketing tool, designing a website all comes back to your audience, their reason for visiting your site, and your website’s overall goal.
Keeping these things in mind will make the decision-making and negotiations throughout the website development process much easier, and will hopefully deliver a website that provides return on investment.
So, have a browse and let us know what you think of our fresh new (no more leaks) website! If you have any feedback please email our Agency Manager, Olivia Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org