Redesigning a Website: What to Know
As part of launching Lumine Group, we spent the last few months developing a new website. We started from scratch, excited to develop a new website that would tell the Lumine story.
Over the past few months, two Lumine Group businesses have also redesigned their websites – Lifecycle Software and Collab.
In Lumine nature, we’ve all taken some time to reflect on our projects to gather some learnings and best practices. Look below to discover what we learned about project management, website design, and user experience.
Before anything, identify your goals and key metrics.
What do you want your website to achieve? Identify your goals, and then determine what metrics matter most to getting you there. Plan your design from there.
This metric became our north star in the design process. For us, one key metric we knew we wanted to improve was time spent on site. This is a measure of exactly what it sounds like –- how long a user spends on your website. The longer a user spends on the website, to us, means that the content we are developing is engaging. The user wants to keep reading and learn more about us.
This impacted how we thought about the website structure and encouraged us to be hyper-focused on user experience to encourage continuous reading and exploring.
What does this mean? We did everything we could to make sure clicking through the website was a seamless experience.
How can you do this?
- Optimize links in the site map in the footer
- Include internal links throughout the website where relevant
- Design certain pages to help the reader find more information like they are currently viewing
- Imagine yourself in the reader’s shoes and navigate from page to page.
Example 1: Our homepage includes several links as you scroll down, and then at the bottom (shown below) we provide several options for where a user can go to continue exploring and learning more about Lumine.
Project management tip: set frequent touch points with all key players
Development, design, copywriting, and digital marketing. Everyone’s roles impact each other. The more you communicate as a group, you can keep ahead of any potential concerns. This way, you aren’t only connecting when there are issues – instead, you’re proactively communicating to stay ahead.
Connecting frequently also allows you to build morale with your colleagues and project partners throughout the process. Staying optimistic with a positive attitude is critical in big projects like a website redesign. When everyone has a chance to express their needs, they will feel heard and supported, and everything will work more harmoniously.
Even if they are 10-minute touch bases twice a week, ensure you are connecting with your project players to ensure you are keeping on track with the project plan, and have the opportunity to build team morale.
Lifecycle Software Ltd. (www.lifecycle-software.com)
Two weeks ago, Lifecycle Software Ltd. launched a new website. Their goals were to refresh the existing design to feel more modern and to optimize navigation to improve the overall user experience, and better cater to prospective customers.
See below for Lifecycle’s website redesign tips.
Copy is key –– make sure to assign the right owners
Be absolutely clear on who is producing the copy—from who is writing at each stage of the drafts, to who is responsible for optimizing for SEO. Also, ensure you are clear in what you expect to see in each draft. Over-communication of expectations will leave less room for surprises or errors in the planning process.
When reviewing agency quotes: don’t forget about stock images
Many agencies do not include the cost of images in their quotes, so you need to understand what these costs could be (getting a range is useful). Make sure you include these costs in your own budget. Some images will have an annual cost, so this is not always a one-off cost.
Consider analytics integration tools
Ensure your website works for you, and that it links with an application that can show you information about who is viewing your website, their journey, and which pages they visit.
Enlist proof-reading volunteers for extra eyes
Do not underestimate the amount of work you will need to do yourselves to ensure you get your messages defined and it is good to have a range of volunteers internally to help with the final proofreading. We asked volunteers from across the business to help us review and test all pages, on different devices, and created a database of all changes. This provided some missed typos (even though we had checked, and checked and checked again!), problems with formatting on different devices, and issues with links that we had not found. This should form an essential part of the sign-off process!
Collab’s website redesign goals were to achieve faster loading times, improve responsiveness, develop a more engaging news & blog page, and to modernize the design for a refreshed look and feel.
See below for Collab’s tips for pre-design planning, responsiveness, content, and optimizations.
Define the structure and goals
The first and very important step is the organization of the website structure. A good way is to start by thinking about the menu structure, the key topics, establishing the hierarchy of information. It’s also important to define what you wish to improve. Elements like speed, responsiveness, and lead generating are some of the main ones to ensure a better online presence.
Attractive and Modern Design
Opt for a clean look that showcases your advantages at a glance. Enrich it with some animations and compelling, modern designs. Elements like color, font, spacing and style must be tailored to your brand identity. Use them throughout all pages to express design cohesion and clearness. The Homepage should clearly state what company it represents and what the visitor will learn. Create large catchy banners for the top of each page to deliver the key content about that webpage (this type of banner is called “hero banner”).
Video marketing is the key to greater connections. Easier to understand a complex message through a video than reading. It increases engagement, adds personality to your brand, showcase your products better than any other medium, and boosts retention, awareness, and leads. Demo Videos, Brand Videos, Event Videos, Expert Interviews, how-tos and tutorials, video case studies are some of the examples of the contents you can leverage.
At the design level, it is also important to understand how we want the user to visit our website. We want the users to interact with our website and to take them quickly to the answers they are looking for. Use buttons like “Read more”, “Subscribe” or “Join us” to direct users. Elements that trigger the “click”, for example, mouseover interactions, are relevant to keep the user engaged. The goal is to create a site that strategically influences user flow and decisions.
Use best practices to ensure a fully responsive website, so that it can be seen on any screen resolution, be it desktop, tablet, mobile. Consider new screens that people have, especially when working from home, like 4K and ultra-wide panels with large horizontal resolutions.
Review web design and SEO best practices to channel organic qualified traffic and improve your Google rankings.
- Use plugins to enhance your SEO.
- Speed is crucial. If a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, over a quarter of users will click away. Check your performance on a website analyzer.
- Search which keywords are relevant in your industry and include them in your pages and articles.
- Promote link-building, having your website linked on other trustable websites will enhance your digital presence and move you up on search engines.
- Insert a clear call to action (CTAs) buttons and forms on all pages. Ex: ask for a demo, free trial, contact us, I want to learn more…
- Turn yourself more approachable and easier to contact by having a chatbot to serve and engage with your visitors.
- Insert social media channels icons on your footer – choose the ones your audience may use most.
Enrich your website with a blog or articles section to post novelties about your products, show your corporate culture, and attract new prospects. Typify your buyer’s personas and line up what kind of content is appropriated for them. Content must be relevant, valuable, and engaging. Ask for the involvement of your company to create articles and content. Ultimately everyone should be able to contribute with an article and create dynamism on the website. If you can’t create content frequently, avoid displaying the post date so it doesn’t seem out of date.
A page with job opportunities facilitates the hiring process (candidates submit their resumes and we can even direct the area to which they are applying to be directed to the right department) and makes a good impression on customers (shows dynamism, growth, and confidence). One of the best marketing messages is “We are hiring X, Y, Z profiles.”
Test before launch… and before lunch!
Send your website link to colleagues in the company and to some external people, to test and collect feedback. This way you can find bugs and make improvements before putting it into production and bring the best experience to our user.
Also, take a good night’s sleep and look at the website again early morning… surely some last-minute bugs will pop out.