If your website has been around long enough, you will probably be tempted, at some point to change your website design. It may be because your tastes have changed. You may also have learned over time that your website design is not ideal for your purpose. This article lists some things you might want to look out for when planning a redesign of your website.
Before you start renovating your website design, you should consider the things below:
- Make Sure You Have a Good Reason for the Change
Regular visitors to your website generally don’t like huge changes to the site design, because over time, they have learnt your site’s idiosyncrasies and have figured out how to do things and go places on your website. Arbitrarily changing a site’s design on a whim may actually alienate your frequent visitors.
This is not to say that you cannot change the design just to make it look better. When you do, you should try to minimize problems for your regular visitors by putting the navigation elements of your site in the standard places. For example, things like the navigation menu bars appear either on the left column, right column, top or bottom of millions of websites around the world. Although there are no rules about where you must place these elements, putting them in the usual places mean that you make it easier for your visitors to move around your site. When you are embarking on a major site redesign, you will want to reduce the irritation of long-time users of your site’s feel when they suddenly encounter a page where many elements have moved.
So, before changing your website design, the best reason should be, to make it more user-friendly, more accessible and to make it more search-engine friendly.
- Understand and Test the Impact of the Site Design
Unless your site redesign is very minor, it’s bound to have some sort of impact on your website. The redesign can increase or decrease the traffic flow through your site. For example, people might now able to find pages previously buried in your site or perhaps they can no longer find those pages. You can monitor this through your site’s web statistics by examining the path visitors take through your site. Or the redesign can cause an increase or decrease in your sales or advertising income. Indeed, before you even redesign, you need to understand how visitors use your web page. One way to avoid major fluctuations in the fortune of your website is to test a potential redesign on only a few pages for a limited period of time and examine its impact on your statistics and income.
- Back Up Your Site Before Changing Its Design
It is very important that you keep an up-to-date backup of your existing website prior to changing its design. That way, if you find that your new design has undesirable side-effects, you can easily revert back to your old design by re-uploading your backup. For example, if you suddenly find that a large percentage of your visitors no longer go to your Order pages after your redesign, you might want to quickly re-upload your old pages while you figure out what was wrong with the new appearance or structure.
Redesigning a website is a fact of life for many web designers. Keep in mind the tips that we gave you may help you minimize the disruptions caused by redesigning your website.