Every few years there comes that point where your website needs an upgrade. Any longer than that and you’re falling behind the demands of modern users. Which is bad news unless you’re happy with falling conversion rates and poor performance in general.
The problem with many design refreshes is they don’t really address the key issues. A visual overhaul will give your business a fresh face but you’ll soon be craving another rework once the looks wear thin.
So today we’re looking at five key areas to improve your website in your next redesign. Get these issues sorted and you won’t be paying up for another design overhaul any time soon.
#1: Page speed
Page speed has always been important but the demands become tougher to meet every year. Users don’t want to wait, it’s as simple as that. And they don’t need to anymore, because there are faster options out there if you can’t keep up.
We’ve said before that technologies like AMP and Facebook Instant Articles are making users even more impatient. So, if your site was even remotely slow last year, it will be painful today.
The fastest pages out there today are loading in under a second – that’s the pace we need to match.
Mobile performance – responsive isn’t enough
We’ve been talking about mobile for half a decade now and the majority of websites still don’t take it seriously. We’ve fallen into a lazy trap where responsive websites are considered mobile friendly. Google even gives a small ranking boost to any website that vaguely attempts mobile optimization.
Yet, when you actually land on one of these sites the result is often underwhelming. First of all, you get that wait because most sites are still painfully slow. If you’re lucky, you get a responsive that crumbles into a single column. If you’re not so lucky, you get dodgy scrolling, illegible text, useless hover functions or any combination of UX blunders.
What we need to do is take a mobile-first approach with our redesigns. Sure, it’s one of many buzz terms floating around, but this one actually makes perfect sense. Mobile comes with all the restrictions but also the largest userbase – so let’s start from there and build our way up.
Forms are a pain for everything – it sucks designing them and it’s even worse for the poor souls who end up using them. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. You can reduce friction on your site and increase conversions a great deal by rethinking your approach to forms.
The best thing you can do is ask for the absolute minimum amount of information possible. Take this approach with the first form users need to fill out for each conversion. If you can get away with it – just ask for their email address. The less you ask, the more hits you’ll get (generally speaking). You can always ask for more information in the follow up emails.
Go for simplicity in design, too. Make your forms easy to fill out and do everything you can to ensure users are successful the first time. Nobody likes filling out forms, let alone doing it twice or more.
#4: Page content
It’s amazing how much page content still gets neglected in web design. This is what draws users from one part of your website to the next and guides them through the buying process. Content shouldn’t be an afterthought; it should be a priority.
Web content is about more than individual pages, though. Your aim is to create a network of information that encourages people to move in the right direction, closer to converting. So content starts with information architecture: understanding what people need to know, in which order – and how to leave them wanting more at every stop.
This means the whole structure of your website, it’s navigation and the purchase paths you create all revolve around content. And that’s at a conceptual level before you’ve written a single word.
#5: Split testing
If you really want to get the best out of your next redesign, get busy running split tests now. Design theory is great but it only gives you guidelines. Pretty good guidelines, in most cases, but nowhere near as useful as data from your own users.
Forms are a great place to start with split tests and smaller chunks of content are easy to experiment with (especially calls to action).
If you fix major issues like loading times and mobile optimization, split tests are the best way to improve the finer details. You may even get to a point where you don’t need anymore expensive redesigns. You could be making all the necessary changes in small increments, as they’re required.
If you need any more information on web design or other points we’ve touched on today, don’t hesitate to contact our team today!