Website Redesign: Best Practices And Checklist For A Successful Revamp

There could be multiple reasons for a company to look at website redesign. From undergoing a merger, or acquisition, new leadership, change in business line or change in technology to incorporating digital transformation at your company. It is a big decision as all levels of management are involved and whatever you do would be seen by your customers and public at large. Therefore, there are important considerations to be made before you decide to go ahead with a website a revamp or redesign project as such.

When to redesign your website?

On an average, companies redesign their websites every three years. It costs you money, a lot of time and teamwork, agency involvement (probably) and media outreach to let people know about new website launch. Before you move ahead, it is important to know the reasons behind a website redesign.

Few basic questions you may want to address:
1. Do we really need a new website?
2. Can I upgrade basic content and design with my existing website?
3. Even I we launch a new website; will that be futureproof?
4. What will happen to my SEO and all content marketing efforts?
5. How much do I need to spend?

Once you have these answers, budgets and clarity to go ahead. It is worth looking at Best practices and checklist for a website redesign as below. I will also try to add relevant references and articles worth exploring under each step while you read.

Learn More:

  1. How Much Should a Website Cost You? A Definitive Pricing Guide For You
  2. How to Avoid SEO Disaster During a Website Redesign

Best Practices for website redesign

Think User experience and Wireframe prototypes

Consumers should be your sole focus while thinking of wireframes and protypes. Websites are made to sell or to gain customers basis your business interests. Most of the users stay for less than 15 seconds. When you start fresh and develop prototypes or wireframes, Try limiting clicks or navigation steps towards the desired call to action you want your customers to take. For example, if you just sell shoes online, your home page should show shoes being sold online, or at least a user should be able to buy a shoe in 2 to 3 clicks at max on your website.

Learn More:

Marketing and Competitive intelligence

On the positive side of things, we must always learn from competition. It is worth exploring all recent website redesign projects (at least last 6 months) among your competitors, influencers and even your customers for that matter. They must have gone though similar challenges and learnings. Talk to your peers in other industries and gain insights. Looking at what they did best could provide a lot of ideas to improve your website redesign project.

Conversion Focussed

Effective websites drive conversions and fulfill business goals and interests. It is very important to know desired call to action you want your customers to take on your website. If you are selling shoes online, your conversion goal would be to drive a sale online.
If you imagine a conversion funnel as given below, your goal should be to be as close as possible to the bottom of the funnel.

Email Marketing embedded

Email marketing is the most organic channel you would ever user for all outreach and push marketing programs. It is good to have all your forms built right from your marketing automation system and they should have smooth integration with your website platform or Content Management System.

Having multiple forms or types is a strict no no, with GDPR in place and many such regulations coming in, it is even more necessary to have centralized way to monitor all form submissions across your website. You may also want to avoid lead capture forms if you already have a marketing automation tool purchased.

Example: If you are using WordPress for CMS you may want to integrate suitable marketing automation tools such as Mailchimp (free), or Constant Contact for marketing automation.

Explore Marketing Automation Tools

  1. Constant Contact – 60-day free trial
  2. Aweber – 30-day free trial

Social Media Integration

The importance of Social media is well known. You must ensure a seamless integration of social media platforms across your website. It means employing Twitter Cards, share friendly buttons with sharable content on your website and including social media channels which deemed fit for your business.

A blog may require shareable buttons on top, bottom and/or left-hand side bar on your website for instance, like the one you find on this blog.

Learn More:

Security Features

Security is of utmost importance when you redesign a website. You may want to work closely with IT department of your company as they know this subject better. A company wide firewall, strict adherence to IT and security policies is just a beginning to secure your website. Choosing a secure Infrastructure to host your website, employing security systems with SSL encryption with regular malware scanning and daily backups for instance are few more ways to ensure website security.

Learn More:

Machine Learning and Digital Experiences for Web redesign

Machine learning is touching lives and marketing is no different story. I have had some interesting initial discussions with Optimizely and SiteCore, few companies which aim to provide unique digital experiences including content randomization for different users on your website. It is all about taking the website redesign to a all new different level. It can be a bit costly affair, but it is worth exploring if you happen to have good budgets and ambitious goals.

Explore More:

  1. Optimizely
  2. Sitecore
  3. Adobe Experience Manager

Future Proof

Its all about trying to be future proof. Nothing (in reality) is future proof though! Being closest to latest technology, website features and functionality. Right mix of integration with marketing automation, Content management system, CRM or customer relationship management software, light and fast coding with optimized loading of website are few ways to get this right. It is equally important for all your web data to be well-integrated. Consider integrating all your google products for better insights, google analytics, google ads, google webmaster integration for instance.

Good reads on Future proofing a website redesign:

What Makes Future Proof Web Design?
How To Future-Proof Your Website

Standardized approach to brand: Web Content, Landing Pages and Call to actions

The most important consideration for a marketer during website redesign. It begins with strategizing your website content and sitemap architecture.

  • How to organize content?
  • Your website language and tone should be product, solution or services centric?
  • Where to place my demos?
  • What colors to choose for web page, content and buttons text?

It is also a good practice to have standard approach to all your landing pages. All these need careful consideration and planning as marketing closely works with leadership and IT in such redesign projects.

Learn More:

Optimized web Content (solution/product/services centric) -SEO

A content which ranks should be the focus of your website. Being SEO friendly needs to be planned right when you start developing the very first piece of content towards the website revamp. Including cross links inside your web pages, including outbound links to the pages you refer within your web content and adopting a off-page optimization strategy is needed here.

Read More:

Show and tell – Omni channel Content

Omni channel content is the way forward for content marketing. It is important to use visuals, images, embedded videos within your content at appropriate places. The mix of all these content types could vary basis your consumers or business interests. An eBook business must show cover page of the eBook, likewise, a mobile design company must show more visuals and angles of the mobile design, a B2B IT company must show use cases solving complex business problems for instance.

CDN/Content Delivery network

In simple terms, a content delivery network or CDN is a group of geographically placed servers that provide fast delivery of the content over internet. Incorporating a CDN is a common practice today and helps in serving content faster when users access your website from different geographic locations across the globe.

Know More:

  1. WordPress CDN – Why You Should Be Using One in 2019
  2. What Is a CDN?

Integrate Chatbots

According to Business Insider, 80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020.
Human beings cannot work always and that’s where chatbots play an important role. You must always include a chatbot for personalized web interactions backed by real technical support and salespeople as needed. In all probability, your conversation would be higher with them than without them.

Learn More:

Consider In house options and agencies Outside

Website redesign is a complex project and it involves multiple teams and decision makers. Unless you have all skillsets available internally it is worth looking out and working with web design agencies. They bring in fresh perspective and cross industry references which cannot be found internally. Having said that not all agencies are great. You may want to consider references of past projects and evaluate capabilities before you even decide to work with an agency as such.

Quick Pro tip: Cost is the last thing you should look at 😊

Learn More:

Limit Gating of your website Content

I did cover this topic in marketing trends blog earlier. Gating a piece of content is good but it should not get overwhelming for your customers. It is a good practice to offer high level thought leadership articles or collaterals for free. Enabling the asset behind a form submission should be a mix in your overall content strategy and should only be done when it brings in some value with relevance for your customers. Please remember, gating sounds salesy, your company needs to be very careful in quality of asset being gated.
Remember last time you submitted a form to download and wished you could have avoided sharing your details? 😊

A lot of leading companies are doing this mistake everyday, probably, to fulfill their short time sales goals.
That’s what I meant by Value!

Website Redesign Checklist

website redesign checklist

SEO Friendly Website:

• Clickable logo
• User-friendly sitemap
• Content organized by categories across your website
• Cross links between relevant web pages of your website
• provide outbound links to articles outside your website.
• Utilize header tags across your website with mix of H1, H2, H3 and H4
• Include meta tags and descriptions
• Keep Page title within 60 characters
• Use visuals, videos and images as mix.
• Clear and simple Call to actions

Read More:

Mobile Responsive

• Mobile responsive containers across website
• User testing for each page across mobile, desktops and tablets before a webpage goes live

Explore More:

CMS enabled with defined roles.

• Limited access to Content Management System
• Define user roles and limit levels of access. For example, Admin, Contributor, Editor
• Ensure a database backup is enabled with IT

Tracking enabled

• Enable Conversion tracking basis the tools you have in your company. For example, basic scripts you may want to add include Google analytics, Google Ads, Marketing automation tool script, WooCommerce scripts and so on.
• Utilize existing scripts and reuse to retain data loss after website redesign

SSL Encryption

Include SSL encryption with a certificate for your domain URL. It is an important SEO factor as well.
Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates as well.

Explore More:

What is an SSL certificate
Get Free SSL
How to Install SSL Certificate on Your WordPress Site

Fast loading

Ensure that your website loads quickly and runs well once loaded. It also implies smooth loading of images, infinite scroll, rendering and loading all scripts on your website.

This has got more to do with your web development team or agency as appointed.
Google does provide guidelines to do so.

Explore More:

Privacy Policy an GDPR checklists

It is very important to have a detailed privacy policy including compliance to privacy standards such as GDPR at easily accessible places on your website.

Read More:

On Site search and voice search

Voice search Is growing, and it has immense potential. A Search box at top navigation is must have. It is all better when you have voice search enabled on your website, it also helps in speech recognition.

Read More:

Hosting enabled with backups.

It is best to have a good hosting provider and automated daily backups of complete website. You can always go back a day’s backup if anything goes wrong with your website.

Explore More:

Post Content SEO Checks

Once your website content is ready and development is somewhat completed, it is important to validate and correct SEO mistakes if any before you go live.

Learn More:

The Bottom Line

In my marketing experience, I did about 4 website redesign projects and it was a great learning every time I launched a new website. When I look back now, I could always think of better ways to improve them all. The simplest reasons being technology has changed and it was difficult to futureproof a website as such. You must aim for being current with technology, your functional and content requirements, and as futuristic as possible. That way your website redesign cycles will be a lot shorter. While website redesigns are inevitable, it is best to add some personality to it. It could be as simple as a color standing out or a “button/Call to action” nobody else could think of, a surprise element with a pop up for your customers or best creative approach to a regulation like GDPR on your website, Opportunities are plenty. Remember (and I love this quote), “leaders don’t do different things, they do things differently”.

I hope you find this blog useful. Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Did you come across any new best practices or checklist that I couldn’t think of, please let me know your thoughts or feedback in the comments section as below.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

FastComet Hosting Review The Best Web Hosting beyond Bluehost, Hostgator & GoDaddy

I launched my website in 2016 with FastComet shared web hosting plan and it has been over 2 years that have been using them. When I started, I tried Bluehost services for a while but was not completely satisfied with the same and thus decided to explore an alternative web hosting service beyond the well-known once, of course, in the search for the best value for my money. Reasons for choosing FastComet hosting over others are explained in my detailed review further.

FastComet Hosting Review

FastComet has been in the web hosting business for about 9 years now unlike established and popular hosting brands such as Bluehost, HostGator, and GoDaddy etc. Bluehost was founded in 1996 while HostGator in 2002, both originally belong to the same parent group by name “Endurance International Group, Inc. (EIG)”. On the other hand, GoDaddy was founded in 1997. All of these are popular brands today and so are their hosting services.

Due to brand popularity, they also enjoy leading market shares. Here is a snapshot of trends in the usage of web hosting since January 2016.

historical trend - usage of web hosting providers

FastComet a 7-year-old brand, launched their public cloud hosting service in late 2013, they are probably the fastest growing today, primarily, because of the hosting product mix they provide to users. Serving about 11,500 + customers from 70 countries, Their SSD Cloud Hosting solution is one of the most accessible and affordable on the Web Hosting Marked powered by a rocket-fast 24/7 support team.

Why FastComet for Web Hosting

FastComet Features

 

Lifelong Free domain

Yes, you heard it right, FastComet provides one domain name for free without any need for a renewal. They bear all such costs, as a proof, you should also receive an invoice for domain registration with $ 0 as invoice value. This is must utilize feature if you are a startup, a new business or a website, remember to justify your domain ownership within 15 days as per new ICANN rules applicable from January 1, 2014.

However, if you decide to move away with FastComet web hosting, you may want to renew your domain in advance to be on the safer side.

FastComet Pricing and Plans

The transparency factor here is that there are no hidden charges, in fact, renewal prices are the same as you would have bought the hosting package for the first time. That too without any legal obligations and 45 days money back guarantee. I have used the first one below for over 2 years and with monthly payments by my credit card.

FastComet Web Hosting Plans

Shared Hosting Plans

Decide your server location

You can choose from 7 data center locations as per the screenshot below, this can also be changed as per your convenience later. I opted for Frankfurt considering this being almost center of the earth for initial 2 years and moved to Chicago servers in North America, this year. The service support was extremely fast and satisfactory.

server locations

 

Monthly Payment Options

This is a very rare feature which I could not find with any other reliable web hosting provider. Most of the leading players will bundle hosting for a year or so, with the cost per year discounted if you opt for increased number of years. Clearly, they are wanting only long-term customers. As mentioned earlier in this post, since I was using Bluehost for some time, upon deciding to move out from their services and asking for a refund, they offered me monthly payments options from an existing yearly renewal. I had already made my mind, so I decided to take up FastComet rather.

FastComet provides as less as $2.95 /month Starter Plan with the same renewal price, the catch here, however, is that if you opt for the monthly payment (possible from a Visa Card) you will need to pay an upfront first month set up charges of $19.95 approx.

FastComet Speed & Reliability

Usual loading speed of websites hosted on FastComet is better than the competition as below.

FastComet site speed

Here are results of my website speed test for your easy reference: Performance-grade scores 81 (screenshot is dated – 22 May 2016)

Sitetest results

Website Up-time

Website Uptime

FastComet Interface & Security

cPanel Interface

A clean interface providing one-click installation for all essential apps such as WordPress, b2evolution, complete site backup in single click, unlimited emails and bandwidth, basic SEO tutorials and much more to gain from. You also have unlimited emails to configure as needed.

CPanel interface

Security features

  • SSD-only storage: This belongs to latest class of storage devices, all websites, by default are hosted on Solid State Drive and not traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD) same is not the case with most of the hosting providers today, HDD is the way they host till date and SSDs  are usually a premium priced feature.
  • Free CDN: All hosting plans at FastComet include free Cloudflare CDN by default. This too is premium feature charged by others separately. I use Cloudflare CDN which has been a very good experience.
  • Hack-free: All packages also include web app firewalls for preventing 99% of the known security threats.
  • Account Isolation: It is completely isolated but not limited dedicated environment for every hosting account.

Customer Support

Customer Support

Faster Response Time: >= 10 min of response time for all tickets.

Hosting Support: Full support for all hosting series, this includes email, FTP, website transfer, and setup.

Open Source Support: Support for more than 150 Open Source applications including installation, configuration, and transfer.

The unique features from FastComet also Includes:

Comparison with other service Providers

Hostgator Vs Fastcomet Comparison

hostgator vs fastcomet

GoDaddy vs FastComet Comparison

GoDaddy vs fastcomet

Bluehost vs FastComet Comparison

bluehost vs fastcomet

Inmotion vs FastComet Comparison

inmotion vs fastcomet

Arvixe vs FastComet Comparison

arvixe vs fastcomet

Cons of Using FastComet

I have highlighted the positive aspects of this hosting provider as above, it will  be fair to highlight the common issues I have come across while using FastComet services over the last 2 years.

1) If you have opted for Shared hosting, be careful with number of processes/scripts you are running as it limits the server and quite often your website services could go down. Here is a snapshot of the similar issue I came across recently. This is true for most of the shared hosting packages out there though!

Quick pro tip: Try always using CDN with a shared hosting as it will free up your bandwidth and limit number of processes running on the server. Notice the triangles with exclamation marks below.

too many processes on fastcomet servers

2) Emails are a big pain: They work excellent from the cpanel or client panel login in FastComet dashboards. Whenever you try to use them over any outlook, email app or mobile email client, they just don’t work, having said that, adding the host name/server configurations manually for IMAP or POP email have helped me overcome these difficulties. I don’t think it Is user-friendly though!

Conclusion

With lifetime free domain (which usually costs $10+ an year) , SSD drives, Free Cloudflare CDN, cPanel without extra bucks, and mobile-friendly interface at $2.95/month with real monthly payment options and 45 days money back guarantee, it’s deal you should run for. The service support is excellent and very proactive. They are open to provide support for ht access files, rewrite redirections and so on at no extra cost. I would recommend them for people looking at basic shared hosting plans with unmetered traffic and excellent customer support, much like any other shared hosting provider. Once you have a significant traffic coming in to your website you may consider moving on to a cloud VPS, managed hosting or dedicated servers’ basis your business and bandwidth needs. Shared web hosting is good to taste waters and move ahead as you grow. I just moved by website to a managed shared hosting plan with Kinsta in 2019.

Learn More about both website hosting providers I have used:

  1. Explore Kinsta Hosting
  2. Explore FastComet Hosting

FastComet Hosting

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Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

Steps To Change Address Bar Color On Mobile Browser

Have you noticed that most popular websites like Hubspot, BBC and Facebook are providing their own brand colours for the address bar in mobile browsers? Yes, you are right, it can be customized now to suit the brand color of your choice. If you are looking for creating a similar unique colored experience for your website visitors, you are at the right place. In this blog, I will talk about 3 simple steps to change address bar color for your website visitors on the mobile browser, this is specifically true for andriod mobile browsers. Please do note that currently, it works only for Google Chrome on Android devices using Lollipop or newer versions only.

Step 1:  Identify right hex colour code for your brand?

Few of you might already be aware of your brand color’s hex code, for those who do not, please revisit your logo, I used a very simple tool called “HTML Color Codes” all you need to do is upload jpeg of your logo and it will identify right hex code for you, copy it and keep this handy for future reference and usage. Here is the Link to use this tool. Apart from this, you could also use any image editing software like Adobe Photoshop, Paint, etc. to identify hex code for your brand’s logo.

Step 2: Add this code

Inside your theme or child theme‘s header.php file just before the closing </head> tag.

<meta name=”theme-color” content=”#DB4453″ />

*Hex code here, of course, is my brand color, you will need to change this as explained in step 1 above with your logo color.

Step 3:  That’s it, Final result

Your website should now appear with your brand color on Google Chrome browser or any other browser on andriod devices. here is how my website appears now.

While there are mutiple ways to do this, I explained the 3 simplest steps to achieve this by just adding a small code in your header (HTML)

Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Let me know if it worked for you as well.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

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