The digital world is one that is constantly changing, tweaking, improving, enhancing, adapting…you name it. Your website should be no exception. If you want to keep your audience engaged and your content desirable, you’ll have to stay on top of your game and make sure you’re in-the-know about the latest trends. If your site remains the same for too long and isn’t updated with exciting new content every once in a while, you risk appearing stale and irrelevant. This straightforward guide will explain how to update your website easily and efficiently:
Keep It Simple
Before you embark on a full-out website redesign (a hefty project which could take more time than you think), consider whether a few simple adjustments could help bring your site to the next level. Knowing how to design a website is one thing, but keeping it constantly up-to-date is quite another. And if you’re not sure whether your website is in need of a few changes or updates, ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, or if they got you thinking about your site, a little website update may be at hand.
Review your current content and design
Check your website’s data
Evaluate your competitors’ websites
Add powerful multimedia elements
Align your design to current trends
Perform simple A/B testing
Optimize your SEO
First up in your website update: give your current site a thorough evaluation. At this point, you’re not creating any new content but simply investigating what works well and what doesn’t. This way, you’ll be able to make a clear list of all the details that need tweaking. Visual content: Check the quality and relevance of your visual assets, such as images and videos. Identify anything that looks blurry, pixelated or generally outdated. You may come across images that are no longer relevant or aren’t aligned with your current brand identity. In these instances, you won’t necessarily have to delete the images altogether. Rather, you could use online media editing tools to bring them to life. Also, take note of your website’s loading speed. Old video files may be overly heavy, negatively impacting your site’s user experience. Written content: As well as looking at your site’s visuals, scan through the written website content too. Look for any broken links, as well as missing or incorrect information. For example, you may have old blog posts that no longer serve a purpose, or mission statements that don’t quite speak your brand’s language. Perhaps you could give more details on a certain product or service you’re selling, or reword the text on your call-to-action buttons to generate more clicks.
As well as thoroughly surveying your website from the front end (the part of your website that visitors see), it’s also worth looking into your own analytics. This will help you understand your audience’s behavior and how you can tailor your site to better fit their needs. Integrating tracking tools and analytics will enable you to monitor your site’s traffic. You’ll be able to check important information, such as which pages are the most popular, how much time visitors spend on each page and what your bounce rates are (meaning, how many visitors left your site without interacting with it at all). Once you understand your customers’ behavior a little better, take it a step further by analyzing why they may act the way they do. If many visitors are leaving a certain page of your site without engaging with it at all, consider what is different about that page. Does it have more text than others? Does it take longer to load? Insights such as these will help you come up with more informed decisions when updating your website.
While you’re busy working away on your website update, don’t forget to check what your competitors are up to by conducting some market research. After browsing through a few of their websites, compare your findings to your own site. Consider whether you may be missing any crucial information, pages or content. Or perhaps you came across a nice idea or two that you could adopt and implement in order to help boost your site. Take your evaluation one step further by looking into your competition’s data. This will give you the chance to compare your site’s traffic to others, using specific metrics that you can pick. Don’t worry if this sounds daunting – there are useful tools dedicated to just that. For example:
SimilarWeb lets you enter yours or your competitor’s domain name into the search bar. It then comes up with a full report of traffic estimates, in a fairly simple to understand interface.
SEMRush is a highly recommended SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tool that provides you with details on any website’s traffic, whether organic or paid.
Now is the time to take a good look around and get to know your market better than ever. Search for inspiration by browsing website design examples from both your own and other industries that catch your eye. Open up your search for inspiration to alternative resources, such as design museums or graphic design magazines. Perhaps you’ll also come across something that sparks your creativity from other fields altogether, such as a color palette you noticed in a boutique window display, or a poster for a concert. Once you’ve scoured the online and offline worlds for inspiration, it’s time to apply your findings to your website update. However, try not to get carried away with changing too many details. After all, you’re just looking for little touches you can make to elevate your site.
You could have the most fascinating and high-quality content on your website, but if it doesn’t look the part – it simply won’t work. Research shows that when it comes to web design, first impressions matter. Even if your site visitors have trouble finding the information they’re looking for, if they find your website visually appealing, they’ll tend to be more engaged. A good place to start is by checking whether your website is in line with the core principles of design. In addition, integrating striking visual elements into your site will help create a memorable design that will set you apart from your competition and instantly engage your audience. Consider how you can update, edit or add new media features to your website, including everything from videos, to sound, images, animations and more. Fortunately, you’re not building your website from scratch, so there’s no need to create all of this new content from square one. If you can’t currently afford the time and money required for a full photoshoot, there are plenty of alternatives. Instead, look through your website to see if there are any existing images that could do with a little sprucing up.
If you want to add a dynamic feel to your website, transform your videos or still images into professional promotional videos with an online video editor. Add text, music and special effects to create engaging content that will draw in your audience.
Gaining a deep understanding of current web design trends can be tricky if you haven’t been keeping yourself consistently in-the-know. That doesn’t mean you have to be a professional website designer. However, as a website owner, you should be keeping your eyes open to ensure you stay sharp and relevant. Regularly check your competitors’ websites to see what they’re up to. You’ll be able to track and identify any changes or updates on their sites, such as a more prominent use of video, the addition of relevant pages and more. Another way of staying updated is by reading magazines and blog posts on web design trends, like this one. You should also invest time in browsing social networks that are specifically design-oriented. This way, you’ll be able to gain a solid grasp of what’s going on in the overall world of graphic design, and possibly apply certain elements to your own website.
Once you’ve made a few changes on your updated website, it’s a good idea to test it using A/B testing. This form of testing involves creating two versions of your website and running a test on both of them to collect stats on traffic and user engagement. It will help you base your decisions on real data, and make changes to your site accordingly. For example, you can experiment with two different CTAs to see which one entices users to click on it more. Or, replace a photo slideshow with a full screen video on one of your web pages. Then, you can test out the two variants and see which one performs better.
Last, but certainly not least, remember that you want your target audience to easily find you on search engines like Google. You may have already worked towards improving your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in the past, but it’s definitely worth reviewing it as you’re revamping your website. You’ll have new images for which you should write alt text, plus additional pages that will require optimize URLs. A good place to start is by conducting keyword research. Keywords are two-to-five-word phrases that your potential customers would type into search engines when looking for a business like yours.