Three Things to Do Before Your Next Website Design Overhaul
Every couple of years, it is common for many webmasters to take a glance at their websites, compare them to competitors and come to the conclusion that their site needs a makeover in order to remain fresh and relevant. The average blog or website consists of many widgets, modules and social media plugins that were not available mere years ago, and the rate of change in this area of technology continues to accelerate. But how can you ensure that your website redesign goes off without a hitch, and in the event that there is a hitch, how can you minimize the inconvenience? Below, we will discuss four tips that any web-master can employ to ensure a successful transition to a new design.
Know and Protect Your Content
Some pieces of content may be prerequisite to your site’s existence, while others may have served a purpose at one point but no longer drive traffic. Regardless, you will want to conduct an audit of each page and piece of content currently on your website in order to determine which ones are pinging backlinks and which ones are dead on arrival. From here, you can decide what can be cut in terms of content and simplify your design if need be. This is an important part of any redesign; occasional “pruning” can eliminate less popular content and help you achieve an overall better image with new and returning visitors.
Create a Backup
If you are using a popular content management system such as WordPress for your blog or website, then creating a backup of your current site takes only a couple of minutes. In the event the later stages of the redesign go off track and you make a fatal error, you can always restore the original version of your website and start the process again. Too many people make the mistake of tinkering with key elements of their websites without first backing up their source code, content and other valuables. If you make this mistake, you may very well jeopardize the future existence of your website.
Focus on Your Homepage
Since this is where the vast majority of your traffic will ultimately either end up or land, you will want to ensure that all of your site’s elements are incorporated via the homepage. This means ensuring that social media profile links are visible, events and other updates are neatly displayed in a sidebar, key navigation elements (access to blog, FAQs, store, etc.) are prominently displayed for pinging backlinks and your branding is featured at the top of the page for all to see. As you experiment with aesthetic elements, you will want to keep colour schemes relatively simple (no more than three colours), but the rest is entirely up to you – just remember, not all redesigns will be greeted with open arms.
The majority of problems encountered during a website’s redesign pertain to coding and proper element placement. You will want to ensure that all relevant content is preserved and any dead weight is removed during this process. With a proper backup in place, you can avoid the chances of a total site loss or irreparable damage. This will allow you to focus on the aesthetics, which will give you confidence that everything will be safe and secure.