15 Smart First Steps For An Effective Website Overhaul

Several factors can make a business’ website less effective than it might be, from cumbersome navigation to slow loading times, poor mobile performance and missing information. While a bad user interface or user experience may be the most troublesome problems, even a visual design that’s unappealing or doesn’t mesh well with your branding can be off-putting to your current and potential customers and make your website seem unprofessional.

If traffic to your site is declining or you’re not seeing as many conversions as you’d like, it’s a sure bet that your website needs an overhaul. But any such project must start with diagnosing the significant underlying issues. To ensure your new website meets your users’ needs and expectations and sets your business on the path to reaching its goals, review the strategies suggested below by the experts of Forbes Technology Council

1. Quantify The Business Impact

The first step in treating bad Web design—or any bad design—is roughly quantifying what the impact is to the business. Is it a problem worth solving, or worth solving right away? The effort may entail hiring a new Web design firm or UX designer or just launching a new project with internal resources, but you need to know what the cost of doing nothing is before you decide to do something about it. – David Glazer, Kroll

2. Take A Look At The Analytics

Start to address problems when someone complains. This might be prospects or customers, but it is often your own sales team, because your website is your shop window. Further, monitor the analytics on your site to see drop-off rates, conversions and length of visitor sessions. The first step on the right path is to engage a good UX consultant to drive a redesign; don’t be fooled into thinking that you know what your customers want. – Murray Foxcroft, ProArch

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3. Start With A Comprehensive Audit

Start with a comprehensive audit, which should involve both UI/UX experts and SEO specialists. They know how to engage the target audience, improve the UX, and retain site visitors and turn them into customers. A sign that you need changes is when users are leaving the website within a few seconds of loading the page or when they’re simply not seeing it due to low rankings in search engine results. – Evgeniy Altynpara, Cleveroad

4. Focus On Conversions

The time to fix your company’s poorly designed website was yesterday; the next best time is now. Your website is a 24/7 digital salesperson, and this realization should create an urgency to fix it. To get started on the right road, remember that conversion is what matters. Having a fancy-looking UI might make you feel good, but it may not get you business. Get your ideal customer profile nailed down, and build a conversion-centric website. – Kartik Agarwal, Technosip

5. Bring In Design Experts

Sometimes a poor website design is the result of a key stakeholder who doesn’t have the skills or experience to understand and create good Web design being in control of the design. In this case, it’s critical to hire a design professional and then step aside and trust them to execute your vision properly. – Dave Hecker, iTechArt Group

6. Map Out User Scenarios

Mapping out both current and future user scenarios is key to enhancing Web design. Identifying best practices within your industry is also helpful. Finally, testing the design with actual users during each stage of development helps eliminate poor navigation, bad colors and fonts, and illogical click-throughs. – Susan Lang, XIL Health, LLC

7. Ask Users For Their Feedback

Apply design thinking to solve poorly designed websites. Begin with empathizing with your users. Conduct surveys and ask for feedback to understand what your users want, and use that information to define the current site’s problems. Adopt a user-centric approach when building a prototype for a possible solution, and then conduct pilot testing to get additional feedback. Evaluate and adjust the prototype based on that feedback to refine the final website design. – Zheng Fan, University of Miami Herbert Business School

8. Take A Look At Competitors’ Sites

Competitive analysis is an extremely important step in understanding both what your competitors are doing correctly and exposing gaps that create a growth opportunity for you and your organization. By identifying and borrowing what’s working for another organization, you can quickly get your website back on track and ready to deliver your unique solution or service to your audience. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

9. Prioritize The Most Important Pages

Prioritizing the development of redesigned pages is an essential step. Looking at user journeys, identify the key pages on your website. Focusing on UI design changes is very important; redesign pages for an optimal user experience. Conducting user interviews and surveys and leveraging A/B testing can help in refining the UI design and improving it iteratively. – Bhagvan Kommadi, ValueMomentum

10. Work To Simplify The Site

There’s an adage that good engineers add code; great engineers subtract code. The trash is the most important tool in eliminating distractions and useless features on any website. Instead of chasing shiny objects, double down on the site’s strengths and key features, and make it as simple and easy to use as possible. If it’s difficult to navigate on your site internally, it’s impossible externally. – Noah Mitsuhashi, noahmitsuhashi.io

11. Find A Model You’d Like To Follow

If you have a poorly designed website, the first thing to do is find a website that you like. The first thing a developer will ask you is what you want, and most clients don’t know the answer. The first step is to find two or three different designs that you like and list exactly what you like about them—the flow, color scheme, user experience and so on. This way, you will have a direction to move forward with development. – Richard Kahn, Anura Solutions, LLC

12. Ensure A Mobile-Friendly Design

Lack of mobile responsiveness is a clear sign that a website is badly designed. As the number of users accessing websites via smartphones continues to increase, it is important to ensure that your website’s design can flexibly adjust to fit each device’s screen size. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see whether your website design is mobile-friendly. – Roman Taranov, Ruby Labs

13. Develop Brand Guidelines

Recognize what got you into the state you are in and set up some guidelines to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Build brand guidelines that outline colors, shapes, fonts, iconography, and voice and tone. All creative team members should be encouraged to judge their work against these guidelines. And establish mandatory design tests that work in the same way you would test code: If you created the design, you can’t push it live without running it past a second set of eyes. – Andrew Siemer, Inventive

14. Work Backward From Goals For The User

You have to understand the problem you are trying to solve and know what your main goal is for the user. Set one or two goals for the user and work backward from there. This step is often overlooked; teams jump right to the design but skip the question, “What does success look like?” Answer this question first, and your website redesign will get started on the right track. – Richard McLain, INE

15. Leverage Insights From The Whole Team

Companies should start by looking at their website holistically and gathering all possible data about customer interactions with the site. During this process, leaders must steer clear of siloed data divided by channels and departments. Siloing prevents organizations from recognizing trends and opportunities and stifles the team’s ability to identify what makes their site “bad” from a customer perspective. – Yaron Morgenstern, Glassbox