We all know how important a website is for any brand. Most of the time, it’s a potential customer’s first source of impression. Even for someone who already knows you, a website may make or break their future engagement with your products or services. So it comes as no surprise that developing a new website or redesigning an existing one is a complex process.
We’ve compiled a list of key things to consider when kicking off the project for your new web, including identifying what’s missing on your current website, defining user personas, applying trends and deciding between templates or from scratch.
What you are probably missing on your current website
If you’ve decided that you need a new website, chances are you are probably missing something on your current one. Some of the most common room for improvement has to do with layout, usability and visuals (typography, multimedia).
Does your current website accurately represent your work and vision?
This mainly has to do with design and visuals. Whether it’s images or fonts, think about how they reflect your brand’s vision. If you highlight innovation as a characteristic of your work, but your graphic expression appears outdated, this can produce confusion in users.
Or maybe you point out the top quality of your work, but the images on your web have bad quality and are pixelated. Such discrepancies can harm a brand’s reputation and turn away potential customers. This is why it is essential for every visual detail on your website to be curated and in line with your brand’s message.
User Experience (UX)
Ask someone external to your brand to do a quick overview of your website and tell you whether it was easy for them to (i) identify what you do at a glance, (ii) find information about your company, services and team, (iii) contact you.
This will give you a notion of how easy (or not) it is for any given user to navigate your website, or in other words – what’s your website’s level of usability. It’s a good way to learn what to avoid or focus on in the layout of your future website.
Nowadays, most people use their mobile phones to navigate the web. Companies of all types and sizes are adjusting to this behaviour and enhancing mobile versions to meet the demand for a smooth, interactive and intuitive user experience right off the smartphone screen.
Not to mention the quality of a mobile version affects your SEO performance (check out our article Basic Search Engine Optimization Tips if you want to learn more about SEO).
All of this makes a fast and functional mobile version of your website an absolute necessity. Responsive web design is your best friend, so if you don’t already have one or there are any bugs to fix, this should definitely be a priority.
Tracking tools can give you great insight into your users – who they are, what they’re looking for, what interests them. This can help you tailor not only your website, but also your content, products and services in general.
Google Analytics is the most popular choice and for a reason. It provides you with a broad range of data and insights, as well as personalised reports, while also being relatively easy to use (check out our piece Diferencias entre Google Analytics 4 y Universal Analytics to learn more about the newest version of Analytics)). Don’t miss out on all the valuable information and make sure your new website is integrated with Google Analytics.
In the rapidly changing online environment, new opportunities emerge almost all the time. You may find some of them suit your business purposes, others not so much. In any case, think about your business development and communication plans. Are you planning on expanding your activity? Maybe adopt new communication channels?
If you expect any changes in the near future, think about how your website will need to reflect them. If you don’t already have them, it may be worth considering new website sections like Blog/Insights/Publications. They can showcase your content marketing, which in turn is one of the most effective ways to generate new leads. In this sense, don’t forget about a Newsletter form – you’ll collect more leads and assure a wider diffusion of your content.
Other features to consider, especially in view of increasing the engagement rate of your website and respectively, improving your SEO, are contact forms, comment sections, chat bots, and anything else that allows for users to directly interact with you.
A website serves to showcase your brand, products or services. Therefore, it has to appeal to the external audiences that you aim to attract. In this sense, the most important thing to consider when putting together a new website is your user personas.
Defining them should be one the first steps in the development of the website. Although this task is generally carried out by website experts themselves, your own insight can be very useful in specifying the features of your user personas.
If you already use Analytics, it is definitely a good idea to look into your audience data – demographics, operating system, interests, behaviour and any other indicator you may have, will surely contribute to better defining the users of your future website and, respectively, tailor it to their needs and preferences.
Trends in website development
While trends come and go and shouldn’t be followed blindly without considering the specifics of each brand, they still play a big role in the development of a website.
Scrollytelling, horizontal scrolling, gradients, neon colors, multilayers, typography hero images (large images with statement typography, often placed at the top of a webpage) and nostalgia have been dominating the website scene in the past year or so.
If adapted correctly, these and other trends can give your new website a modern look and immersive feel, while blending seamlessly with your brand identity. You may want to look at actual examples and browse for inspiration, as most designers will probably ask you whether you have any reference websites.
From scratch or template
Last but not least comes a frequently asked question – from scratch or template? Your new website can be either coded from zero, or based on already existing templates, which are then customized and built upon to achieve a personalized result (check out Ventajas y Desventajas del Uso de WordPress if you’d like to learn more about the most popular template-based platform).
We have pros and cons for both ways, but our ultimate advice is that templates work for pretty much everyone. You can’t even imagine how many of the websites you stumble upon daily are built on templates. So don’t get scared by the word “template” – you can achieve a fantastic and perfectly tailored website even without coding from scratch.