“I hate my website. I need to redesign… again.”
How often do you find yourself on your website, wondering why yet another redesign has left you deeply unsatisfied?
“I just redesigned and I already hate it.”
Clients will come to me with tales of woe (more often than I’d like) that have them pining from lost months and reparations for overstretched budgets. The end result? Fear, resentment, and an itchy Google finger.
It’s that sticky comparison game: you find sites that you love and wonder, “Why can’t I have that site? Why am I always redesigning and it never, ever works?”
You (and your site) deserve better. I’m going to give you the tools to take what you’ve got — your brand, your visuals, and your website’s structure — and help it truly reflect who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
And, if you’re dying for more juicy info on refining your website, I’m holding a free training call next week — Tuesday, September 11 at 11AM PT / 2PM ET. To get the deets, just make sure you sign-up at the bottom of this post.
Redefine. Realign. Refine.
Before I determine if a site really needs an overhaul, I put it through the RRRinger. I ask myself (and my clients, if need be):
- Does this site effectively communicate who this person/business is, what they do, and why they do it?
- Can the existing visuals be brought into harmony once the site has defined, measurable parameters?
- Will editing the space (cleaning up the sidebar, refining the home page, tweaking typography, etc.) yield the best results?
Getting clear on goals, re-aligning visual elements, and refining the existing space is a much more efficient use of your most precious commodity: you.
Redesigning your site every six to twelve months is a waste of your time and your money. (There, I said it.) Without a solid plan to facilitate your new design, you’ll end up with the same thing over and over again — it’ll be something you thought you wanted (or someone told you that this is the Best Practice for your industry) but still doesn’t manage to reflect you in any way.
Who are your people? Why should they give a damn about anything that you put on your site? Why should they buy from you and not that dude over there?
Design is one-part science, one-part intuition, and one-part psychology. You, as a biznez owner and digital entrepreneur, need to be concerned with the latter: the psychology. If you don’t care who your people are, they sure as sugar aren’t going to care about you.
(Re)Define who your people are. I’m not talking about putting together stodgy demographics (although useful, they’re not what we need right now). I’m talking about writing their story. Who is this person? What are their daily habits? What do they care about and why? How do they spend their money?
Things like that.
Naomi Niles, veteran web designer and conversion specialist, gave me this advice when putting together the strategy for a site:
“What do you want people to do first when they land on your site?”
(That’s why Naomi is my not-so-secret design mentor. She’s the Mr. Miyagi of Design. But with boobs.)
“Buy stuff” is not a valid response. “Purchase a copy of my latest eBook”, on the other hand, is. Redefine how you want people to interact with your online space. You’ve gotta be the shepherd on this one: lead your flock to the best grazing on your site or they may just turn into lemmings and jump off the cliff to watch YouTube videos instead.
With your goals and your people in mind, you can bring the visuals into harmony. If you’re a brilliant, sassypants chick with more flair and style than she knows what do with — and you’re using muted pastels and wishy-washy typography — then there’s definitely something out of alignment for you and your space.
Realign your visuals to better communicate who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
One of the best ways to do that is with colour. Realigning your palette to attract your people (and make you feel awesome when you look at your site) is far more manageable than going back to the drawing board. Starting from scratch over and over again really, REALLY sucks.
I’ll admit it right now, guys. My apartment can get completely out of control with clutter. I mean, I’ve got a toddler. He makes messes. Mama sometimes cleans it up (and sometimes leaves it to the gnomes… I mean, husband… to make it better).
It’s no different for your website. Have you noticed how easy it is to let things go around your online space?
Ah, I don’t need to worry about that broken link. No one cares. (Trust me. Someone does.)
But all the things on my sidebar are important! (Sadly, no. In fact, your sidebar is getting kinda fat. Might want to watch that badge intake.)
I don’t really need to worry about colours, do I? I mean, does red really clash with this buttercup yellow? (Yes, yes it does. Also, it’s hurting my eyes.)
Refining your online space is a lot like cleaning up the clutter around the apartment.
“Do I really need to have all those badges kicking around? I don’t know. Maybe?”
Figure out what’s really, really important to you on your site. Remember to keep in mind your goals and your people. What do you want them to do? How do you want them to interact with your site? Do you really think that they’re going to want to scroll all the way through those badges, just to get at the juicy “New Here” information?