I often hear older webmasters reminisce about how well this or that domain used to do. But often, when you look at the site, you realize that no one has worked on it for a long time. So what do you need? Right, a re-design!
A new coat of paint can usher in new glory days for older domains/websites. Only recently, the Google responsive wave swept across the web, dragging many old sites to the bottom of the sea. Since the G update didn’t seem to have too much of an effect at first, people tended to discount “Mobilegeddon” as an exaggeration. Now, several months later, we know that there is no getting around these criteria. So let’s seize this opportunity to dust off our old sites.
But then I’m gonna have to remodel the entire site“ is an oft-heard complaint in such situations. But, hey, there is always an easy way for people who don’t want to sacrifice too much time for a re-design – and that’s adaptive design! Unlike responsive designs that offer “seamless” adaptation down to the last pixel of resolution, adaptive designs “jump” to rigid grids for any resolution. this way, old, rigid sites can be adapted to mobile and tablet screens without much effort. If you want to polish up your site on a deeper level, i.e. if you want to do a real re-launch, there are several things you might want to think about beforehand. Basically, the rule is: If the site doesn’t get traffic anymore, i can do anything i want. In such cases, my advice is to do a complete re-launch, starting from scratch. make it responsive, in the sense of “mobile first”. But if the site generates traffic, if it is still active, maybe even more than just a little, you should approach the re-design process carefully.
The classic scenario: You love the new design, immediately initiate the re-launch, send out a newsletter, but then disaster strikes: The users don’t like the new design, you start losing visitors right away.
Why is that?
Well, man is a creature of habit, also on the internet. People frequenting a website are used to a certain look, structure, and menu, they know where they can find what they are looking for and how they get there. If you change the whole design, maybe even the structure of the site, the users have to find their bearings all over again. And being creatures of habit, they don’t like that. They’d rather go to a similar site they are familiar with. in such cases, the new design has to lure in at least as many users as you’ve lost to qualify as a success.
Do you remember the last Amazon re-launch? No? Or do you? Truth is, there never was one. Still, Amazon has constantly developed throughout the years, little step by little step, all of which had also been tested beforehand. The last “big change” was the navigation re-design a few years ago.
Implementing a new design one step at a time, you also get continuous and more meaningful test results that can directly affect the ongoing re-design process. If something doesn’t have the desired effect, you can change it right away in the next step. So if you go about your re-launch carefully, you can eliminate the possibility of losing lots of regular users at once. Rather, you can increase your user base and optimize your conversion rate.
One tool that is very helpful during this process is heatmap tracking as offered by Tracking-Partner.com. It keeps you informed about user behavior, and thanks to heat and eye tracking maps, you get valuable, visualized data about user movement on your site. For more information click here