To Redesign or Not To Redesign?

28 Apr 2011, 2 min read.

The moment a new website launches is usually first time the word redesign comes up. The problem is, redesign means something different to everyone. For some it’s a re-skin and new look/feel, but for others it means a backend overhaul or a CMS transition. In many cases, these two process that can operate independently get lumped into the joint redesign process which becomes very expensive and time consuming for businesses and employees. Instead of trying to do everything all at once, why not design a website for growth?

Both for users and search engines, small but impactful website iterations are the best way to improve your website. When is the last time Amazon and Facebook completed a redesign of their entire sites? The best sites make changes over time that enhance functionality and improve user experience.

If you are involved in a website that is hard to change or requires IT assistance for even the most basic tasks, start thinking about hiring someone to rework your backend. It will be really tempting to revamp your site’s look and feel at the same time, but try to fight that urge. Hire the right team of developers and real SEO experts to build a site that can support new iterations. Spend the money on the backend to allow your team to update site content and have control of all the site elements you should be able to change on your own. If you do the backend the right way, site improvements will become a breeze.

Here are a couple of my pet peeves from new sites that I see built. Check with your developers to make sure their coding is up to standards:

  • There is Flash anywhere on the site (Just use jQuery!)
  • Inability to apply page level changes (title tags, meta descriptions, page content)
  • Coding multiple H1s on a single page
  • Writing CSS styles inline
  • Using tables instead of divs
  • Utilizing H2s, H3s, H4s, etc. for styling elements that can just use classes
  • Writing JavaScript code to change tabs or display top navigation that can easily be styled with CSS
  • Making content invisible on a page by using a class called “SEO hide” or something else that indicates it’s for an SEO purpose
  • Developing content for “SEO” and not for users

What do you see overlooked most in site redesigns? What errors do you see on new sites?

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