Thinking About a Website Redesign? Avoid These 8 Critical Mistakes!

Why did I write this post? I have designed over 400 websites since 2004. I have been hired for plenty of redesign projects by business owners in many industries seeking a fresh new look for an older or broken site. That being said, the mistakes I’ve outlined below happen all the time.

You don’t know what you don’t know…

These new clients ran very successful businesses and were very smart, but they just didn’t know the right questions to ask the people who were helping them out before.

To start a new project, all the issues below must be discussed and, if needed, resolved. It’s an important discussion and process that ends with the owner securing all the “keys” to their internet business, and their website in a much safer place.

Mistake #1 – You do not own and are not in control of your domain name.

Do you actually own and control your domain name? You may not.

You might think this is a dumb question. Actually, you would be amazed how many business owners have no idea what is really going on with their domain names. There may be a few reasons for this.

  1. They were sold a web package from a company that bundles everything up together and does everything for you – domain name, hosting, website, and marketing. In this case, they may own everything – not you. (Buyer Beware!)
  2. You had a friend, relative, partner, colleague, or volunteer set up your domain name(s) for you. This person may no longer be around or may not be helpful.
  3. You set up everything yourself, but it was a long time ago, and you can’t remember where you registered your domain name and what the username and password is.

Mistake #2 – You do not know where your current website is hosted.

Your website has to be hosted on a server somewhere on the internet. The server stores all your information so that when someone types your domain name (URL) into an address bar, your website appears in their browser.

Your website should be hosted in an account you control.

Your host, domain name, and emails can be in the same account or in separate accounts on the internet.

Mistake #3 – You don’t know where your email is hosted.

Not knowing where your email is hosted can result in you losing ALL your mail when the new website is published. (OMG!!!)

Mistake #4 – You can’t “get into” your website.

You need to be able to log into your dashboard or the administrative area of your current website. If you can’t, then neither can your new web designer.

Mistake #5 – No stats.

A Statistics program is not installed (connected), or you do not have access to the data.

THIS IS HUGE! Your old website might actually have value. A great way to determine value is to review your website’s statistics. A good statistics program will show you the following:

  • Traffic numbers and sources
  • Entry and exit pages
  • Time on site/pages
  • Keywords used
  • Popular pages
  • Browser information
  • And so much more

A good designer who also knows SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will want to see this information to determine what should stay and what can go in a redesign. 301-redirects will need to be created to reduce 404 error pages (page not found). A good website designer will want to discuss preserving valuable pages with you before the redesign process begins.

Mistake #6 – Not performing fresh Keyword Phrase Research.

This is the perfect time to discover new keyword phrases, assess competition, and evaluate trends in your industry. This information can affect important design decisions and the scope of your project. Skipping this step can easily result in lost business.

Mistake #7 – Redesigning your website for yourself.

Design for your people. Design for your people. Design for your people.

Make it easy for your potential customers to find the information they are looking for quickly.

Your content (imagery and text) should appeal to your website visitors – your perfect clients – the ones that will give you their money. You should know who they are, and you should respect them with good design.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

There are lots of neat bells and whistles for websites these days. That doesn’t mean they belong on your website. Choose carefully and think about the end-user experience. Don’t waste their time. Don’t get in their way.

Mistake #8 – Choosing the wrong web designer.

Be careful. Choosing the wrong designer can actually destroy your business.

Ideally, your new web designer should have years of experience, a solid portfolio, excellent reviews, and have time for you. They will ask lots of questions to fully understand your unique situation and business goals. They should thoughtfully walk you through this exciting process and offer professional opinions and suggestions for the best possible outcome.

Charlotte Howard is an amazing designer. She captures your essence and brings it to life through the website. She took our site from drab to magnificent. She is efficient and punctual and delivers what she promises. A pleasure to work with. Highly recommend her for a new or refresh of a site.
— Lenore Hemingway • Owner, Village Gallery of Local Artists

Pro Tip:

Create a digital folder on your computer for your website. In this folder, keep all your website assets, such as logos, word docs, photos, graphics, testimonials, ideas, etc.

VERY IMPORTANT — Create a document or spreadsheet that lists all the accounts that are related to your website. Each item should have the website URL, login, password, renewal date if applicable, credit card used, and who has access to the account. These accounts might be for your:

  • Domain Name
  • Web Host
  • Email(s)
  • Email Marketing service
  • Plugins
  • Payment Gateways
  • Social Media accounts
  • Dropbox
  • Apps, etc…

This document will help you stay organized, safe, and in control of your website. Make sure it is secure and always up-to-date. Print out a hard copy periodically.

Contact Us

Need your website redesigned? Contact us to schedule a complimentary review of your current website and business goals.

If your website is already in pretty good shape but is not as profitable as you would like, please give us the opportunity to perform a review free of charge. Is there business to be had in the search engines for your industry? Very likely! Call Charlotte today to discuss your options. (928) 300-9147