Revamp Your WordPress Website Today!
There are many reasons to revamp your WordPress site. For example, your website content is outdated and it doesn’t reflect your brand mission, values, and goals anymore. Or, your website navigation is too complex, preventing customers from finding the right products and making purchases. Maybe your website colors and typography distract customers.
The spring season is approaching and it is the perfect time to audit your WP website’s functionality and appeal and polish it up. In this brief guide, you will learn how to do that.
Understanding the Difference between Website Refresh and Redesign
Even though website refresh and website redesign are often used interchangeably, those are separate practices. The main difference lies in the way you update your WP website.
A website redesign includes restructuring your entire website. Those practices usually require making significant changes to your website code and visual appearance. The functionality of your website changes, as well as its core architecture, navigation, functionality, etc.
On the other hand, a website refresh is a simpler, faster, and less risky process. It is perfect for website owners that are satisfied with their overall website structure and functionality. The core website elements remain untouched, while they focus on revamping the look and the feel of the website. For example, you could choose your website typography, insert a new logo, pick new color palettes, or start creating more engaging content.
While refreshing a website requires less time and resources, it can still significantly improve customer experiences of your website, maximize conversions, and inspire people to come back. Precisely because of that, it needs to be strategized properly.
Perform a Content Audit
Your goal is to identify outdated content, see what pages drive the highest traffic, learn what types of content (don’t) resonate with your audiences, etc. When going through your analytics, you may be shocked that some pages you considered irrelevant actually generate loads of traffic and leads.
Start by identifying all pages on your WP site and list them in a spreadsheet. While you can do so manually, there are many website crawling tools like Screaming Frog that will automate this process, export your URLs to an HTML file, and save you lots of time.
Your goal is to identify your weakest points, as they require investing more time and planning. You should also understand what content needs to be refreshed, as well as identify content your website is missing. Go back to the spreadsheet you created and add a column where you would explain what you will do with each page. For example, if a page performs well, you could write “leave and monitor regularly.” Write “refresh” for those pages that need to be updated or “create” for new content you want to create on your website.
Analyze both Internal and External Links
When landing on a page with a 404 error or being pointed to a non-existing external page from your website, your visitors may be frustrated and leave your website. To avoid that, you need to analyze your websites’ links thoroughly and identify broken links (both internal and external) on time.
First, you could use a website crawler, such as Screaming Frog that offers a free broken link checker. You just need to enter your website URL and wait until the tool finished crawling. You could also select the “Response Codes” feature to audit backlinks faster and identify 404 broken links only.
Second, use Google Search Console. Go to Crawl > Crawl Errors, which will inform you about any 404 error pages. You just need to click on the links provided in the report to see what pages are pointing to a broken 404 page. Remember that Google Search Console gives you insights into your website’s links only, not the external ones.
Third, install a Broken links Checker Plugin for WP. It monitors links in your blog posts, comments, or even custom fields and informs you about any broken links or missing redirects via its dashboard or email. Just make sure that the plugin doesn’t harm the overall performance of your WP website.
Finally, you can also use an online SEO tool, such as Ahrefs. With its Site Audit tool, you can scan your website and see all 404 errors on your website. With Ahrefs Site explorer, on the other hand, you can audit any broken backlinks on your website.
Monitor your Competitors
The idea behind competitor analysis is to gather website inspiration and get insights into the industry best practices that may help you improve your website. Choose 2-3 competitor websites and audit them carefully. Are there some common design or content creation patterns your competitors use? What are the major similarities with your website? Enter all potential inspiration sources and links into a spreadsheet and send them to your content creators and designers.
Understand what Motivates or Frustrates your Customers
One of the most important things to do when revamping your website is mapping the customer journey and understanding what is helping them or frustrating them the most. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where do visitors get stuck the most?
- What are the most common issues they experience on your website?
- What is working/not working on your individual pages?
- What is triggering doubt and preventing people from converting?
There are many ways to answer those questions. First, pay attention to your Google Analytics and your common website metrics, such as user engagement, time on page, bounce rates, etc. Then, switch to a more specific tool. For example, you could use website heatmaps tools to visualize your visitors’ behaviors on your website and understand the most common performance issues. Finally, you could ask users directly for opinions. Use chatbots, create on-site surveys, or add feedback widgets to encourage them to share opinions with you.
Only by understanding your customers’ behavior patterns and collecting data continuously will you be able to update your buyer personas accurately and tailor your website design and content to their needs.
Improve your Content Creation Efforts
Creating content for the sake of SEO is not enough. To deliver value to your target audience, you need to keep your content engaging, innovative, and useful. It should educate them, inform them, and help them solve real-life problems.
You should also adapt to the latest content creation trends. Highly informative, long-form guides, whitepapers, or how-to articles are immensely popular, but such content is often difficult to digest and memorize. Breaking text-heavy paragraphs into smaller chunks, using catchy headings, and inserting original photos, illustrations, or animations will spruce your textual content up and make it more user-friendly.
To appeal to wider audiences, you should also experiment with content formats. Apart from articles, start creating visual content that grabs users’ attention and gains loads of high-quality social shares and backlinks. For example, you could create explainer videos, infographics, visually appealing ebooks, original memes, and invest in professional photography.
Domain.me is a perfect example of how important visual content is. Each article on their blog is improved with on-brand photos or illustrations that keep readers focused on content. They also hire Infostarters to create infographics for them. With custom illustrations and appealing colors, they manage to present complex topics in a more engaging and interactive way.
The best thing is that you don’t need to build your editorial calendar from scratch. To keep it consistent, turn to content repurposing. For example, if you have written an awesome guide, why not turn it into an infographic? If you have already published a series of articles around the same topic, why not merge them into a creative ebook? Or, you could simply update your old but popular articles with fresh statistics and examples and republish them.
Keep your Design Consistent
When updating your website, you will probably want to change some key brand elements, such as color palettes, typography, shapes, contrasts, logo design, CTA button design, and so forth. For starters, think about your brand. Just like I have mentioned above, ask yourself how effectively your current design elements reflect your brand personality. If your brand has changed over time, you need to reevaluate its major missions and choose your design elements accordingly.
Each color, shape, and font trigger a particular emotion in a visitor. For example, color stands for love and passion, yellow is the color of happiness, while blue reflects trustworthiness. Rounded shapes are considered warm, friendly, and feminine, while straight lines indicate strength, tranquility, and power. The same goes for fonts. Serif fonts are traditional, sans serif is modern and fun, while script fonts add a pinch of luxury to your brand. Using contrasts in both graphic design and web design is immensely important, especially when wanting to keep certain parts of your website prominent. For example, CTA buttons should grab users’ attention immediately, so make sure their colors are bright and yet, pleasant to the eye.
Once you choose your design elements, implement them consistently. No matter if a user lands on your FAQ page, blog post, or “About Us” section, they should recognize your brand immediately. That’s why you should create a brand style guide or update your existing one.
This is a detailed guide that defines your brand personality and dictates how your brand’s tone of voice and design elements should be used. It also informs your marketing and designer teams how those elements will vary across different online channels.
Keep A/B Testing Everything You Do
A/B testing is critical for any WP website owner, as it tells you what tactics work for them. This practice involves creating two types of something on your website and comparing their performance. For example, if you want to test two different types of CTA buttons, lead gen forms, opt-in forms, graphic elements, widgets, landing pages, or page titles, A/B testing is critical for you.
Performing A/B testing for WP websites is simple, as there are many WP plugins that may help you, including Nelio A/B Testing, Split Hero, Simple Page Tester, etc.
Over to You
After performing website audits, you will sure to identify a plethora of areas that need improvement. However, you don’t need to fix them all instantly. Make website improvements gradually and strategically to maintain positive user experiences and protect your SEO rankings. Above all, rely on analytics, A/B test everything, and ask for user feedback regularly.