5 Ways to Fail at Redesigning Your Company Website

By Candace Nicholson

So your company’s been in business for a few years and you’re worried that your online storefront appears a little dated. What’s this newfangled “responsive” design you keep hearing about? Who said no one is using Flash anymore? Why does your CTA need to appear “above the fold,” and what does “above the fold” mean?

Yep. It definitely sounds like you’re in need of a website tune-up. But there’s no reason to fear change. You can maintain brand consistency and give your online presence a jump-start that will keep your customers feeling welcome and well taken care of. On the other hand, if you want your website redesign to be a bumpy ride that leaves your customers feeling confused and neglected, be sure to do the following five steps.

1. Don’t Plan How You Want Your Final Website to Operate

Many small business owners think of their company website as a largely visual experience, but the most valuable ROI in your presentation comes with a smart combination of text and visuals. The only way to know what works best is to tackle the details of layout, content and flow before any coding begins. So be sure to avoid assessing what is currently working well for your business now and what isn’t, then forget to add any new components that best serve your customers and your brand vision.

2. Don’t Consider Your Customer’s Experience on a Mobile Platform

The most important aspect to consider for your redesign is how you want people to respond when they visit your site. And not everyone will be viewing your site from a desktop computer. Some potential customers will view your online home via tablets and smartphones, and that means redesigning with a mobile experience in mind. Thankfully, a qualified developer can share input on what drives UX design so make sure you don’t get any feedback on what UX elements will keep your clientele happy.

3. Don’t Gather Recommendations Before Hiring A Designer or Developer

You’ve seen so many examples of wonderful websites that now you fear your new site won’t be able to compete. You want your business to stand out in the industry, but you aren’t sure where to find a designer or developer you can trust. That’s where peer recommendations come in. But be sure to settle for word-of-mouth alone. Don’t review the portfolio and previous sites of your prospective hire. The last thing you want is to make sure they have the experience you’re comfortable with and can execute your vision of the new website.

4. Don’t Test Your New Site on Multiple Browsers & Platforms

Regardless on which platform your potential customer may access your new site, functionality builds reliability. So don’t bother evaluating your revamped layout to ensure all the clickable text and buttons work properly across a variety of browsers on both desktop and mobile. Rarely do launches go off without a hitch and it’s much better to wait to find those major issues after your website has gone live.

5. Don’t Advertise the Launch of Your New Site on Social Media

As a small business owner, you know the important role marketing plays in any successful project. And your new website is no different. Sure, you’re the same dynamic business providing the same quality service, but you don’t want your customers to know the redesign is a reflection of your constant need to improve on your creation. No, instead you want their discovery of your new site to fill them with confusion and frustration. So be sure to avoid advertising your new online presence across your social media accounts. A push to show that you’re growing and adapting with the times might even merit the attention of new customers and that’s the last thing you would want to happen.

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Candace Nicholson
Candace Nicholson is the voice behind Incandescere, a content creation studio dedicated to artists, charities and entrepreneurs. When she's not pitching magazines, editing creative genius or penning blog posts, she's a regular contributor to LAFRA's Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen's Fund.


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    • Hi Rob, and thanks for taking the time to read through my sarcasm. I know I laid it on a bit thick, but a different approach sometimes leads us to rethink an idea in a new and exciting way.

      I hope my advice helped! :-)

  1. This is very useful information. We help our clients with all types of computer support services as well as web design and are always talking about the importance of mobile responsive websites. Just look around you when you’re anywhere in public and count how many people you see staring at their phones.

    RedWave Technology Group

    • Hi Chase! And yes, that’s exactly why it’s so important to recognize the importance of responsive design and how customers are accessing our websites.

      I wrote this (very sarcastic) piece about 2 years ago, when responsive design was on everyone’s lips. Now, I hear the terms scalable, adjustive and adaptive being used instead. Have you noticed that trend with your clients and in the industry in general? Have your customers began asking for “adaptive design” or questioning the difference from responsive and adaptive? Is there a difference at all?

      And thanks for reading my article and sharing your thoughts!

  2. This is great information. There are a lot of companies out that who claim they know what they are doing and just want to take our money. I have heard and seen too many people get screwed by a designer or SEO company. A website is supposed to represent our company and not what someone else thinks we should be representing. Thanks for sharing this knowledge with us!

    • Agreed, Chris! And that you for taking the time to read my article.

      I’ve heard a few horror stories about designers who charge a lot, but deliver something not at all what the business owner expected. Which is odd because web designers and business owners should be working side-by-side on a site redesign. If you’re working together — and, more importantly, listening to each other, the final result should leave everyone happy.

  3. Love the article. It prompted me to actually go and look at my site on several different browsers and platforms to make sure that the look was consistent. Fortunately everything was okay. Thanks so much for the advice.

  4. Great article. I am in the process of optimising and changing up the design of my own website. These tips definitely come in handy for organising my next steps in the process!

  5. Candace, why would you not want to point new customers to your website with social media. Maybe I am missing the tone of the article, but I was under the assumption you would always want new customers. Would it be the sudden influx that would be hard to scale that would cause issues? Thanks.

    • Hi Elias. The article is a list of what NOT to do (meaning you should do the opposite of each item listed). So yes, you would definitely want to promote your new website on social media and elsewhere. Thanks for reading!

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