Are you thinking about redesigning your WordPress website? Are you not sure where or how to begin? Don’t worry – we will cover everything you need to know in the blog article. But first, let’s cover the main reasons you might want to revamp your website:
- It looks outdated. Companies redesign their websites for many reasons, but most commonly, it is due to an old, outdated-looking site. 75% of credibility comes from design, and an ‘uncredible’ looking website can hurt a business as users choose businesses with nicer-looking, more user-friendly websites and pay a higher price for their services.
- It is bad for user experience. It’s crucial to monitor your competitors and research popular industry trends. Ensure your website is current and has everything customers want and desire.
- It doesn’t work properly. Good development is crucial for a successful website redesign. If the site has broken features that users can’t use, the company will lose business. Companies should prioritize getting these issues fixed as soon as possible. Sometimes a complete website revamp is needed.
Ok, so now you know the reasons why you should redesign a website, and if you do decide you want to revamp your existing WordPress website, let’s cover how you can do it.
1. Set up a Staging Site
A staging site replicates your live website, replicating the same plugins, settings, widgets, and so on. The only difference between a live website and a staging site is that the latter is inactive.
There are some benefits to a staging site:
- Allow you to develop better websites
- Are super simple to create
- Can be set up locally or online
- Help you catch errors and bugs without putting your live site at risk
The simplest way to set up a staging site is to use a WordPress plugin. Plugins such as WP Staging make the whole process straightforward. Once you’ve installed the plugin, the next thing to do would be to ‘Start Cloning’. The plugin will then scan your site for relevant information.
Note: You should copy over all of your site’s database tables and files. Once you have set up a staging site (a safety net in case things go wrong), the next thing to do would be to delete all unnecessary files.
2. Delete all unnecessary Files
Think of this as a spring clean. When you first launched your WordPress site, it was probably very organized, tidy and not stacked-full of pointless or useless data. However, over time you probably added a lot of files and data from adding new plugins, themes or large files.
This causes your site to be slow and a nightmare to work on. So take the time to review all your files, plugins, themes, etc., and remove anything you do not need. Here’s a mini checklist to help you clear as much unwanted data as possible:
- Remove Unused Themes
- Make sure everything is up-to-date
- Delete old site revisions
- Delete media and images not being used
- Fix broken links
- Sort spam comments
- Review your content
- Optimise your images – use this plugin EWWW Image Optimiser
3. Delete Database Bloat
Now that you have deleted all unwanted files from your WordPress website, the next thing to do is remove your database bloat. This is the clutter behind-the-scenes!
There are two ways to do this – manually and through a plugin. Cleaning up your database manually is great if you know what you are doing. Be careful because you won’t want to accidentally delete essential files. Those who don’t want to risk anything going wrong can use a plugin. For example, WP-Optimise removes unneeded data without deleting anything important. It will also make sure your data is lean moving forward.
4. Choose and Update Theme
Now the fun part! Choosing a new design or theme for your new and improved WordPress website! However, before we jump right into redesigning your WordPress website, I want to mention that you should always test your new theme on a staging website before making it live on your active website.
This is in case: anything goes wrong or you hate it. To choose the best WordPress theme for you, make sure you:
- Ensure the theme is responsive across all devices
- Tried and tested with great reviews
- Make a note of all the features you want your website to have
- Choose a theme that’s not cluttered with features (keep bloat low)
- Ensure it aligns with your brand guidelines and is user-friendly
Bonus tip: Sometimes it’s worth buying the premium themes, especially if they come with tons of features and benefits.
With that being said, here are 4 amazing themes we recommend which have enough design flexibility to accommodate businesses of any type:
- Elementor (our pick for design versatility)
- Elegant Themes (Divi builder)
- Thrive Themes (our pick for content marketing and ease of use)
Possibly Update to Faster Hosting
Before discovering and enabling a fresh theme, you should assess your current web hosting company to see if you should switch providers. Speed is big factor here as in 2020 Google began using website speed as a ranking factor. While there are technically things that can be done to improve website speed, the most important factor of that is the hosting.
Reasons to change might be:
- Your site is slow
- Your dashboard doesn’t work very well
- You can’t afford your current plan
- Your site is experiencing crazy amounts of downtime
There are plenty of WordPress hosting providers out there, here are a few:
- Cloudways (best pick and what we use)
- WP Engine (recommended for business owners that want to be hands off)
- A2 Hosting (very very good for shared hosting, and slightly cheaper than Cloudways)
You’re building a new website, so why not consider giving your whole business a new identity with a complete rebrand?
Rebranding is the process of changing a company’s name, logo, tagline, or other marketing materials in order to create a new identity for the company. When done well, rebranding can be an effective way to improve the company’s image and build trust with customers.
There are a few reasons to rebrand your business:
- Your business needs modernizing. Trends and styles change, and businesses need to keep up with the times to continue to appeal to the market.
- Expansion or targeting. Your business is looking to expand into a new target market, or your new product offerings don’t align with your current brand identity, old website, or marketing material.
- Stand out amongst competitors. If your business needs to stand out, you must differentiate your brand visually. A rebrand could be your chance to refresh and reinvent your brand’s visual identity.
Important note: There are several risks involved with rebranding: it may take time and money to do it right; and there is always the risk that customers will not like the new look. Take the time to weigh up the pros and cons of performing a rebrand. Perform in-depth market research through surveys, questionnaires and interviews to understand how your consumers perceive your current identity.
Remember, your brand identity must effectively communicate who you are, what you do, how you help, and what you believe in. All content that’s important to include on your website.
5. Review and Update Content on all Pages
Revamping your WordPress website means improving your existing content. Users don’t want to return to your website only to find a better-looking design with the same content. Reinvigorate your pages, and add new information, images and content! Use the time to maximize user experience and website purpose when you go live.
My simple approach to this is to generate a list of all pages from analytics and sort them from most traffic to least, and start from the top and work our way down.
- How can we make this page better for users?
- Would the users benefit from more pictures/videos?
- What can we add (to this page) that would improve conversions?
- Does the page follow SEO formatting standard with heading tags?
A more ‘ninja’ approach to content update prioritization is to look for pages that were getting a decent volume of traffic 12 months ago, but have since declined. These pages often present the most valuable opportunity for updates.
Hire a Designer to Design Mockup of Key Pages
While WordPress design tools have gotten better than ever, they don’t turn an amateur (you) into a pro! If you’re looking for a professional design, it is best to hire the right people – the professionals.
Make a list of your key pages that really influence your web traffic and hire a designer to do a mock up of these pages. There are many sites that can help you connect with the right people for the job, including:
- People Per Hour
- Marketers Hire
- 99Designs (our pick – a contest website where you’ll get multiple designs from expert designers)
A mock up is simply a visual design, so once that it is complete, you’ll either need to code it yourself, or hire a developer to take the PSD or AI design files and make it a functioning page on your WordPress website. Keep in mind designers and coders are two different people with different skill sets.
A website takes a lot of time, energy, and labor to create. There are a number of points to worry about and factors to consider.
Now you’re ready to revamp your WordPress website! It doesn’t have to be painful with the help of this useful tutorial on how to finish a WordPress website revamp. You can’t go wrong if you use the tips from the list above! (Related: How to Manage a Website Redesign Project (Without Losing Traffic))