Why do a redesign?Donna had a website already. But it was not working very well. She wanted to know if a redesign would solve the problems. Or if she would need a brand new website. To find out, we did a technical audit of her old site. Here’s what I learned from the audit:
- the site layout made the site hard to understand
- poor typography made the content difficult to read
- the site was invisible to search engines
- security flaws opened it up to spam and malware attacks.
If there had only been a few basic design and layout issues, a redesign would’ve made sense. But in this case, there were issues at every level – design, right down to the code and server setup. It would cost less and yield better results to design and build a new site.
Designing to Achieve Goals
The best websites solve problems for the owner, and the audience. Since Donna is an author, conference speaker, and blogger. Her site needed to:
- promote books, and make it easy for people to buy them
- promote speaking events and make booking requests simple
- grow a mailing list
- publish blog posts readers can share via social channels
Promoting and Selling Books
To help promote and sell books, I created a landing page with several useful features.
- Reader reviews
- Book descriptions
- Free Chapter download
- Buy Now button
Blog posts are a major feature of Donna’s website. I designed the blog to look consistent with Donna’s branding. I also included responsive design tweaks. These ensured readers on mobile enjoy fast load times, and content that looks good on phones.
Building a Mailing List
Building a mailing list should be a goal for every website owner. Donna uses newsletter to tell readers about new content, books, and speaking engagements.
To make it easy for people to subscribe I created a simple sing-up form at the bottom of every page. On the back end of the site, the form can updated site-wide in a matter of minutes.
The performance of your website is important. It influences how enjoyable (on a fast site) or annoying (on a slow site) your website is to use.
In fact, search engines will give your site a better ranking based on speed and performance. Especially for searchers on mobile devices. That’s why I include performance tweaks wherever possible during the development process.
At the time of writing this Donna’s site has been live for a few weeks. Since launching, there have been clear improvements in all the areas we were aiming for:
- mailing list has increased subscribers
- speaking inquiries have come from around the world
- books have sold through the book landing page
- the old site was invisible in search. The new site is the top search result for a targeted keyword phrase