Planning a full website revamp used to be something of a huge task, and it was never one looked forward to by small businesses, because of the sheer enormity and complexity of the task. While any organization which is somewhat strapped for resources might still find this to be a daunting challenge today, the prospect of a website revamp is far less intimidating today than it was several years ago. This is due in part to the vast array of available tools which can make the process go much more smoothly, and which allow it to be accomplished much faster.
How to Plan A Website Revamp For 2019
The reason that organizations are undertaking site revamps has also changed over the past few years. Whereas even five years ago, all the conversation regarding website improvements focused on optimizing a site for mobile users, that has now been pretty much accomplished by all site owners, and the new focus of optimization is on the user’s experience on your website.
Below are described some of the points you might want to consider if you’re planning a website revamp for 2019, so that you end up with one that is in line with today’s most important user needs, as well as your needs as an organization.
The Importance of Web Hosting
Choosing the right web host can be crucial for your business, and if you’re doing a full revamp for 2019, it might be time to consider whether your current host is meeting your needs. For instance, if you’ve experienced any downtime with your current host that will probably have resulted in a loss of revenue, and if your site has been down on multiple occasions, it will also impact your search rankings.
Above is the screenshot of our website TTFB using WebPageTest. The result is 415ms which is very good.
Speed is another crucial area that your web host should be able to provide you with, and if your site is troubled by slow-loading content and images, chances are that you’ve been losing lots of visitors to your site. Internet surfers are notorious for abandoning sites which don’t load instantly to provide what they’re looking for.
Security is another issue of critical concern to your organization, because small businesses are coming under greater attack these days, as cyber criminals turn their attention to the lucrative prospects of hacking small businesses in numbers. Therefore, finding the best web hosting is something you can’t ignore if you are serious about revamping your website.
Lastly, if you haven’t been getting the kind of customer service and technical support which you feel you’re entitled to as a client, then that’s something else you should take into account when considering the possibility of engaging a new host for your website.
Google Has Established Mobile Speed As Its Benchmark
Because of the prevalence of mobile access to the Internet, and the sheer numbers of mobile shoppers and surfers in existence, Google has made mobile speed its benchmark for loading speed. However, the search engine giant has also conducted extensive research on the subject and found that most mobile websites today are not meeting user expectations for loading speeds.
Google discovered that the average user will abandon a site if it does not fully load into their mobile device within three seconds – but the average mobile site took a whopping 22 seconds to load! This fact alone makes it easy to understand why users would quickly leave one site in favor of another, which loads more quickly.
The bottom line on Google’s research was that as load times increased from one second to ten seconds, the abandonment rate rose by 123%.
Your takeaway from all this is that your website needs to be optimized for mobile – and for loading quickly into mobile devices, otherwise you will probably lose most of your potential customers.
What Your Website Needs To Be GDPR-Compliant
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted by the European Union in 2016, and it went into effect as of May 2018, to introduce certain specific obligations for data controllers and data processors, both within the EU and without. In effect, it places an obligation on organizations which manage large volumes of personal data to ensure that they are compliant with the regulation, or they will be subject to huge fines.
One of the main points of the regulation involves ensuring that individuals give their explicit consent to having their private data used for any purpose, another is the right of individuals to request information on all data being held about them, and a third aspect would be a user’s right to have their personal data deleted from an organization’s database.
There are a few other lesser points included in the GDPR, but these are the main ones, and if an individual feels that his/her rights were violated under the regulation, they would have the option of making a claim against the offending organization. If your website is one which holds a large amount of data on individuals, particularly financial organizations, and some of your clients are based in Europe, this is an important consideration which you’ll need to be aware of.
Chrome Browser Has Labeled Non-SSL Sites As Insecure
In early 2017, the Chrome browser began labeling all non-SSL sites as ‘not secure’, meaning that any transactions conducted between that website and other partied were subject to hacking by cyber criminals.
Secure socket layer (SSL) technology has all data encrypted which is exchanged between a website and users of that site, so that privacy is ensured and hackers cannot intercept data for their own personal gain.
Needless to say, if your website has not moved over to SSL to provide this level of security for your users, you could very well be losing out on business, especially if your competitors offer an SSL environment to users.
You can overcome this issue by installing an SSL certificate on your website. If you have the budget constraints, you can opt for Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. It’s a free digital certificate that you can install on your website to provide a safe and trusted environment for your visitors.
Incorporate Media-rich Content
In the past five years, it has become much easier for organizations to include media-rich content on their websites, especially with costs of video productions being drastically reduced.
If you haven’t included video and images in your website up to this point, your 2019 revamp would be a great time to incorporate them. There are umpteen statistics available which point up the value of including video and images in your site content because those are the forms of content which engage users the most.
If you’re trying to reach a target audience, and you want them to be engaged enough to spend some time on your website, you need to have images and video as a major component of your site content.
In fact, if your revamp has to be somewhat limited in nature because of funding, this may be the single most important upgrade you can make to your website. You should also consider embedding mobile-friendly sites like YouTube on your site, to improve engagement with virtually no effort on your part.
Analyze Heat Maps
Heat-mapping technology can be extremely useful for a site, and in your 2019 revamp, you should give this some major consideration. When you have heat-mapping technology installed on your site, you’ll be able to identify where users spend the majority of their time on your website, i.e. which content they read or view, and which content they skip over.
Knowing this information can be invaluable in terms of preparing a strategy that will engage users and eventually encourage them to perform some kind of desired action.
Digital heat maps will tell you if any of your images or content are boring, whether navigation is confusing visitors to your site, whether some links on your site are irrelevant, and whether your calls-to-action are weak and under-performing.
This analytics tool can go a long way toward telling you exactly what’s wrong with your site, and what you should be doing to address any shortcomings. As a matter of fact, many organizations use heat-mapping technology to help them identify how their websites need to be revamped when the time comes for a site overhaul.
There are undoubtedly other considerations which should be borne in mind when thinking about your 2019 website revamp, but if you pay attention to the points described above, you should end up with a website that provides an engaging experience for your users, and which will pay dividends for your organization for several years.