It is your figurehead on the internet: an online presence offers you decisive advantages as a freelancer and self-employed person. This is where you introduce yourself so your potential customers can get to know you. You present your products in order to explain your offer to potential customers in more detail. And with your articles you get loyal readers to your blog, whom you support with questions about your topic and with whom you build a trusting connection.
But what happens when your own website is getting old? The design, the content or the concept no longer suits you and your work? At this point it is worth considering a website relaunch.
Similar to a new website, a website relaunch involves a lot of effort and a certain amount of stress. Tackling such a mammoth project alongside day-to-day business requires good preparation and planning.
In this series of articles I will show you how to prepare, plan and implement your website relaunch step by step. You will also find tips and examples from my relaunch, which I am currently carrying out.
What questions should you ask yourself at the beginning?
Before you start planning, think about what goal you are pursuing with your new website. This helps you to implement the design of your website in a targeted and focused manner in the next step, to work out the individual pages and content and to discuss different functions with your programmer.
- What am I presenting on my website?
- Who is my target group?
- What does my target group want to see on the website?
- What content do I carry over from my current website?
- What can I improve, what can I change completely?
What goal are you pursuing with your website?
What matters is the goal you want to achieve with your website. Do you use it as a pure presentation of your company or do you want to win potential new customers or do you offer a platform for interested parties on your topic? Define a clear goal.
Example: My personal drive is to provide my readers with information and assistance. I convince potential customers with my expertise and show how I start and implement projects. With my website I draw attention to myself and I am found in search engines. My goal is to become more visible to potential customers, to reach new readers and to exchange ideas with them.
- I clearly emphasize my design specialization.
- I present my services as a graphic designer to my potential customers in more detail.
- My target group should get to know me and build trust in me.
- My portfolio should be more interesting and show current projects.
- My content should be made available on different channels (text and audio).
- My new design should reflect my style and fit my target group. It shouldn’t follow any current trend so that it will still look modern in a year or two.
- I provide my customers and prospects with special content and personal updates.
Be aware of the goal you are pursuing with your website and what information you are making available to your potential customers and readers. This is how you find the right content for your website.
What content do you need on your website?
As soon as you are aware of what you want to achieve with the website relaunch, you determine the appropriate content, which is tailored to your target group.
- Blog articles in the form of text and audio
- More information about me
- References of current projects
- Presentation of my services and offers
- Invitation to a feedback discussion
- Easy contact
- Registration for the newsletter
In the next step, you derive your navigation structure from your own content. Name the navigation points after the content that is behind them. keep it simple Don’t make up abstract terms. Readers want to know where they are at all times. Don’t let them guess what content is hidden behind the menu items. Use a clear menu structure.
In my example, the navigation structure is as follows: Blog, about me, references, services, feedback discussion, contact, newsletter, imprint, data protection, terms and conditions.
How do you work in the relaunch: alone, in pairs or in threes?
A website relaunch involves various tasks: preparation, planning, copywriting, design and programming. In rare cases, you can do all of this work on your own.
My recommendation: Get help with text creation, a graphic designer who will create an individual design for your website and a programmer who will implement your website according to current technical standards.
I’m also getting help with the creation of my new website. For this I use my network of reliable partners with whom I have already worked in the past.
I create the concept and design of the online presence myself. Here I have the advantage of having the specialist knowledge and the tools to be able to take on the design myself.
The technical implementation of the website is done by Alexander Mehault Mehault Media. He is well versed in programming websites and knows the current standards that are required when implementing a website.
I leave the corrections of my texts to myself Karoline Mohren from Lebenswert – the media manufactory. Since I attach great importance to the correctness of my website texts and blog articles, I have been working with Karoline for a long time. As a text partner, she is uncomplicated, careful and reliable.
What can you change and improve on your website?
In the relaunch process, you optimize individual areas of your website or create new ones. In the following points I give you what I think are the most important points, which I am currently changing on my site.
Does your current choice of font and color reflect the expectations of your potential customers and your wealth of experience as a freelancer and self-employed in your field? If not, then change the font and color concept of your branding with the new website.
I, too, have changed in recent years: My own style has evolved and allows me to work with clients who prefer that exact style. I create designs that are modern, reduced and of high quality. These characteristics are difficult to see on the current website. It looks dated and pieced together.
If you feel the same way, adjust your branding and get help from a pro. In this article, I describe how you can find the right graphic designer.
structure and concept
With the website relaunch you can make the individual pages of your website more user-friendly and readable.
For example, if you change the navigation structure of your website, directory names or the categories in your blog, Google and your readers will no longer be able to find your content. If you change or delete individual pages, they can no longer be reached under the current URL.
To keep your potential customers and readers from getting frustrated and leaving your site, set up a redirect for all changed pages. Don’t lose sight of it. Get an overview of the current URLs on your website and check which URL changes and redirect it to the new destination.
I see great potential for your online presence here. Because it is important that your content is loaded and displayed quickly. Check whether your website contains functions that you do not need at all. Scripts and plug-ins used can also be reduced.
Resize images and graphics and make sure they are only as large as they will appear on the website.
Example: If you upload an image with 1,000 x 1,000 pixels and it is only displayed in 300 x 300 pixels on your website, you are wasting valuable loading time.
Check the speed of your website on mobile devices and on the PC or notebook. A tool that will help you with this and give you information about how to optimize the speed of your website is PageSpeedInsights.
ease of use
The longer visitors stay on your website, the higher the probability that you will convince them of you and your services. To do this, your website must load quickly, be understandable and easy to use. Users should be able to find your offers and information with just a few clicks.
That also means that the content is easy to read. The navigation is clear and unambiguous. Your visitors know where they are at all times. Your texts have a good contrast to the background. Links in the text stand out clearly.
If you make it difficult for users to use your website, their motivation to stay longer on your website decreases and they will not come back to your site.
Fonts and Readability
The choice of fonts, font sizes and font styles determine whether your text is legible or not.
Make sure to use your brand’s fonts on your website as well. Check in advance whether you are allowed to use these fonts for the web. When you buy fonts, there are separate licenses for digital and print. Even with free fonts, look at the conditions for using the font.
You optimize the readability of your online presence with the size of your headlines and texts. Body text should be at least 16 pixels in size. If the font is smaller, it can even be larger. Don’t neglect line spacing. This also creates more space between the individual lines of text. Try it out and you’ll clearly see the difference.
Don’t use blocks of text that are too long. Include paragraphs and various headings. Spice up your texts with lists, images or infographics. A quote every now and then brings variety. Text that is too wide and spans the screen makes it difficult to read and is tiring on the eyes.
In the next part, I’ll show you the complete process of revamping your home page. You will be the first to take a look at my new website design. And I’ll show you how my homepage changes.
When was the last time you gave your website a new coat of paint? How did you go about it? Write me in the comments. I’m looking forward to your message.