Change can be hard for people. We’re creatures of habit after all; we like what we like and we stick to it. This simple fact can make redesigning your website a daunting task. The last thing you want to do is redesign your website, only for it to be completely unrecognizable and undesirable to your customers.

Your customers have built trust with you over a period of time. If you redesign your website without your customers in mind, you risk losing that trusting relationship you’ve worked so hard to build. While your long-time, most loyal customers might be more inclined to stick around, what about casual visitors or the first-time visitors of your newly overhauled site? Statistics show that once your page loads, users form an opinion in .05 seconds. First impressions are incredibly important and you want your website redesign to impress customers and prospects, not scare them away.

Here’s how to redesign your website without losing customers.

Set goals.

While having a beautiful looking website is important, don’t dive headfirst into a redesign of your website purely for personal aesthetic purposes; you want to go into your website redesign with clear goals in mind. Setting goals for your website redesign will not only make the redesign go smoothly but it will also allow you to tell your customers exactly why there’s changes being made. So, they’ll be less likely to be concerned about the website redesign and more likely to be excited about what’s coming next.

Some goals you might want to achieve for your website redesign could be:

  • Making your site easier to navigate and make finding content simpler, which increases your pages per visit.
  • Boost your site speed, which can lower your bounce rate.
  • Add more pages and content to increase time spent on pages.
  • Improve your on-site SEO to increase organic traffic.
  • Make your site mobile-friendly to capture more audiences.
  • Boost social shares by making your site more visually appealing.

Aside from setting goals for what you want your site redesign to accomplish, you should also set a deadline for your redesign. Setting a goal date for completion will help your team stay on track and deliver a new and improved website in a timely fashion.

Let customers know you’re redesigning.

As briefly mentioned before, you want your customers to be excited about the website redesign, so don’t leave them in the dark. Email marketing is still one of the best ways to get in touch with your customers. In fact, according to HubSpot, more than 50% of U.S respondents check their personal email account more than 10 times a day. So, you should be sending out emails to all of your subscribers letting them know that a website redesign is in the works, as well as an email to welcome them to the new and improved site once it’s live, like in the example from Lonely Planet below.

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Instead of customers stumbling onto your site and being confused by the unfamiliar appearance, they’ll be notified and ready for the change. Your website redesign can also become new content for your blog. You can keep customers up-to-date with the process, let them know about the exciting new features, and share tips based on your experience.

Get feedback.

While you’re letting your customers know that your website is getting a redesign, take the opportunity to ask them for feedback. Your customers thoughts and opinions are important; after all, they’re the ones who’re using your website. So, consider creating an online form that allows your customers to share their ideas on how you can improve your website design.

To get actionable insights on what your customers want to see with your website redesign, ask them questions such as:

  • What is your favorite feature on our website?
  • What is your least favorite feature?
  • How easy is it to find what you’re looking for?
  • What’s missing on our website that you’d like to see?
  • How can we create a website that better serves your needs?

Your customers will be thrilled that you included them in the makeover process and they’ll be over the moon when they see that their suggestions have been implemented in the new design of your site.

Do quality assurance testing.

After you’ve redesigned your website, you probably can’t wait to release it to the world — but wait. Before you unveil your website redesign you need to do quality assurance testing. The last thing you want to do is launch your new website when it’s not ready and doesn’t work properly. This can be an inconvenience to your customers and create all sorts of problems for you.

Have your team test out every aspect of your new website before you release it. They should be testing from the customer perspective; making sure the site works on multiple different browsers, that it’s optimized for mobile, and overall functionality. They should also be checking for bugs from an administrative and SEO perspective as well. Catching any bugs on your website beforehand is vital to a successful launch.

Over to you.

Redesigning your website can be stressful but it can also put you on a path for increased traffic and a boost in conversions, as long as it’s done right. Don’t forget to do A/B testing of your new site. Not every website redesign is perfect right away, but with A/B testing you can find out exactly what works best for your customers. Enjoy your site’s new design and all the perks that come along with it.