People often think of website redesign as just a visual refresh, but a true glow up is so much more than a fresh look — it’s a full transformation for the better.
Focusing only on the visual aspect of your website redesign project is like slapping an artsy filter on a photo of your house and calling it a remodel. It’s important to note — appearance is part of the glow up process, not the beginning and end of it.
If you want your website redesign to reach glow up status, think beyond just the visuals and address these key elements as well.
Website redesign goals
You can’t hit a target if you don’t set one. Think about why the revamp is necessary, then use those reasons to set a clear purpose and well-defined goals.
Let’s say your current website doesn’t get much organic traffic — and you decide to redesign your site to address this issue. Though this is a fair reason to redesign, your goal should be more specific. For example, you could shift your purpose to design a site with built-in SEO features to increase organic traffic by 20% by the end of Q4.
Other website redesign goals might include increasing conversions, improving website performance, or showcasing a rebrand. Whatever your goals are, define and document them before you begin the website redesign process.
When customer relationship management software (CRM) provider, Webson, wanted to show off their branding glow up, they worked with Ish Studio to redesign the site in Webflow. Webson wanted to rebrand to a minimalist and clear design in order to align with their streamlined business and user experience.
Webson aimed to provide a more engaging experience through cleaner, more intuitive design. Now, the site has a simplified look, engaging animated icons, and a built-in price calculator. In other words — mission accomplished.
Improved website functionality and performance
Remember — a glow up is a full transformation for the better, so it has to involve more than looks. Think of it like Instagram versus reality. A filter can make you appear fit, but it won’t give you the stamina to run a marathon. To truly transform your site, go beyond great design and address the core functionality and performance as well.
Successful website redesign projects add or improve features with the visitor experience in mind. So, don’t just make your website prettier, make it easier to use. Incorporate accessibility features such as captioned videos and detailed alt text for images. Build a more robust search function so people can find what they need faster. Put key information on your homepage or in your navigation bar.
Take a look at Skuid’s homepage before and after. It transformed from an image in a carousel slider with no central message to a clear, actionable statement: build awesome apps. Before, visitors had to hunt for demos, sign-up buttons, and information. Now, video demos and calls to action such as “start building” are front and center.
Let’s not forget about website functionality for your own team. Think about how to streamline processes such as publishing blog posts, updating images, and building new pages. This might mean rethinking how you power your website: from the platform it runs on, to who drives the execution of it.
Before MURAL’s website glow up, their marketing team had to loop in both a designer and a developer for even the smallest revisions. Now, the content team can publish blogs and make changes without involving a designer at all.
Website performance influences functionality, so your redesign should also address issues such as slow page loading times, poor responsiveness on mobile devices, security vulnerabilities, etc. Cover the technical aspects of your glow up with our performance optimization guide and security checklist.
Without an SEO strategy, you risk falling off search engines’ radars and damaging your organic search presence in the process.
Before you change a thing, benchmark your site’s performance so you can track changes after you launch the redesigned site. Make note of key metrics such as:
- Bounce rate
- Organic traffic
- Ranking keywords
- Domain rating
A great way to get ideas on how to do this is to take a look at top-performing pages and think about what makes those pages successful.
Another thing to note is to not make unnecessary changes that could negatively impact performance. For example, if a blog post holds a featured snippet for a crucial keyword, you’ll want to leave the content alone.
Keep in mind that your glow up won’t be very effective if no one can find it. Set up 301 redirects for outdated URLs. And verify that Google can crawl and index your pages so they’re still discoverable in search.
Make sure your improved site has a simple way to manage SEO. Your future self will thank you for making it easy to add meta titles, meta descriptions, alt text, and other SEO elements.
Rakuten SL worked with AdLava and used Webflow’s integrated SEO features to get an SEO boost after redesigning their website. They saw significant improvements — pageviews increased by 12% and bounce rate decreased by 27%.
A living style guide
Have you ever spent hours reorganizing a closet only to watch it fall back into disarray in a matter of weeks? That’s what you risk — on a much larger scale — if you redesign a website without creating a living style guide.
A style guide sets the standards for brand personality and appearance. It should be the go-to resource for everything from your brand’s writing tone to the exact color and shape of buttons on your site. But that ideal use only works in practice if you have a living style guide that you regularly use and update.
All those painstaking design decisions that led to your gorgeous glow up won’t matter much if the pages you publish post-redesign don’t match. Set the guidelines and stick to them.
Before switching to Webflow, most of MURAL’s team lacked the confidence to publish new pages on the site without the help of a designer. MURAL used Webflow CMS Collections to design templates so the team can simply fill in fields and publish a landing page that aligns with the brand style standards.
[insert either the gif of their style guide from this blog or a screenshot]
Get real about glow ups
Looks will only get you so far. Don’t just do the web design equivalent of slapping a fresh coat of paint on a house. Think strategically about what needs to change and improve to make your website a better experience overall.
With Webflow you can tackle all the elements of a great glow up. Start building your beautiful and functional site today.