Occasionally it’s a good idea to give your website a new look. It also helps to get rid of outdated code, which slows load times and costs you valuable pageviews. It even makes you take a look at what you’re trying to do with your site on a broader level and how you’re visitors should react to each page.

I’ll be talking about a couple of secrets to help you smooth out the website redesign development. It should be something that happens at least once a week, but it’s a strong habit that should be exercised with every site you work on. If you’re feeling less enthusiastic about your current site design, it’s probably a good sign that you could use a new look.

Why is your site climbing?
This probably seems like a dumb question but I’ve watched a couple of webmasters sit down and ponder this quandary. What is the purpose of your website? How does your design mirror your ideas?

If you’ve never thought about these questions when you embarked on the site design journey the perfect time is to work on it during your new look phase. You already know what your visitors like. Maybe it’s the content, or they just like customizing their profile, or adding their own comments to previous posts. Whatever it is your visitors love to do, know it before you think about a new look.

This information is highly critical since it’ll help you understand what must be done with your current design and what could be done to better the overall experience. You could be thinking about adding a new widget to create some sort of interactivity, but it’s still missing, for whatever reason. The time is now to add the latest features. Make sure you research as much as possible before you put in the hours of brain sweat.

Your brand must be consistent
A new site design can be a grueling experience from a branding perspective. Most designers will know the difference, but they’ll end up with something completely different in the end.

If you want to rebrand your site it’s going to take a while. You have to come up with a new design for everything –schemes, images, logos, code, etc. It’s going to be like your building your site all over again.

Giving your site a new look is something smoother. The goal is to see what works and what doesn’t work. You then get rid of anything that performs poorly and switch it up with something that helps. Try going through trials for 4 different designs and see which one feels the most right.

Design around your visitors
The visitors you’re trying design around will vary from industry to industry. Each site has a unique angle and offers a different service than the next guy. Therefore, it’s pretty damn important to you know who you’re dealing with from the start.

This is a pretty simple step. You just have to know your niche and where you want to be in your market. If you run a site focusing on social media news you should take a look at Mashable or TechCrunch. Take a look at their designs and think about who visits them on a daily basis. Does your site have any of the same features?

A tech site is just one of millions of niches that can be found on the net. Google is your greatest tool for any job since you can customize your search queries and search by keywords or content that’s related to your own site. Know the type of people you want to bring to your site – teens, mid 20s, geeks, nerds, hipsters, Apple fanboys. Once you know who you’re working for it’ll be a simple chore to bring them through your digital doors.

Know your sites weaknesses
The weaknesses in your site where visitors lose interest, become irritated, or just get lost and leave your site completely. Not every site will have this problem, but it’s still a good idea to go through the same troubleshooting process and see if you can spot any obvious flaws.

From the casual browser experience, it could be anything. Your navigation bar is too bright or hard to see, maybe letters are not spaced far apart enough or pictures take up too much real estate. I advise you poll your audience to help you out during the new site phase. They’re the ones who will look at it every day. Their opinions should be high on your list of priorities as a designer.

If you have a hard time spotting any flaws in your design you should consider pages that seem out of place or just awkward. It’s not really a weakness for your visitors, but if you think it doesn’t look right, others will feel the same way. Try tweaking page elements to see if you can a part of your site. Outlining a design layout on a whiteboard can help you out when brainstorming has slowed to a crawl.

I know designers have a hard time letting things go. This is particularly true when it comes to past or present work. However, your visitors do not have this same type of mindset, and you must change as your site expands and begins to form a community.

These are just some tips off the top of my head to help you before you start to redesign your site. It’s a good habit to get into every three to six months to relax and think about new features, casually updating three times a year. It holds your visitor’s attention and sets you apart from the rest of the pack.