13 min Read

Website Redesign Project Plan: The Ultimate Guide with Templates

13 min Read

Website Redesign Project Plan: The Ultimate Guide with Templates

Mike Sayenko

Introduction to Website Redesign

So you’re thinking about redesigning your website—that’s great! A website redesign is a fantastic opportunity to improve on the form and function of your site, for both tangible and intangible benefits to your business. For example, a redesign can:

  1. Improve your customers’ impression, trust and credibility of your brand
  2. Tell your brand story in an easy-to-understand way
  3. Drive more traffic
  4. Convert more of that traffic into business leads or revenue
  5. Help your site be the hub for marketing initiatives
  6. and many more

However, no matter if it’s a tweak or a complete overhaul, a website redesign project is a big undertaking that’s filled with risks. Making a detailed project plan that accounts for goals, timeline, cost, and curveballs is the first step to really getting a project off the ground. Read this article to understand every aspect of a website redesign and making a plan, plus get free templates and a website cost calculator to make your plan a success!

Statistics on Web Redesign

Before you dive in yourself, it’s a good idea to get the lay of the land. Plenty of companies have gone through website redesigns, so use these statistics to avoid making assumptions:

  • 75% of people judge business by its website (Stanford)
  • 51% redesigns launch late (Hubspot)
  • 63% redesigns go over budget (Hubspot)
  • 79% of marketers recommend refreshing web design at least every 24 months (Hubspot)
  • 33% people not happy with their redesign outcome, for a variety of reasons (Hubspot)

Overview of Your Redesign Plan

Start off with this checklist of steps and factors for your website redesign project plan. We’ll go into each in much greater detail throughout the article, so if you see a section that you want to explore more, just click it to see that part of the article. Plus, if you need to share the checklist with your team and other stakeholders, you can download it here.

1. Measure Analytics:

Note your core metrics, like traffic, conversions, and bounce rate to understand what you need to improve and give yourself a baseline to measure against.

2. Set Goals:

Working from your analytics and input from your stakeholder team, decide what the purpose of the redesign is. This helps you assign it a value to assess return on investment (ROI), and keeps expectations in reality.

3. Assess Risks:

Tie risks to potential timeline interruptions affecting your project team, budgetary concerns, and most importantly, your site’s functionality. During development and transition, core functions might not work—can your customers and business manage in the interim, and do you have a contingency plan?

4. Plan Costs:

Budget out the project in full, and add space for discovering problems and new things you need mid-project. Planning for things to go perfectly is setting yourself up for frustration.This again helps you assess potential ROI, but also helps you determine what kind of help you’re using and manage the expectations from your decision-makers.

5. Build Strategy:

Everything on the site should serve the goals of your business in some way—by planning out an acquisition and conversion strategy up front, you can focus on the essential pages and functions first.

6. Identify Personas:

There’s who you think your customers are, who you want your customers to be, and who they actually are. Use a combination of customer/sales staff conversations, analytics, and interviews and surveys to really figure out who you’re targeting.

7. Choose Platform:

Very few businesses create a website entirely from scratch, namely because a custom backend for the site isn’t manageable without the help of developers, which drives up maintenance costs. Popular platforms include WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix.

8. Make Sitemap:

The sitemap is a map of all the pages on your website, including what pages live under what organization in navigation and menus. This should tie into your strategy, targeting the journey of each of your personas.

9. Gather Content:

The copy (words), the images, and videos that populate a site are important to the overall experience and effectiveness of the site. Your content not being ready in time is also responsible for the majority of website redesign projects going off the rails. Assign someone specifically to this task now while the design is underway.

10. User Experience & Wireframes:

Building from the sitemap, you need to plan the user experience (UX) as they travel through the site towards the goals you want them to complete. Capture it in simplified sketches to help your web designers and developers understand the plan and prevent costly extra work.

11. Design & Visual Assets:

Have a vision in mind for the overall look and feel of the new website, including what elements from the existing brand will be pulled forward, and what need rebranding. Tie it into the strategy, and have lots of examples from sites you like that the web designers can use as a reference.

12. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

SEO is both a technical and creative practice, helping your website draw in organic traffic from Google and other search engines for terms relevant to your business. It really can’t be done well without expert advice, so plan this as part of your budget, and also make sure the platforms you use have some back end SEO features.

13. Pick a Partner:

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely not a developer, which means you’re going to need help. Using your goals, strategy, and budget, determine whether you’re going to try to DIY with a drag-and-drop site builder, hire one or more freelancers, or hire a web design agency in Seattle to help you pull it off.

Research your options carefully and launch a Website Design RFP (Request for Proposal).

1. Analytics and Metrics of Your Current Site

What’s working and what isn’t

The first step before committing to a website redesign project is understanding your current website. After all, how can you even set goals if you don’t know where you’re at? Once you analyze some key metrics to understand what’s working and what isn’t, you will be able to decide what you want a new website to do for your business. And once it’s complete, these metrics will form a baseline you can compare against.

Installing Google Analytics

If you don’t already have a website analyzer, you can always rely on the most popular free option, Google Analytics. Just install it following their official instructions. Some popular website builders have built-in methods of installing it: here are guides for Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix.

Key Metrics to Analyze

  • Traffic Over Time: Spend some time assessing overall traffic, and the overall trends. Try to identify spikes, especially if they coincided with big changes in the website.

  • Traffic Sources: It’s important to know where traffic is coming from in order to set goals. If there’s little from Organic Search, maybe SEO is a good thing to focus on in the redesign, for example.

  • User Behavior: You can see the “Behavior Flow” of aggregated users as they go from page to page of the site, which can help you craft a strategy for which pages you need to keep and which connections you need to make stronger.

  • Bounce Rate: This measures when visitors leave the site without clicking through to any other page—identify the drop off points and see if you can figure out why, so you can strengthen those weak points during the redesign.

  • Time on Page: There’s no “right” amount of time a user should spend on every page, it’s all contextual. But for example, if you have some killer long form content that takes 10 minutes to read and on average people spend 1 minute on it, that should be a red flag.

  • Goal Completions: These are custom for every site, and can measure anything from filling in a form to making an actual purchase. Learn how to set up goal completions here.

With these key metrics in place, you can start thinking about what you want to improve and prioritize in a website redesign project plan.

website redesign Key Metrics to Analyze

2. Goal Setting For Your New Site

Not to be confused with on-site goal completions, the goal of your website redesign should be what tangible and intangible things you want to achieve. You might have multiple, or even all of the examples below—be sure to use those as a guidepost as you prepare your budget, timeline, and other key parts of your project plan.

Common Website Redesign Goals

  • Improve the Visuals
    One of the most common reasons a website redesign comes to a head is an ugly, outdated, or otherwise unusable appearance. If your team is frequently embarrassed to share the site with prospects, or you find that your brand doesn’t have a lot of esteem, this is probably what you need the most. You’ll need the help of a web designer or web design agency, a strong brand guideline, and probably a middling budget to pull off a site with this need.

  • Improve the User Experience
    Customer complaints, frequent help desk tickets, and high bounce rates (leaving a web page without clicking on anything) all can signal difficulty navigating the website. A redesign with this in mind will require a UX specialist, a conversion strategist, and possibly even usability testing.

  • Increase Traffic
    Without visitors to the site, you can’t use it to turn a profit or generate business leads. One of the key ways that a site can increase traffic without spending on ads is through SEO, which requires an SEO specialist and often content writers. The technical SEO side will include providing proper markup and structured data when creating the site, and the content side requires that relevant, useful, and high-quality content is written frequently to draw in organic search traffic. If you don’t have a blog, you’ll need one in order to have an outlet to publish lots of said relevant content, which is vital for improving SEO rankings. Position your blog as a place to get educated on your business’ area of expertise, since that’s what most people search for. Note that blogs on modern websites require a CMS (Content Management System).

  • Increase Leads & Conversions
    If you’re getting visitors to the site, but they never take crucial steps like signing up for email marketing, filling in quote or contact forms, or making a purchase, then the traffic is just a vanity number. Consider whether the UX or messaging need improvement to get visitors to take these steps, or if the forms or shopping carts aren’t functioning perfectly.

  • Launch Marketing Initiatives
    For most businesses, the website is a hub for all sales and marketing efforts, even if they use 3rd party landing pages for ad campaigns and the like. A site with this goal would need to have trackers, heatmaps, marketing pixels, and well-scripted Events and Goal Completions in order to accurately attribute campaigns to the right efforts. A digital media specialist would be helpful here.

Website Redesign Questionnaire

Not sure where to start?

Download this Website Redesign Questionnaire to figure out what goals your business should be pursuing.

Website design rfp template

Not sure where to start?

Download this Website Redesign Questionnaire to figure out what goals your business should be pursuing.

  • By submitting my details through this form, I agree to the Privacy Policy

3. Risk Assessment for Redesigning Your Website

Because website redesigns are massive projects, they can come with a wide variety of risks that need to be considered when planning them. Review this risk checklist, and download it here if you need to share with other stakeholders.

  • Team Can’t Spare Time: Lots of businesses think they can hire an agency and then dust their hands and wait for a beautiful website in a few months, but that’s almost never the case. A good web design agency will require at least one point person to review at many different stages (like the ones outlined in this article), and to handle steps like identifying and gathering content which are time-intensive. And don’t forget decision-makers who are always busy—if they can’t spare the time to chime in, the project will get stuck at choke points frequently.

    Redesign projects can hum along for weeks without input if they get the feedback they need on time, so make it a priority, and if possible, assign someone specifically to be the project manager on your side.

  • Too Many Stakeholders: Speaking of decision makers, just how many cooks are in the kitchen for your website redesign project? If multiple strong and opposing opinions are given equal weight and time, they can halt the project in its tracks. Even worse is bringing in detached senior leadership for a once over near the end, only to have an issue that brings the project back to square one.

    Decide your lean project team and have them all present at each touchpoint with your freelancer or agency.

  • Lack of Strategy: If the website doesn’t have a defined strategy prior to design, it’s subject to the whims of every department and aesthetic trends, and the end result will be impossible to assess the success of.

    Start with the strategy, which should only flow from the baseline metrics you’ve analyzed.

  • Design First Approach: Because an ugly or outdated look is often top of mind on a website that’s getting redesigned, it’s easy for the team to excitedly pick out examples of how they want it to look and send the web designers to work. But design-first leads to disaster and rework. The design needs to serve the businesses goals and be able to fit the right content to help sell to your customers—both need to flow from the strategy.

    If you go backwards, you’ll get a site that doesn’t serve the business at all.

  • Too Much Content: They say content is king, and more content means better SEO—but that’s only if it has a plan behind it. Many businesses treat their website like a directory of everything they’ve ever done, which makes navigation and menus difficult to plan and navigate. A high-performance website can’t feature everything.

    Go back to your strategy and determine which things are core to the business and the goals of the site.

  • Site Function Disruption: During the redesign and especially during development, transition, and testing, core features of the site can be knocked offline, which can affect the business. If content isn’t displaying, form submissions aren’t being recorded, sales can’t go through, and customers can’t log in, that can have a tangible effect on revenue.

    This is one of the biggest reasons to rely on a professional web design agency who can manage and minimize the disruption to business.

  • SEO Disruption: If your current website has high ranking content and draws a significant portion of its traffic from organic search, that can be upended by a poorly planned website redesign.

    Make sure your partner has SEO experience and can manage redirects and sitemaps so that search traffic flows seamlessly to the new site and doesn’t plummet in rankings.

  • Too Low of a Budget: It’s tempting to negotiate to a price and then sit firmly on it, but if you’ve ever hired someone for a project you can’t do yourself, you need to be flexible. Your plumber may find leaks you weren’t aware of which drives the cost up in the middle of a repair, and similarly your web design agency may make you aware that you need a corporate blog, or you might learn about a complex feature you really want that’s not in scope.

    Many companies seeking website redesigns set an arbitrary price based on what they’re comfortable spending that season, when they should be doing market research to find out what pricing to expect for the type of site they hope to build. In any case, build in an extra 10-20% of the cost to set aside for increased scope, and you’ll never be caught off guard.

  • Blocked from Design Stakeholders: If your web design agency can’t talk to the stakeholders who will be reviewing the site, the redesign is sure to come out poorly.

    Either give your agency adequate access to stakeholders of this project (no matter how important they are), or don’t hire a web design agency in the first place.

Website Redesign Risk Assessment

Downalod the Risk Assessment Checklist

Because website redesigns are massive projects, they can come with a wide variety of risks that need to be considered when planning them.

Website design rfp template

Downalod the Website Design Risk Assessment Checklist

Because website redesigns are massive projects, they can come with a wide variety of risks that need to be considered when planning them.

  • By submitting my details through this form, I agree to the Privacy Policy

4. How Much Does a Website Redesign Cost?

The big question is the money, and the frustrating answer is “it depends”—but we’ve got some guidelines for you.

Key Factors to Website Cost:

What Kind of HelpType of WebsiteVisuals NeededAdvanced
Working on your own

If you don’t account for your time, you can get what is technically a website up on Squarespace or Wix on the cheap.

Brochure marketing site

The cost depends on the number and complexity of pages in a design. If your site just displays product and service information, and a way to contact you, it’s a brochure site.

All content ready

You have the images and videos you need for the site ready to go. It just needs to be designed and laid out.

Blog / Projects

Blogs and Projects/Case Studies are custom post types that allow you to easily manage and add your content on the backend. They need to be dynamic and filterable by category and search.

$12-$49/ mo.$10,000-$20,000$3,000-$15,000$1,000-$5,000
Hiring a Freelancer

Hire a web designer or developer to get the professional touch, but remember that they aren’t a jack of all trades, and can’t be skilled at everything your website redesign might need.

Membership site

If your site includes a portal for users and other more interactive features, you can expect a lot more to get it off the ground and maintained.

Sourcing from stock

If you need to purchase stock photos, icons and videos to round out the visual content of your site, there are a range of options, make sure you have a creative brief and guidelines for brand consistency and what you’re trying to communicate.


Automated chatbots and live chat systems for a site help users engage with customer service and navigate more easily.

$40-$100/ hr.$5,000-$10,000$100-$5,000$20-$100/mo.
Hiring a Web Design Agency

Get a seasoned team of professionals in SEO, copywriting, branding, design, and development working in tandem for the best results and accountability. Make sure they have a well-defined process, too.

Ecommerce site

This can involve all of the above plus a functioning shopping cart and other types of core store features, and they tend to be labor intensive.
Original content

Whether you’re hiring photographers, video editors, or infographic designers, original content is expensive, but always worth it for the end results.

Integrating custom APIs into your site to work with your existing technology stack always requires an experienced developer along with good documentation and or support.
$100-$200/ hr.$15,000+$1,000+$1,000+

And always add 10-20% in your accounting for the possibility of scope creep. Want a more in-depth and customizable estimate? Check out our Website Redesign Cost Calculator!

5. Start with Strategy

With an estimated cost and your business’ goals for the website in mind, you can start to work on a strategy. A strategy helps you focus your efforts on the aspects of the website redesign that help your business, which helps prioritize which information you put forward and where you spend your budget. Here are the different aspects to consider:

  • Conversion Strategy: Whether you’re getting leads through a form, getting phone calls from the contact page, selling products through a store, the conversion points are the most important part of the site. These end goals are what the site is for, so you should work backwards to the logical start points. This can be conceived of as a funnel, where the broadest group of visitors start at the top, and get whittled down as they travel through to only the most likely buyers who convert. Similarly, the most broad and simple content should live at the start, and only get more complex and specific as visitors prove their interest by reaching deeper pages on the site, like product and service pages.

  • Acquisition Strategy: This has a big overlap with advertising and marketing, and is concerned with how you get people to the site in the first place. If you are using ads, where should they lead on the site for the best chance of having an impact? If you’re sharing site content on social media, where should that content live on the site, and what is the next logical step a reader would take? Your acquisition sources should be met with logical pat