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:
- Improve your customers’ impression, trust and credibility of your brand
- Tell your brand story in an easy-to-understand way
- Drive more traffic
- Convert more of that traffic into business leads or revenue
- Help your site be the hub for marketing initiatives
- 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 to help you pull it off.
Research your options carefully and launch a Website Design RFP (Request for Proposal).