How To Plan A Website Redesign: Step-By-Step Guide With Videos
Let’s start with some good news; Since this is a web redesign, it means that you’ve had a website for a period of time and therefore have valuable information and past experience to draw on.
“Study the past if you would define the future“ – Confucius
At Executionists, over half our projects are website redesigns. A successful redesign can be distilled into the following 5 key steps:
ONE: Analyze current website performance.
If you don’t already have a way to analyze performance, most developers could add Google Analytics to your website in under 1 hour. By examining your analytics, you’ll mine a lot of valuable information that will help you strategize your redesign. Information like:
- Who uses your website?
- Which pages are the most popular?
- What does your audience do when on your site and how long do they stay?
One of the biggest issues we run into is that most businesses do not have the expertise to fully understand their website analytics and therefore they are missing key insights into their online traffic. The ability to drill deep into user behaviour and then translate it to useful data is not easy. Executionists has an in-house, Google certified, Marketing team whose expertise is analyzing tracking data. We strongly recommend thatbusinesses employ someone experienced in these skills to evaluate their data for them.
TIP: HotJar is a valuable analytical tool; it records user actions on your website. It displays “heatmaps” of your actual website pages along with an overlay of how far visitors scrolled down your pages, and how many times buttons were clicked.
There is no reason to “trust your gut” when analytics will provide real, actionable information.
TWO: Define goals and objectives.
We want to identify your business goals and see how your website performed against them. Whether the ultimate goal is to educate or motivate, here are some common business goals:
- Increase the visibility of your company and reach new audiences: There is a popular advertising theory that states that your brand must be seen seven times before someone will remember it, or buy from you. Whether that’s true or not, visibility matters. Increasing visibility means that the website serves to promote your business and brand online because it is referenced in ads, email signatures, communications, and the like.
- Obtain visitor information (data) via forms and other methods: Visitor information (whether from e-newsletters or web forms) is currency and holds great value if it is properly utilized. Unfortunately, most businesses, in our experience, don’t maximize the user information they have on hand.
- Get media and business information into the hands of your prospective clients: This information could be articles, white papers, forms, legal documents, product one-sheets, newsletters, video, audio, etc. Not only do these position you as an expert or leader in your field, but it helps build trust between you and your potential clients.
- Drive sales of a product or service via e-commerce: The sale of physical or digital goods and services is one of the most straightforward and easiest to track goals. Is your website an effective sales tool or not?
THREE: Create a sitemap (i.e. content organization).
A sitemap is a useful tool that allows the whole team to quickly understand the website structure and where information should be placed. Streamlining will not only make it easier for visitors to find content and your call to action, but it will also simplify the look of your website.
For detailed information on sitemaps, organization tips and best practices, click here.
FOUR: Get an estimate.
Next, get an estimate. Your estimate will include time for:
- SEO (search engine optimization)
An agency (like Executionists) is aware of design trends, new website functionality and new marketing methods that can increase the success of your redesign effort. Find out from them what best practices they use that can be applied to your website. An agency should bring a holistic view of the online landscape that takes into account your total online footprint. This includes social media, referral websites, online marketing and other channels that will affect your business. Getting the perspective of outside professionals provides valuable insight and is a practice that we always recommend.
For a more detailed breakdown of web redesign costs, read this article.
FIVE: Appoint a project manager.
We recommend identifying a Project Manager who will be the internal point person to manage your redesign effort. Below are some considerations when identifying this individual. They will need to be:
- Familiar with the organizational structure of the company.
- A strong (relentless) communicator.
- Able to dedicate at least half of their workday to the website redesign project.
- Familiar with the stakeholders within the business in order to facilitate communications, meetings, approvals, and gathering content.
The diagram below shows a potential client and agency team structure.
We’ve covered the general plan of attack, so you can embark on the redesign effort with your eyes wide open and prepared for all the critical issues. To sum up the five steps for planning your redesign:
- Analyze website performance.
- Define goals and objectives.
- Create a sitemap
- Get an estimate.
- Appoint a project manager.
Finally, although you can learn a lot of basic information from reading and watching this series, you can get much more specific and relevant information by discussing your redesign project with us. We *love* to brainstorm solutions with potential clients. You can call us directly at 310-754-3807, or fill out our email inquiry form.
To wrap up.
This redesign series also features 6 companion videos, below is a list of their titles and descriptions:
- How do I plan for a website redesign?: This article discusses how businesses can put the critical pieces in place and set the stage for a successful project. As the old adage goes, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” View Video >
- How to approach branding strategy for your redesign.: Branding is the cornerstone of your business; It’s your outside face to the world. In this article we discuss how a redesign is an opportunity for you to strengthen your brand. View Video >
- How to organize content for your redesign.: Content is still king. Website customers want relevant text content, compelling imagery and other media. We discuss how to approach your content strategy and organization for optimal usability. View Video >
- Technology considerations with redesigns.: Technology changes as fast as design trends and there are many ways to improve your website technology. We take a straightforward approach and provide sensible recommendations. View Video >
- SEO considerations with website redesigns.: Many businesses are in need of an SEO refresh and are missing opportunities for increasing the relevancy of their content. Watch this video if you want to maintain your search engine equity. View Video >
- Budgeting for your redesign?: This is a tough topic, it stands to reason that a redesign should cost less than the original website, right? But don’t fail to consider rising labor costs and increased technical and testing requirements on the mobile side. View Video >