Creating a website that is both functional and aesthetic is not an easy task. In this article, we will guide you through the process of preparing a site outline step by step.
Redesigning a website is very common among online businesses. Trends evolve constantly and those who are lagging behind might see huge drops in sales. If you are at the stage of planning a website redesign, be sure to read our guide, in which we will go through the entire process step by step.
When is it time to redesign your website?
How to decide whether your company website needs a “facelift”? Are you wondering whether it lives up to your customers’ expectations? We have prepared the 7 most frequently mentioned reasons that made entrepreneurs change their site! Maybe you will decide to redesign your website based on them!
Website aesthetics that embody the first attempts at making professional online spaces rather than modern online projects is one of those factors that significantly influence consumer decisions. Many people will be convinced that the whole company works in an ineffective and outdated manner if its website homepage looks old and far from today’s standards. Such an outdated website is especially dangerous if your offer consists of various services. Imagine entering a website of a brand that offers social media support, but its home page and subpages resemble projects made in the 90s, images have low resolution and there are no links to the managed social media profiles. Would you entrust your company’s social media image to that firm?
Time is money. In today’s world, every minute of our lives is the greatest asset we have. Users do not want to waste it on long-loading photos or the slow opening of subpages. The moment you notice that your site is slowing down, make sure to fix that issue as soon as possible.
Many entrepreneurs decide to change their websites from simple information or catalog presentations to online stores for the purpose of selling their products. It could be noticed especially at the start of the pandemic, which made online shopping even more popular.
Changes in the business model
When the company’s business model changes, it is very often necessary to change the current site at least a little in order for it to match the new communication, name or overall image.
Failure to comply with the user experience rules
User experience is nowadays the foundation of every online activity. If your website does not comply with these rules, you can be sure that your sales will drop significantly, or will simply not go up at all, and your competition will take over your clients. Nowadays, customers have a huge range of service providers and sellers to choose from. Therefore, they focus on those who offer them simple, effective and quick solutions, e.g., fast online stores, where the purchase and payment does not exceed two minutes.
Company name change
The change of the company’s name is often followed by big image changes. Do not forget to adjust your website to match the new message of your brand.
Disregarding search engine optimization
SEO is one of the most important factors that allow users to find your website on the Internet. Optimizing your site to suit search engine needs is extremely important, especially if you are just starting your journey as an entrepreneur.
How to manage a website redesign project – the first step
The entire redesign process should be carefully thought out and meticulously planned. Before you decide to delegate this task to someone or start changing things yourself, you should get acquainted with all current trends. Your new website should not only fit in with what is fashionable at the moment, but also respond to the trends that the Internet world deems important in the near future. You need to carefully analyze what UX rules are in place today because even the most aesthetic website will not defend itself if it is not tailored to the users’ needs. So how should you prepare?
First of all, read reports on current trends in web design, check competitors’ websites, and analyze solutions that you would like to use yourself. Perhaps you will be able to transfer some of them to your page. There is nothing wrong with getting inspired by your competitors’ sites, but copying them entirely is not only wrong, but also frowned upon by clients – there are legal repercussions as well.
Effective website redesign strategy – the basics
Start the initial analysis by answering the questions to ask when planning a website redesign. Only specific, developed and properly structured responses will allow you to get a good start.
5 questions to ask when planning a website redesign
1. What does not work on my website?
Start by determining how your current website can be improved and why. Are your subpages placed in the most efficient order? Maybe the aesthetics do not match the industry you work in. Is your contact form straightforward? Every detail matters, even the smallest one.
2. What is my website’s conversion rate?
The next step is to analyze Google Analytics data of your current site and ask yourself if your metrics are at a satisfactory level. We are talking about the number of visits, organic search traffic, interactions, site speed, the demographic data of the website visitors, analyze user behavior flow and so on. Analyze Google Search Console Performance report to check what terms people use to find your website in search engine results. Check that your current site performs well on mobile devices. Only a careful analysis of the results of an existing website can help you in forming the first image of how it should be improved. Answer the question in which areas you can improve the website’s performance.
3. Should the function of my website change?
You also need to define the purpose of your website. Does it stay the same or do you want to do a complete website revamp? Let’s use an example. If the website is a typical presentation of your company and you do not want to change that, then the metamorphosis will probably include content, colors and photos only. These changes are small, and their implementation will certainly not take long nor consume a lot of money. However, if you want to transform it into an online store, the entire website will need a thorough rework which might consume a lot of time and finances.
4. What is my business model?
Make sure that your website fits your business model. A website redesign process is required in 99% of cases after changing the way your business operates.
5. Am I reaching my target audience?
Compare the data you have collected with the users’ demographic currently visiting your website. Think about what you can change if your target audience is unable to find your business, or how you can maintain or increase the number of visits. You also need to find out what your users like and dislike about your site. You can do this through a newsletter or social media. Encourage your customers to express their opinion.
Only a good, multi-level analysis will allow you to create a foolproof website redesign project plan, which will be the basis for the efficient and effective course of action for web developers. If you are not able to answer all these questions on your own, you do not have time for it, or you simply have no idea how to go about it, you can order a professional audit of all or some of the issues that interest you. If you know the current trends well, but do not have sufficient experience in the field of UX, you can simply buy an UX audit!
Website redesign planning guide
Let’s move on to how to complete a website refresh project plan step by step.
The first thing you need to take care of is visual identification. When redesigning your website, you have to choose the colors, fonts, photo filters, and all the other elements that may seem insignificant, but will ultimately have a huge impact on how your website looks. Do not use only the elements you like. Use psychology of color, analysis of the influence of color on perception, as well as the industry trends as a reference. Red cars are considered faster for a reason, so let’s keep an open mind!
Knowledge of web design trends and own capabilities
When you are done with the basics, you can finally focus on graphics specification. As we have already mentioned, it is worth knowing the current web design trends. Among the most popular are: minimalism, geometry, dark mode, white space and illustrations. However, the theme you ultimately choose should depend on your overall corporate identity, preferences, budget, and the industry you work in. Why is the state of your finances important? If you want to hire an illustrator, you must bear in mind that the redesign cost will be incomparable to using a minimalistic template that can be purchased for several dozen pounds.
Remember, however, that a successful website redesign involves more than just the theme and colors. Pictures are also important, especially if you want to sell products or create some kind of an online catalog. Nowadays, all 3D images are very well received by the customers. The same applies to the dynamic motion technology, which, as the name suggests, allows the images to move in various directions. Of course, as in the case of illustrations, such solutions are much more expensive. If you do not have a big budget, make sure to use high-quality photos that will highlight the product well and match the visual identity of the entire website.
Redesign your website without losing SEO
Another point that your website redesign project plan should cover is, of course, search engine optimization.
How much does a website redesign affect SEO? It can have a huge impact. If SEO is not included when planning a website redesign, there is a high risk of traffic drop after website launch. The most common mistakes made when redesigning a website include: SEO-unfriendly site structure, removing well-performing subpages, changes in the content that do not take SEO optimization into account and a lack of redirecting links. Such negligence can result in the loss of your current rankings and traffic from search engines – rebuilding them might take months. That is why it is so important to involve a SEO specialist to help you during the redesign process.
A properly planned and conducted SEO migration will not only minimize the risk of a negative impact of the redesign, but also increase the organic traffic and rankings in the long term.
Website redesign vs. content
Content marketing is nowadays an absolute foundation of any promotional activities because of its multilevel importance. It allows you to establish relationships with your customers. A good product description that is reliable, interesting and engaging can have a direct impact on your sales or at least brand recognition. High-quality site content also allows you to optimize SEO. Thanks to the texts contained on the website, Google algorithms can consider it valuable for a given query, and thus, they will display it at the top of the search results, right below the ads. Well planned content strategy will help you in acquiring more customers who are looking for something on Google or other search engines. How does that work? Let’s say that you are in the business of selling women’s leather shoes. Your website is SEO optimized and described appropriately with the “women’s leather shoes” long-tail keyword. The Google algorithm will consider your website to be valuable and display it higher in the search results to people who enter that key phrase.
It is also worth remembering that the website content is not limited to descriptions of products or categories only, but encompases all texts on website pages and the company blog – which is also very important in many industries.
Good website navigation
Pay extra attention to the subpages. If so far your website has only served as a presentation of your company, and now you want to expand it, for example with a blog section, or completely rearrange to be able to sell products, your project plan for website redesign should contain a detailed schedule concerning the division into specific subpages. Nowadays, having good navigation is essential.
How to successfully project manage a website redesign – can I do it by myself or do I need help?
It is time to get to work. You cannot do a great website redesign without a thorough and detailed website redesign plan. There are two options, do everything yourself or hire someone to do it for you. You can rebuild the site on your own if you have sufficient competence, time and will. However, remember that doing a “face-lift” of a website is not the same as creating a new one. Not only do you have to find yourself in the meanders of what has already been done, but above all, complete the rebuild as soon as possible. The site must be shut down for the shortest possible time, as each day of delay translates into losses in sales. The second option is to outsource the entire process. You can hire a web design agency that deals with website redesigns on a daily basis. It is best if the same company that built a website redesign strategy for you builds the website. It will make it much easier for them to understand your needs and prepare the final product that will be the embodiment of your ideas.
How to manage a website redesign project in cooperation with a contractor
Are you wondering what to look for when working with a web design agency that deals with website redevelopment? Of course, the reputation of the contractor, opinions from previous clients and how their own website looks are important. But there is more! There are a few things to keep in mind.
- Ask about the experience. Do not reject companies with a small portfolio of website redesigns right away, but keep in mind that those who have been working in the industry for many years and have many redesign projects under their belt, will be able to offer you a more extensive service. This is especially important if you are planning a major website revamp – from a simple company presentation to an e-commerce site. Be sure to ask for a portfolio with website redesign projects. This will give you the basis to evaluate the work of a given web design agency.
- Ask for an offer, preferably in several variants. Which one you ultimately choose depends on whether you want to outsource only the activities to the company, or also the strategy or website redesign project plan template. Even if you know exactly what you need, it is worth analyzing the various options as you may decide to cooperate more broadly to save yourself some time.
- Make sure to read the contract carefully before making any decisions. That document will be your guarantee of a properly performed service, so how it is structured is of great importance.
- Ask for a detailed website redesign schedule. This will allow you to assess whether your needs have been understood and to determine the time in which the site will be completed.
- Ask the hired company to specify the budget for all the activities and the payment method. It is also worth comparing the price offers of different companies. However, remember to never choose a contractor based only on their price. This is a common trap that clients who want to save fall into.
- The firm should assign you a project manager who will take care of monitoring all aspects related to the web redesign project. Ask for their exact contact details. Remember to also ask for their supervisor’s contact information in case the cooperation with a given guardian does not go smoothly.
Website redesign project management – how to manage it by yourself
Have you already decided that you will do the website redesign by yourself? It does not mean that you do not have to prepare a specific, well-thought-out work plan with an achievable time frame. How to plan a website redesign?
- First, of course, you need to go through the existing website and prepare a concept, as mentioned earlier.
- Then you have to decide if all technical aspects, such as server, domain or website content management system, remain the same or whether you want to change them as well.
- Next, create a detailed work schedule. Your website redesign project timeline should include individual tasks and deadlines for their completion. Discipline is very important, especially when working alone. Setting up deadlines and respecting them will help you finish the project sooner.
- Look at the task list and decide whether you need to outsource one or two because you cannot handle them yourself, e.g., taking photos, writing descriptions, connecting some functionalities.
- Prepare the “starting content” (texts, photos and so on).
- Get to work as soon as possible!
Website redesign guide – prelaunch testing
With the conceptual and technical work done, it is time to test your site. This part is as important as making the changes! Unfortunately, it often happens that the website after reconstruction does not work as well as you would like it to. That is exactly why it is crucial to evaluate the changes before releasing them. There is nothing worse than hyping your customers up about a new version of your website and then having it crash constantly. Site function disruption might cause them a lot of frustration.
There is a considerable number of things to remember after website redesigns. First of all, you have to go through every subpage step by step, read each text, click on all photos and check if functionalities work properly. Try using the contact form, check if the links to social media profiles work and so on.
If you run an online store, be sure to assess the shopping path, if the customer can easily make a payment, confirmation emails come in the right form, and what the order record in content management system looks like. Testing is very important not only from the brand image point of view, but also for more pragmatic reasons. You can save a lot of time by having a well-functioning website, which would have to be otherwise spent on responding to user complaints.
The impact of a website redesign on your business
The decision to change the way a website looks and functions is usually business related. It changes the brand’s visual identification and manner of communication. When redesigning your website, do not forget to redesign parts of your business as well.
1. You need to adapt your social media to the new color scheme.
As you know, customers often recognize companies because of the colors, logos, or the way of communication. So if you have decided that your website should have one leading color, or be, for example, in pastel or neon shades, it is also worth introducing it on your social media profiles. How to plan that? You can prepare, for example, a board for Facebook posts in the same colors or use icons from the website to pin on the highlighted reports.
2. Set up a newsletter
Mailing lists are one of the best methods to communicate with your clients. Make sure that the graphic design of the messages you send is maintained in the same color scheme as your new website.
3. Customize online advertising
All landing pages and advertising campaigns, e.g., on Instagram or Facebook, should share common elements with your new website. This is the only way to build a coherent brand image. Of course, they do not have to be the spitting image of your redesigned website, nor do they have to look the same every time. That would become boring! Use at least one, even small, but consistent element that will make users immediately know whose ad they are seeing.
4. Update traditional advertising methods
If you use traditional forms of promotion, e.g., flyers, banners or business cards, be sure to change them as well. This way, when entering your redesigned website, people will know that they are in the right place.
Are you looking for a company that specializes in website redesign services? Then you are in the right place! We have completed many such projects, so we can certainly help you grow your business. Have a look at a sample of what we can do by clicking here. Are you interested in hiring us? Be sure to prepare a website redesign request for proposal so we can get back to you with an offer!