Planning a Website Redesign? Follow These 7 Steps

By Craig Johnston
Web Design 16.08.2021

Just like a physical store or office space, remodelling and updating your website is an important part of keeping your business an up-to-date and appealing space. However, there’s much more to a website redesign than a fresh, new look. By rebuilding the site from the ground up, the redesign process upgrades your website for improved functionality, better content quality, and faster performance, creating the best possible user experience and customer journey – and becoming the foundation of successful digital marketing strategies.

What is a Website Redesign and Why Does My Business Need One?

A website redesign is a complex project that updates your online presence to be fully in line with consumer expectations, your business goals, and your customer journey. The design team addresses the layout, content, navigation, and coding to update the frontend (customer experience of your website) as well as the backend (the coding, functionality, compatibility, and the management of your website) of the site, and should be revisited periodically to ensure continuous improvement and refinement.

Your website is your digital identity and, for many customers and clients, it’s the first interaction they will have with your business. So, it makes sense that you would want this to be a great first impression.

Like old buildings, websites become out-of-date as they age, looking dated and tired, and not offering the capabilities that customers want and expect from modern technology. When business owners can’t deliver this, it makes your business look less relevant and it’s easy for customers to move to a competitor who can. This is especially important if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, if you can’t offer e-commerce functionality, or if your website loads very slowly.

This can also affect your search engine optimisation (SEO) because of changes that major search engines like Google regularly make to their algorithms. Old websites tend to lack what these search engines are looking for or have used SEO practices that have fallen out of favour over the years, which make your website harder for customers to find as a result.

So, if you think a website redesign is what your business needs, where do you start?

Step 1 – Audit Current Website

To set goals for your new business website, the issues in your current website need to be identified. Your design team will complete a thorough evaluation, but it’s still a good idea to pull up at least the last 3 months of analytics reporting if you have Google Analytics or analytics tracking enabled. Heat maps can also help you track how people are navigating and spending their time on your website. The key indicator to look at include:

  • High bounce rates
  • Low total traffic per month
  • Conversion rates
  • Most popular pages

In addition, you should run free speed tests (GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Page Speed Online) to evaluate site performance, and check to ensure that your website has SSL certification and HTTPS protocol. It’s also a good idea to look at competitor websites and perform a competitive analysis to see how their websites differ from yours in terms of performance, functionality, and user experience.

Step 2 – Set Goals and Source Your Team

You should now have a clearer idea of what it is you want your website to do and how you want it to look. Write up a list of business goals for your website, including top priorities and nice-to-have features. This will be the start of your web redesign project strategy and will help you get more accurate quotes from web development teams.

When looking for a web development team, look for expertise that is relevant to your industry (who understand B2B and/or B2C businesses), who have a portfolio of past projects you can look at, and who offer web strategy, web design, and web development specialists to cover all your bases.

Step 3 – Prioritise User Experience

Today’s most effective business websites aren’t developed from the perspective of the business itself. Instead, they focus on the experience of a visitor to the website and become an important element in the overall marketing and content strategy. This helps to create a very user-friendly and positive experience, drawing potential customers in and supporting them at each stage of the customer journey.

To achieve this, the visitor must be at the centre of the design process, and this perspective should be carried through in all design elements, the user interface, website functions, calls to action, website content, and more. 

Step 4 – Website Structure

First, your team will come up with a website structure – an architectural plan for how your website will work. This includes navigation elements, the site map, main pages, responsive design coding, and core functions. Today, it’s critical that websites are functional on all types of devices and browsers, and that it works flawlessly on mobile. With many people relying on their mobiles and tablets to do quick searches for products and services, it needs to both load quickly and be highly functional on these devices.

Step 5 – Design to Draw in the Crowds

The design phase is focused on visual elements – how your website will look and feel to a visitor, and this drives that all-important first impression. Look at current trends to see what innovative businesses are doing and explore how they can work for your business. Don’t get too caught up in these, however, and remember that it’s more important that your website supports and showcases your brand. 

Your design team can advise you on what trends have good staying power, what design elements will create a positive customer experience without slowing your website down, and how to bring these design elements together to create a clean, cohesive, and uncluttered look.

Step 6 – The Development Phase

Now your website can start being built, with developers coding your vision into a reality. During this phase of the redesign process, developers will add in content management systems, work with best practices determined by search engines, and build out complex functionality such as e-commerce systems, third-party integrations, and membership systems. Copywriters can work with your development team to write up your website’s content, including SEO-rich pages, calls to action, policies, and more.

Step 7 – Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

The last thing business owners want is to launch a website and get flooded by customers who are experiencing problems, which is why testing is so important. Split testing and usability testing is an essential step in a successful website redesign strategy, allowing your team to iron out bugs, improve underperforming areas, and make small but meaningful changes to make sure your website runs smoothly. Once this is complete, you’re ready to launch!

Yellowball is a multi-award-winning digital agency specialising in website redesign, content marketing and digital marketing strategies. Let us show you what your website is truly capable of, contact us today.

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