Website redesign is one of the most rewarding projects any growth-focused business can undertake. It optimizes your site for findability, improves responsiveness, gives you more control over how users experience your brand, among other benefits.
But there's no way around it: a successful website redesign takes optimal preparation and planning. You must know why the redesign is necessary and what you want from the project, so you don't end up with an ill-fitting solution that doesn't meet your needs. This guide will walk you through the steps needed to prepare for a successful website redesign.
How to Prepare for a Successful Website Redesign
1. Audit your existing website
Before you embark on a web redesign project, you should conduct an audit of your current website. The goal is to identify areas that could improve as well as determine which ones to prioritize.
- How responsive is the website? Responsiveness is a key web design factor, as it tells whether a website is optimized for mobile devices. If your website isn't fully responsive, it won't display well on mobile devices.
- Is my branding consistent across channels? Branding is important because it helps define who you are and what your company stands for. So it's essential to keep your brand consistent across all platforms.
- Does the content on the website focus on the current target audience? When people visit your website, they expect to see information or products that solve their problems.
- Is my website easy to navigate? Navigation is one of the most critical elements of any website design. It determines how easily users can find what they're looking for. Ensure that the navigation works effectively and is intuitive.
- Are there any UX friction points? User experience (UX) determines how easily users interact with your website. If your website is slow to load, users might leave without buying anything.
- How are our current SEO efforts performing? To improve your SEO metrics, review Google Analytics to help determine which pages perform the best and which ones either need a content revamp or complete elimination.
2. Understand who the website is for (buyer personas)
Once you've identified potential improvements and prioritized them, you'll need to understand who your website is designed for. Here are a few tips to help with that:
- Define or refine your buyer personas - This will help you understand what type of people are visiting your website. You can then develop content that speaks directly to those individuals.
- Identify pain points - Pain points are things that cause frustration for your target audience. They are usually related to usability issues like slow loading times, poor navigation, confusing forms, etc.
- Determine how to resolve the pain points - That involves identifying features and benefits of services that can help fix the pain points.
- Identify what's missing in your site that you should add - Is there something you suspect the personas may be searching for but don't know about yet? Or maybe you think they would benefit from a specific feature?
3. Establish website goals
The next step is to establish clear objectives for your website redesign. These include:
- What do I want my website visitors to accomplish when they land on my page? How do I want them to feel after viewing my website? What kind of emotions am I trying to evoke?
- What does success look like for me? Do I want more traffic, more leads, more sales? Do I want more subscribers, more conversions, more customers, more money?
4. Define a website strategy
Now that you have established your goals and objectives, you'll need to identify what tools and resources you need to achieve them. Your plan should include:
- Page strategy - Which pages should you include in top navigation? And which ones should be included in footer navigation?
- Messaging strategy - What is the messaging for each stage of the buyer's journey (awareness, consideration, decision)?
- Content strategies - What types of content will you create? What sections are needed on the page for each stage of the buyer's journey?
- Design strategies - Which design elements will you use?
- Marketing strategies - How will you promote your website?
- Keyword optimization strategy - What keyword research tools and features will you use?
5. Analyze the competition
You're now ready to analyze your competition. Start by looking at competitors' websites and see what they’re doing well and what they’re not doing well.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What are their strengths?
What are their weaknesses?
Which pages are similar to yours?
Which pages are unique?
How can we set ourselves apart from the competition?
6. Create your content/message for each section
Once you've analyzed the competition, it's time to start creating content for each section of the buying process. For example, if you offer services, your goal in the awareness stage is to help your audience what the problem is so they understand how your solutions will help their problem down the road in the consideration stage.
Here are a few more things to consider:
- What message do you need to address the different stages of the buyer's journey?
- What existing or additional assets will you need to develop? (i.e., lead magnets, ebooks, webinars, videos, testimonials, etc.)
- Map out key page flow that outlines which section will be focused on which stage of the buyer's journey.
Once you have all the information you need, it's time to
begin your website redesign. Whether or not you are using an in-house team or will be looking for a partner to complete the actual design work, here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help the design process of your new site:
- Gather inspiration for visual style (colors, imagery, graphics, typography, iconography, etc.)
- Use a responsive framework - This ensures that your website looks good across all devices. It also allows you to easily update the layout without worrying whether it will work on mobile phones or tablets.
- Ensure you have a strong call-to-action button - The CTA should be large enough for users to see it clearly at any size. Also, be sure to place it strategically throughout the page so that people can find it quickly.
- Focus on creating the best user experience by following best practices and helping visitors understand how something works.
You may or may not have internal resources for completing development in-house but understand that coding is a critical part of building a successful website. You don't want to rush through it just because your website needs to be live. Instead, ensure your development team will have the resources as well as the time available to get the job done right.
Here are a few coding best practices to keep in mind:
- Keep code clean and organized - Make sure there isn't too much clutter on the screen. Use white space wisely to help readers focus on what matters most.
- Avoid using tables - Tables are great for presenting data but not for displaying text. They take up valuable real estate on the screen and often cause issues with readability.
- Avoid inline styles - Inline styles modify a particular element's appearance. However, this approach also makes it difficult to maintain consistency between elements.
- Ensure your CMS is user-friendly and responsive - A well-designed CMS helps reduce development costs and increase efficiency. Make sure it's easy for developers to add custom functionality and that it scales well for both desktop and mobile.
9. Test & Launch
Now that you've built your new website, the next step is to test and launch it! That entails taking some time to review the website before going live.
Here are a couple of things to think about during testing:
- Test the speed - Most websites load slowly. If yours takes longer than 3 seconds to load, then you're doing something wrong.
- Check the usability - Does everything look clear and intuitive? Are links working properly? Is there anything missing from the navigation menu?
- Check the accessibility - Do users have trouble accessing content due to color blindness, vision impairment, dyslexia, or other disabilities?
- Focus on any broken links - Broken links indicate that someone may have accidentally removed a link. Fixing them is a quick way to improve the overall quality of your website.
10. Never stop updating your website
Once your website goes live, you should continue maintaining and optimizing it. The goal is to continuously improve your site's performance while keeping it relevant and engaging. You also want to experiment with ideas through A/B testing, continue adding new content and marketing funnels, add new functionality as needed.
Over to you!
If you implement these ten steps correctly, we guarantee you'll end up with a beautiful, functional website that performs better than ever. But as a growth-focused business owner, your schedule is already occupied with more business-related responsibilities like managing your employees and exploring new markets. You may be thinking you can barely find the time to devote to your website.
That's where we come in handy! Inbound Design Partners is a team of highly talented web design professionals who will work closely with you to create a stunning website that meets all your goals and objectives. We understand how busy you are, so our process is overly straightforward. We'll provide you with a detailed scope of work, and we'll stick to it. Our focus is solely on delivering a conversion-focused website redesign that will turn your traffic into high-quality leads.
So what are you waiting for? Contact us online today to get started on your next great project!