What Steps You Should Take Before Redesigning Your Website?
Learn All About The 10 Crucial Steps To Keep In Mind Before Redesigning Your Website
With proper planning, research, and a little forethought, you can make your next website redesign a huge success and avoid unnecessary stress.
“Website redesign”. Two words that can make even the most veteran of marketers shy away.
When done right, a website redesign can improve the experience people have on your website and make it one of your most valuable sales tools. In fact, Marcus Sheridan, author of “They Ask, You Answer”, often calls his website his best sales rep.
However, when we take shortcuts and skip steps, a website redesign can easily go off the rails, costing your business valuable time, effort, and money, which could end up doing more harm than good to your marketing.
But don’t let these high stakes scare you.With proper planning, research, and a little forethought, you can make your next redesign a huge success and avoid unnecessary stress, and we’re here to help.
Here are the 10 essential steps:
- Audit your current site
The steps you take to prepare and plan for a website redesign are often a clear indicator of how successful your redesign project will be.
One of the most beneficial things you can do to get started is to complete a thorough audit of your current website.
An audit will give you a bird’s eye view of all the assets you have to work with and give you an idea of what is currently working well on your site and what is not.
- Understand the user journey
Similar to the buyer’s journey, a user journey traces the different stages a user goes through on their way to a purchase, focusing on the different actions and emotions someone might feel at each stage.
The only way to truly set yourself up for success is to understand what the user is looking for, what questions need to be answered, and how they will search for them on your website on the way to making a purchase.
An important question to ask yourself as you plan your redesign is “Are there any holes in your site’s user journey?”
- Set goals
There must be a reason why you need to redesign your website. Now is the time to dive into those reasons and set some specific goals.
With the amount of money and effort that goes into redesigning a website, success is critical. Setting realistic goals for your site as benchmark is crucial.
Based on what you discovered during your site audit, you should have a good idea of which areas of your site need improvement. This is a good place to start creating your goals.
- Define your strategy
With an understanding of your current website’s performance and a well-defined set of goals, you’re ready to create a strategy to achieve those goals.What should your strategy include? Make sure you develop a fully realized strategy:
- a) A new sitemap
During your site audit, chances are you’ve discovered some pages that worked great, some that no one ever visited, and some that you don’t even have a clue where they came from.
Your new sitemap is your chance to reorganize your existing pages, remove old ones, and add new ones that you might be missing out on.
- b) Messaging strategy
In the end, good web design is about helping and delivering the desired message effectively. To do that, you need to have a clear understanding of what your message is.
- c) Ideal user flow
User journey reflects the stages someone goes through when completing a purchase. On the other hand User flow lays out the particular steps someone would ideally follow within those stages for the completion of an action.
- d) Keyword research
Doing keyword research is an important step in optimizing your site for search and gaining insight into what your visitors are looking for.
Knowing the terms your ideal buyers are searching for allows you to use those same terms when writing your site content. Not only does this help you rank better in search engines, but it resonates better with your audience when they’re on your site.
- Set a timeline
With a plan in place for how you want to achieve your goals, it’s time to set a realistic timeline for doing so. The important word here is “realistic”. The timeline should indeed be realistic.
Remarkable websites take time.You don’t want to create a timeline that is too short and forces your team to rush through important steps or leaves too much time and lacks a sense of urgency.
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer to how long a website redesign will take. A lot depends on the size of your website and how many approval levels you’ll need down the road, but you should plan to spend 2-5 months on your redesign.
- Review and update (or create) your brand style guide
Your brand style guide is one of the most important tools your company has, and if you don’t currently have one, now is the time to create one!
Your brand is what people think of when they hear your company name or see your logo. It’s what you stand for and who you are as a company.
A brand style guide ensures that what you want your brand to say and what you are actually communicating are aligned. It is a set of guidelines that make your brand understandable.
- Craft your content
One of the hardest things for teams to do during a redesign is to focus on content after design. It’s easy for teams to get too enthusiastic and want to jump right into the design so they can see all their hard work start to come together. Plus, it’s generally the most enjoyable aspect.
They think, “We’ll just write the content later and wrap it around the layouts we’ve created.”
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make during a website redesign.
It pushes people into a mindset that content is more of an afterthought that can always be done later.
Not to mention, trying to fit content into an existing layout creates elements that rarely line up properly, often forcing you to make unforeseen design revisions or sacrifice the quality of your content.
- Start designing
Now is the time when your weeks of hard work come to life and begin to take shape. It can be tempting to dive in and start designing all of your pages, but instead, take it slow and make sure you get constant feedback along the way.
- Develop your site
Development is usually the final leg of any redesign. It’s been a long process to get to this point, so there’s a lot of anxiety that can accompany this step, but accelerated development can be a recipe for disaster and delays.
Spend enough time to get the site coded cleanly, following industry and SEO best practices, as well as the design you fell in love with.
- Launch your new site!
You have done it! You’re finally ready to launch your new site after months of auditing, planning, designing, and programming. That is super exciting!
Before launch, be sure to do a pre-launch review of your site to confirm that everything with your new site is in order and ready to go.
As you can see a lot of planning goes into creating a great website. Web design company in Los Angeles Small Biz Web Design Studio offers custom web design and development. Contact us for more information.