It’s no secret that your website is one of the most important things your business has. After all, it’s often the first thing prospective customers see when they’re researching your services. But the web changes quickly, and your old website might not be cutting it. Many redesign their websites because they want a site that’s optimized for mobile. Maybe it’s too difficult to add new content, or maybe the site looks outdated. Maybe you never liked the site, and feel like the whole thing needs to be overhauled. Here are some signs it may be time for a redesign:
- Your needs have changed, and your website no longer meets your needs
- It’s difficult for you and your team members to update site content
- The site looks outdated and stale, and needs to feel modern and fresh
- The content on the site is hard to read and understand
- You want to incorporate content marketing and SEO strategies
- You are selling products on your site, and want higher conversion rates
Whatever the case, a website redesign is a large project, and you have to prepare. You should assess your goals, decide how you’re going to manage the project, and determine what content you already have, and what content you need to create.
Today, we’re sharing a checklist on how to prepare for a website redesign:
❏ Item #1: Assess your goals
Why do you want to redesign your site, and why is now the right time to do it? Maybe you’re redesigning as a personal project, or perhaps your team decided it was time. Before you embark on a redesign, you should evaluate your website platform, is your host meeting all your needs? Some web hosts, can help give your site a great platform and even help you optimize it. Once you have evaluated your host, you need to think through your goals and priorities. You should sit down and write out some bullet points on what you want from a new site. Break it into two categories: function and design. For example, Allstate Insurance needs a website that makes it easy for customers to request quotes, and become leads in the system. The website is functional, and has a nice design, too. It’s not a flashy, modern site, but it meets Allstate’s goals.
❏ Item #2: Decide how
Some companies, especially those that sell products over the internet like Amazon, have entire teams dedicated to web design and development. They have hundreds of people working to make sure the site looks good and functions well. But smaller businesses don’t have that option. Some may have a web development team on staff, especially if they sell online, but others rely on third-party vendors to ensure their website is up to snuff. Depending on the type of platform you use, they may offer web design services, this a good cost effective option for a small business. When doing a website redesign, you have to ask yourself how you’re ultimately going to get it done. Should you use your existing staff, hire a freelance web developer, a local agency, or use a combination of all? The choice depends on specific needs, so don’t be afraid to explore a handful of different options before getting started. If you’re struggling, Blue Fountain Media put together a helpful resource-- 10 questions to ask before hiring a web development company.
❏ Item #3: Do a content audit
What content is on your site right now? Is there much of it that you want to keep? What stays in a redesign, and what gets discarded? What new content needs to be created? Content contributes to positive SEO, brand recognition, and can help customers, so you don’t want to throw away everything you have. Still, now is the time to get rid of bloat. During a content audit, you should go through each page on your site to assess what stays, and what goes. The best way to do this is in a spreadsheet. The other thing to keep in mind is that many of your URLs are out there on the web-- on other websites, emails, and on social media. When you transfer to a new site, you need to make sure all current URLs are accounted for. If they don’t have a page of their own, they need to be redirected to another page.
❏ Item #4: Draft a new site map
After you’ve done a content audit, you can draft a new site map. A sitemap is is a list of pages on your website. Sometimes, sitemaps are shown as a list. Other times they are shown in categories A sitemap can help you visualize what your site will look like, and where all the content will fit together in a redesign. Creately has a variety of sitemap templates you can use to create a sitemap. If you’re struggling to come up with a sitemaps that meets your needs, you can enlist a freelance web developer or agency for help with this step.
❏ Item #5: Check out your competition
You don’t want to do exactly what your competition is doing -- you can never be sure if it’s working for them. However, it’s helpful to see how the competition is positioning themselves online. For example, if Birchbox, a subscription beauty box, wanted to redesign their website, they might check out how Ipsy, another subscription beauty box, is marketing themselves online. Birchbox’s current site is more complex than Ipsy’s, which goes for a simple value proposition and call to sign up. You shouldn’t copy your competition, but you should assess what you like and don’t like about their sites before embarking on your own redesign. You should also look at websites outside of your industry for inspiration.
❏ Item #6: Decide who the website is for
One of the most important things you can do when redesigning your website is to assess who the website is for. Deciding who the website is for will dictate the copy, images, and functionality of the site. A website built for graphic designers should be different than one built for doctors and nurses. It’s essential to know your audience as you go into a redesign. At this stage, you should look into your analytics to find out where people come to your website from. If they come from social media, you want to provide them with an experience that makes sense coming from a site like Facebook or Twitter. If they come via email, you want to make sure they’re landing on the right pages as well.
❏ Item #7: Gather your team together
It’s not just you who is redesigning the website. It’s a big job, and it’s not something you can do alone. Get your team together to get their perspective. In a meeting, ask them:
- What are your number one priorities for a new website?
- What’s the single worst thing about our current website?
- What feedback have you heard from leads and customers about the site?
- What are websites you admire? What site do you wish ours was like?
- What would your ideal process be for getting this done?
- How do you see us integrating our website with other initiatives, like sales, marketing, etc.?
❏ Item #8: Make sure you have all necessary assets
It can take a long time to redesign a website if you’re not organized. You need to make sure you have all necessary assets -- copy, images, logos, and everything else-- so that whoever is redesigning your website has everything they need to get started. This may seem daunting, but being organized at the get-go will make things much easier down the line. You’ll waste a lot of time if you have to hunt down assets every time your web designer needs something. Before you start the redesign, figure out everything you need. Consider using spreadsheets coupled with a project management tool such as Trello, Basecamp, or Asana.
Preparing for a website redesign
A website redesign is a big project, and it’s one of the most exciting things that can happen for your businesses. When businesses redesign their websites, they see positive changes in SEO, more conversions, and happier customers.
Need help redesigning your website? Learn about our Web Builder Plans.