Deciding to completely redesign your website is huge. Website redesigns cost money and take a long time – so they’re a commitment. Redesigning your company’s website is a big decision, but it’s one that’s rarely regretted. A fresh, modern website that the user understands well can mean increased traffic, longer time spent on the page, and more conversions.
It’s key to remember that rushed projects are the enemy of creativity and success. A little bit of research, preparation, and organisation can make your website redesign an absolute dream.
Step One: Tear apart your old website
First up, what’s not working with your current website? Do you find you get traffic, but no one stays? Maybe you barely see any traffic. Maybe your website sees visitors come, stay for a while… even fill up a cart, but they leave with no conversion. It’s also perfectly fine if you simply want a website redesign just because you don’t like what it looks like. If it’s the design or the style of the website that isn’t working for you, why?
Create a list of problems, no matter what they are. “I don’t like the colour. The font is too big. The font is too ugly. I don’t like that I have to navigate through two menus to find X page.” Be as picky as you like. Tear it all apart. Be sure to include which parts you do like too. Maybe your logo was created back in the 80s but you still love it, ask your designer what they can do to bring it into this year. If you need some help or inspiration here have a look at our Website Design Blunders.
Step Two: Analyse your competition & find inspiration
This is like step one, but with other websites, so naturally it should be easier. Have a look at your competitors’ websites, do they display their products differently, is there something on their website that makes purchasing easier, more convenient? What about the layout. Look at other websites that you like and determine what it is you enjoy about those too.
Once you’ve completed step one and step two, put together a list or a document. Include all the notes you took, like which widgets or features you liked, a url to your favourite layout, screenshots of fonts and colours you like, logo inspiration… literally anything that will help the designer understand your concept.
Step Three: Review brand guidelines, target audience personas, style guides
Do you still like your branding? Do you still like your style guide and is it still relevant? What about your target audience personas? Are they still relevant and accurate or could they be updated to be more specific?
Your style guide informs a lot about the way your company presents content online and it ensures that whether the content is on the website’s blog, LinkedIn, or Instagram, it’s still displayed in a uniform manner. If it hasn’t been updated since 1990, update it now! The same goes for your target audience personas, the way users and consumers browse and shop changes every day. Review and update them now, because these will help your web design agency a lot.
As for your branding, some companies/founders/directors fear changing up their branding because they think it’s bad for business. Coca Cola, Instagram, Uber are three massive companies that have changed their logos. There’s a regular argument about brand recognition and how important it is. Sticking to your brand’s colours is a good idea but aside from that, go wild.
Consider when you scroll through social media, particularly Twitter or Instagram. You recognise your friends’ photo icons without needing to read their handle but in a lot of circumstances you couldn’t describe what’s happening in that image without taking a close look. Logos and branding are similar. Ask your designer what they can do to modernise your logo or bring it in to today.
Step Four: Find a web design agency
One of the most essential steps in the process (unless of course you’re a lucky company with an in house designer) is to choose your web design agency. Find an agency that you like, do you like their website, do they have a portfolio you can view? Sit down with them for a meeting to chat about your ideas and get a quote. Once you’ve found ‘the ones’ to do you redesign, make sure you’ve aligned your goals and expectations.
In any creative process, but especially in web redesign processes, the plan and components should be clear to everyone. It’s also really important that you like the agency you choose because you’ll spend a lot of time communicating back and forth.
Step Five: Create a timeline
You’ll sit down with your web design agency to put together a timeline for your new website. You should agree on a realistic and reasonable timeline. In this sit down, find out when the elements of the redesign will occur, will professional photographs be taken or is that your responsibility, who’s working on the copy and what do you need to provide for it?
Find out exactly when your web design agency will need what from you and what the communication process will be to get these from you. Find out when the mockup will be completed and when you’ll provide revisions to be made.
Step Six: Define goals for success
How will you know if the redesign has been successful? Outline your goals; they can be as simple as ‘I want to see an increase in traffic’ or as complex as ‘I want to see an increase of at least 2% in conversions’. Keep the goals realistic and logical and be sure to talk about them with your agency.
Step Seven: Start designing
So, you have your direction. You’ve got it all worked out, you know what you don’t like to see in a website and you know what you do like. Your branding, your style guide, and your target audience personas have been revised and updated. You’ve chosen a web design agency that you love, you’re on the same page for the redesign, and you’ve agreed on a timeline and what we’re considering a measurement of success. Yay! The next step is to start designing! Be sure to consistently refer to your timeline, keep up with what’s expected from your end, and get excited for your brand new website.