Your 10-Step Guide to a Successful Website Redesign Project
Are You Ready for a Website Redesign but Aren't Sure Where to Start? Here's a Checklist to Get You on the Right Path
We get a lot of questions from prospective and current clients on how to best prepare themselves for a website redesign project. It can be a daunting task, but as with everything else, the best strategy is to take it all bit by bit.
Here's a list of tasks—big and small—we recommend following to make your website project easier and to help guide your online marketing decision-making processes.
1. Analyze Your Current Site
Having a good idea of what needs to be addressed on your existing site and what's of biggest priority for your company will make it easier to find online marketing partners that are best equipped to help you succeed. Ask yourself, "What works on this site? What doesn’t work? Is the navigation confusing or streamlined? Does the design accurately portray the value we bring to our clients? Are we satisfied with our content management system? Are we up to date on our desired DNS registrations for the foreseeable future?"
2. Define Your Company’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Be real with yourself and your company: You can't be everything for everyone. Identify what you do best and make a tentative plan on how you can highlight your competitive advantage with your website.
For example, if you work for a law firm and that has a competitive advantage when it comes to litigation, you'll want to find ways to highlight this strength through your web assets. As such, it’s important for the web agency you choose to work with to know about this goal—as well as how to accomplish it. Any information you can provide your marketing partners is helpful—it'll allow them to design around your brand messaging, in turn making your strengths shine through in their best light.
3. Rethink Your Target Market
If you have been in business a while, you may already have a pretty good idea of who you want to market to, but thinking outside the box and targeting other demographis can transform your business. Have you been surprised recently by different types of clients or customers reaching out to you? There are probably more people like them out there that need your services. And while it's always good to be aspirational with your marketing goals, it's as important to know who your current demographic is as much as what you want your target demographic to be.
4. Focus on User Experience
What do you want users to do on your site? What kinds of things should be implemented to make sure those desired actions occur? Do you want users to become more informed on your service offerings? Do you want to drive eCommerce sales?
Your website needs to cater to the customer's journey by delivering the right messages at the right time. Inexperienced web designers may fall into the trap of trying to squeeze too much into a single page, in turn confusing users, bogging them down, and causing them to lose interest. Make sure your web design team is capable of designing clear paths forward for your users in order to encourage them to spend more time on your site and—ultimately—complete your desired action. (tl;dr: Keep it simple, stupid.)
5. Decide What Content on Your Site Needs to Be Updated or Refreshed
Most website projects require the rewriting of existing content or creation of new content (and, in a lot of cases, the deletion of stale content clutter). Since your current website launched (probably a number of years ago), your business and its people have most likely changed...a lot. Your web assets should evolve alongside everything else in your industry.
Now is a good time to ask some of your best customers what they want from your website. It’s very easy to think you know what your customers want without really doing any research. Some things are obvious (ex, most users will want to know things like store hours, services offered, etc.) but others may not be. You may have a number of customers or potential customers turning to your website to find case studies relevant to specific industries or blog posts that highlight your team's knowledge and expertise (and they may bounce if they can't find this info). Make sure content that real, live users have requested is included on your site and easy to find.
It's also a good thing to note that copying and pasting content doesn’t do you any favors if you are looking for a website and brand overhaul—everything you produce for your redesign should be fresh and relevant (search engines love that stuff). Similarly, you should ensure target keywords make up 5–7 percent of your copy to help promote your site organically in search engine rankings (and it's especially a good idea to include this keywords in your headings).
Additionally, before any redesign, it's a fantastic idea to get new—professional—company photography done—stock photos will only take you so far. A good web agency will work with your team to determine what kinds of shots would be beneficial for your project, and can also connect you to photographers that can be flexible with your budget and produce photos consistent with your brand.
6. Do Your Research: What Are Successful Competitors Doing?
Do you know who your primary competitors are? What makes them successful? How do they engage in online marketing? Do they have an email newsletter? Are they blogging? Where do they rank for your targeted search terms?
In most cases, your competitors are missing the mark in at least a few of the standard aspects of digital marketing. This presents an opportunity for you. By working with the right team on a website redesign, you can find channels through which to become an industry thoughtleader. You can also learn how to rank higher in search engine results and establish a professional presence for your brand that bumps up the trust levels of potential customers. Increasingly, in this high-tech world, polish matters.
7. Define What Kind of Partnership You Need
Are you looking to simply update the look and feel of your website, or do you need an online marketing partner for the long haul? Does your company need a custom design? Are you looking for additional digital marketing and SEO services after launch? How important is ongoing support and site maintenance for your team?
8. Assess Your Budget
There's a lot of variance out there in how much companies pay for website design and development services. Some pay a few thousand dollars while others go well beyond six figures. While it may be tempting to do whatever possible to keep costs low, there are some important questions to ask when establishing a budget and selecting a web design agency. Would a predetermined template be effective for your company goals or do you require something completely custom in order to stay competitive in your industry? How soon do you need to get your new website to market? What are the future goals of your site? Templates are cheaper and quicker to launch, but a custom site will allow your company more content and functionality flexibility—as well as room for future growth.
9. Identify Quantifiable Goals for Your Website Redesign
Speaking of goals, here are some questions to ask yourself: Are you trying to boost your conversions (ie, those desired user actions we talked about earlier)? Is your current site not getting found on search? Are users bouncing from your site immediately when they do find it? Are you looking to gain a certain number of new qualified leads every month or boost annual sales revenue?
Identifying quantifiable goals will give you and your partnering web agency something to shoot for. And if you don’t reach your goals right away post-launch, they'll provide structure for making adjustments down the road. For example, you may find it useful to look into ongoing SEO or PPC services or learn that the cheapest way to add more traffic to your site is to blog more of the right stuff (this is true for a lot of companies) by A/B testing what blog posts attract the most visitors. There are a lot of opportunities out there to achieve your company's goals, but if you don't know what those are, your website will inevitably end up treading water.
10. Find a Team That Fits Your Needs
It sounds easy enough, but to find a team that truly fits your needs, you’ll have to do some research. You may want to work with someone who has specific industry experience or someone who offers ongoing services after site launch.
Find a few companies that do good work and ask them why partnering with them will help you grow your business. Ask for references and website examples to gauge their experience. Try to meet in person if you can.
At efelle, we see ourselves as website consultants and are here to help you succeed. If you feel like we could be a good fit for you, please reach out or—if you need a little more convincing—check out some of our recent projects.
Your Website Redesign Checklist
As promised, here's our checklist to help your team determine your website redesign needs and find a partner that will help you best address those needs. Giving your website redesign project your full attention will give your company a much stronger chance at seeing ROI from each and every one of of your web assets.
- Analyze current site. Identify positives, negatives, and challenges for the redesign.
- Define company strengths and weaknesses.
- Outline current site content. Determine what needs to be improved, added, and deleted.
- Identify your target market.
- Picture your ideal customer using your website and how they will likely interact with it.
- Research what successful competitors are doing.
- Define what you are looking for when contacting a web partner.
- Outline a budget.
- Identify quantifiable goals for the site.
- Find a team you know you can trust with your project.
In Desperate Need of a Website Redesign?
Our team of digital marketers is ready to transform your website into your top sales rep and the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. Give us a call at 206.384.4909 or send us a note, here, and we can get started today.