Is your website’s conversion rate dropping or Google ranking plummeting? If so, it might be time to consider a redesign.
Redesigning your website is like giving an old car a fresh coat of paint and a well-deserved tune-up. It can improve site performance, engagement, and conversions immediately..
But you can’t change every element on your website haphazardly. A website makeover is a very deliberate and complicated process that takes time and careful effort to pull off. And it all starts with having the right plan in place.
A website redesign is an especially tricky mountain to climb. Not only does it involve many complicated steps, but you need to be careful not to change things that are already working. You must be intentional with every edit that you make, and to do that you need a detailed plan of action.
The reality is that nothing ever goes your way all the time. Projects face issues like miscommunication of the project brief, wrong time estimates, and missed deadlines all the time. Having a website redesign project plan can help you avoid, or at least prepare for, the many challenges that will inevitably come your way.
A project plan also ensures that everyone, from the stakeholders to the developers, is on the same page. It’s especially crucial if you’re outsourcing the development work to a third-party agency. A detailed plan enables transparency and proof in case there are disputes with the project’s results.
How to Redesign a Website
Now that you know why you need a website redesign project plan, how do you put that plan into practice? Here are the steps to successfully launching a website makeover.
1. Define your Goals
First things first: figure out why you want a redesign in the first place. Is it to improve your Google ranking or increase your conversions? Or you might have recently changed your branding, and you want your website in alignment with that new style.
Regardless of what it is, your website revamp objectives must be clearly defined before you do anything else. If you have multiple goals, prioritize them in order of impact. These goals will be your guiding principles so that every step you and your team make is towards making your redesign a reality.
2. Review and Compare
Before moving towards your goal, you need to know where you’re coming from. You do this by doing an audit of your current website.
Use tools like Google Analytics to check your website statistics and study the pattern. Do you have particular problem areas, like pages that have low conversions or high bounce rates? It’s also wise to use visual tools like heat maps to analyze the behaviors of your site’s visitors.
But don’t just look for what’s wrong with your website; it’s important to note what’s working as well. You need to be aware of these elements because it might be unnecessary or even risky to change what’s already working. For example, if users already like your color scheme, then it’s best to leave it alone.
To draw inspiration and to know where you stand, you can also check out what the competition’s doing. Observe their strategies. Then, either improve upon it if it works or avoid it if it doesn’t.
3. Create a Website Redesign Project Plan
Once you’ve gathered your why (your goals and priorities) and the what (what’s working and not on your current website), it’s time to tackle the how. You do this by creating a website redesign project plan.
For each goal, ask how exactly you would achieve it. For example, if you want to lower your bounce rate, do you change the design of your page? Or maybe revamp the copy? Then, come up with individual action points.
Your website redesign proposal will also need to tackle the timeline, manpower, and funds necessary to complete the project.
Think creating a design plan is too daunting? We recommend using a free website planning template to speed up the process.
4. Implement your Plan
With your plan in hand, it’s time to get to work!
Before you start to code the pages or create the content, it’s best to do a design mockup first. You can often outsource this task to a web designer, who can come up with design wireframes for you to evaluate.
Once you’re happy with how it looks, then it’s finally time to pass everything to your developers. If you plan to hire a web design agency, you also need to vet and choose which one you want to work with.
5. Analyze the Results
After the website improvement goes live, you need to find out if your goals have been met or not. For this, you’ll use the same testing and analytics tools you used to evaluate your old website. Are your conversions improving, or on track to improve?
Now would also be a good time to perform other comprehensive tests like SEO, database, security, and optimization testing.
When you’re planning a website redesign for a client or your boss, one question will inevitably pop up: “how long will it take?” Unfortunately, answering that question isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.
The reason is that several factors can influence and slow down a website redesign timeline. Here are some of them:
• The Size of the Team Doing the Redesign
The length of your redesign project will all boil down to simple math. The more people working on it, the faster you can get it done. And it’s not just the developers and designers that matter. Planning and testing are also crucial parts of the redesign process, so team members like project managers and QA testers are equally important.
• How Big are the Changes?
The biggest driver on the length of your redesign project will be based on the extent of the planned changes. Is it just a simple case of changing the headline, inserting a new image banner, or tweaking the color schemes? Or is it a major rehaul of the layout or CMS?
The more complex the requirements, the bigger the cost, and the longer it will take to complete.
• The Size of your Website
A massive website with hundreds of pages will take longer to revise even with the simplest of changes. And sometimes, the structure of your website has an effect, too. Aside from implementing the changes, it will also take longer to do testing with larger sites.
• Are There Lots of Little Details that You Want to Change?
Small things add up, and the same is true with your website redesign. If your revision involves a lot of tiny, intricate edits (like content formatting of individual articles or optimizing every image on the site), then it’s going to take a lot longer to finish the redesign project.
It’s one thing to finish your website redesign, but did it help you achieve your goals? To find out, you need to evaluate your efforts against the appropriate metrics. Here are some that you might consider:
• Check your Google Rankings
If SEO is one of the main drivers of your website redesign, this is the first thing you should check. You can do a simple Google search of the possible keywords your customers might use, then see how you perform. Are you on the first page of search results?
Even if SEO wasn’t your reason for doing a website redesign, it’s still a good idea to check your ranking. You never know if your changes unintentionally caused the website to rank higher or lower.
• Compare your Conversion Rates
Many marketers consider conversion rate to be the only metric that matters for profit-driven websites. It really won’t do you any good if your website is not converting, even if your organic traffic and engagement are off the charts.
It’s best to compare your conversion rates before and after your redesign. Did it increase? If not, then you might need to dig deeper to find the root cause of the problem. It’s possible that your offer isn’t a good match for your market, or you might have issues with the user’s experience.
By the way, conversions can mean more than just sales or email sign-ups. For non-profits, for example, it might mean better awareness. Make sure you measure conversion according to what it means for your website and business.
• Analyze the Quality of Your Site Visitors
When it comes to people who visit your website, quality is more important than quantity. It doesn’t mean much when you have a high amount of traffic, but none of them are engaging or converting with your site.
Two metrics can tell you the quality of your site visits – the bounce rate and the average time visitors spend on your website. Both of these can be easily checked with an analytics tool like Google Analytics.
The bottom line is that website redesign is never an easy process. It’s best that you get the expertise of a web development agency like Expedition Co. to help with your redesign plan--not just the redesign itself. Get in touch with us today, and let’s start a conversation!