Websites are the bread and butter of e-commerce companies and a crucial marketing component for businesses of all types. If you’ve taken a look at your website and decided it’s time for a redesign, you may be wondering where to start.
Before getting involved with design firms and RFPs, it’s important to take a step back and do some careful strategic planning. Taking time prior to launching a website redesign project helps you prepare better, engage the right partners, and ensure that all key stakeholders are aligned. Here are 10 tips for how to prepare for a successful website redesign project.
1. Assess the Brand
No matter how complex or simple the redesign, now is the right time to assess whether the branding will stay the same. You’ll need brand clarity – about your customers, your products and services, your value proposition, and your visual identity, including logos, graphics, colors, and word marks.
2. Define Your Goals and Budget
What are you trying to accomplish with the redesign? Be clear on whether it’s to improve the user experience, rebrand the company, attract new market share or customer segment, update an outdated look, additional functionality, or create support for sales and marketing.
Your goals will help shape what your budget for the project will be, including creative work, technical needs, testing, photography, and whether the work is done in-house or outsourced.
3. Build Your Team(s)
Before embarking on a web redesign, be sure to identify at least two key teams. The first? Stakeholders, whether they be senior leaders, partners, advisory boards, or even customers, can provide feedback and should be invested in the outcome of the project. As you consider different stakeholder groups, consider what information they need to know about and when. Schedule communication and updates accordingly.
The other website team consists of those who are in the trenches for the project. Team members may include employees (especially those in customer-facing roles), marketing staff, sales staff, an executive sponsor, and designers and developers, whether in-house, external, or a combination.
Make sure there’s a project lead and clearly defined roles for each team member, along with expectations for the time commitment and expected deliverables.
4. Audit Existing Content
An exhaustive audit of your existing content may seem daunting, but it is an essential component of redesign pre-work. Your visitors should be able to end up anywhere on your site and find relevant, compelling content that aligns with the brand and goals. A content audit helps find what content is good, what needs to be updated or created, and what can be removed from the new site. Among the questions to ask about your content are: Is it current, does it move visitors towards business goals, and is it informative, useful, or helpful?
5. Make a Wish List
Blue-sky thinking can spark the imagination. Let the sparks fly by considering all the possibilities. A wish list might include that new AI functionality, automation tools, new forms, new content, or a page flow that upends the current thinking. The key is to look at what could be done as opposed to just what should be done. The possibilities might get shrunk down, but the process will be valuable.
6. Show Examples
Be sure to scour your competition and other websites outside your industry for things you like. Encourage others on the team to do the same. Coming together to share sites that team members like, whether it’s the home page, a subpage, or a single element, can inform your thinking and steal ideas that seem to work to incorporate in your new design. Seeing what else is out there can help inform your design in many ways.
7. Establish a Customer-Centric Mindset
You want your website project to focus on the most important visitors: customers. Whether they’re current or prospective, you want to be able to understand and map out the journey customers take when they visit your site. There may be multiple maps, depending on what customers are looking for. The important thing is to know the path they take and fix any gaps in the user experience.
You want customers to have it easy on your website by making it quick to find what they need, easy navigate the site without giving up, and simple to land on a purchase.
8. Create Metrics
How are you going to gauge success? There are obvious metrics, such as visitors and sales, but you’ll want to collect much more nuanced information. Use your existing website as a baseline to measure against later. Among the metrics to consider are:
- Unique visits, unique visitors, and total visitors
- Time spent on the site
- Pages visited
- Bounce rate
- Keywords and rank used to find site
- Inbound linking domains
- Devices used to connect
- Content activity, such as downloads, list registrations, or newsletter sign-ups
9. Establish a Timeline
Website redesign projects can go on and on and on. You want to establish a timeline that’s practical and stick to it. Do you need the site live before a new product launch or for a trade show or virtual event? Work backwards and break up the work into manageable, measurable pieces that can determine concrete milestones and deliverables.
10. Focus on SEO
You want a website that will be SEO-friendly, ideally landing your company on the top page of search results. Your old site will have been indexed and established with search engines. Use the redesign as an opportunity to improve upon your placement.
Want help with your redesign project? Manobyte provides expert website design services that result in SEO-friendly, mobile-ready, and growth-minded sites. To learn more, contact us today.