Building an effective Website Redesign strategy might seem like an enormous undertaking, but with some careful planning you can develop the foundation of your new site in as little as 6 steps.
Whether you’re doing this on your own or working with an outside firm, it’s important to follow these steps in order to optimize the potential of your redesign project and create a site that will be effective, both now and in the future. Take these steps now and by 2022 you’ll be ready to create and launch the new site of your dreams!
Outline your goals for the redesign
If you want to redesign your website but aren’t sure where to start, start by outlining your goals for the redesign. What do you hope to accomplish with it? Do you need it to bring in more visitors or are you trying to reduce bounce rates?
Do you have time and resources to dedicate towards a redesign, or is cost an issue? If you can answer these questions at least somewhat definitively, then its time to figure out what kind of strategy will work best for your organization. The next step will help you decide how to go about achieving those goals.
Ideally, your goals for redesigning your website should be specific and achievable so that you know when it has been successfully achieved. For example, increase traffic to our site is too vague of a goal because there are many ways to increase traffic (such as SEO or social media marketing). If you have more than one goal in mind, try to prioritize them in order of importance.
For example, if increasing traffic is your top priority but reducing bounce rates is also important to you, then focus on improving SEO before trying out new social media campaigns. To get started with your goal setting, make sure you ask yourself these questions:
1) What do I want my website to accomplish?
2) Why do I want my website to accomplish those things?
3) How will I measure success?
4) What resources do I need in order to achieve these goals?
5) What strategies can help me achieve these goals? 6) How will I go about implementing those strategies?
7) Who do I need to collaborate with in order to implement those strategies?
8) How will I measure success for each strategy so that I know when it has been successfully implemented? 9) What happens if I fail to achieve my goals or strategies?
10) Do I have any potential roadblocks in my way (e.g., budget, personnel, timeline)?
Write down your answers to these questions and use them as you move forward with your redesign. These answers will help you think through all of your options before you start making big decisions about how to redesign your website.
Set up a project team
The first step in planning your redesign is to pull together a project team. Depending on your business, you might want to create one or multiple teams, based on each area that requires attention.
For example, if you’re launching a new e-commerce site and app, your team could include an operations person to coordinate marketing plans with salespeople; an IT specialist who can create mockups for engineers; and creative directors for branding and messaging.
It’s also important to note that design projects are inherently collaborative efforts—meaning everyone needs to be working toward a common goal. If your team members aren’t aligned, they won’t work well together and you run the risk of creating an ineffective design solution.
You should also think about how much time each member will need to devote to the project. This will help you determine how many people you need on your team as well as when certain milestones need to be met.
Asking team members to allocate up to 20 percent of their time may not seem like a lot, but it adds up quickly. So make sure you give them enough notice so they can plan around other priorities at work and at home.
Define your target audience
You should always know who you’re designing for. What is their gender? Their age? What do they like? Why are they visiting your site or using your app? You don’t have to be an expert on each and every person who will use your product, but you need to at least have an idea of what you’re designing for.
If you can define your target audience as well as possible, it will make it easier to design a site that appeals to them. This doesn’t mean that your website has to appeal specifically to just one group; instead, it means that you can create multiple versions of your website in order to appeal more directly toward different groups of people.
For example, if you want to market a new pair of shoes, you might focus on males between 18-25 years old. However, if you also want to sell these shoes online through your company’s ecommerce platform, then you may also want to consider creating another version of your website with higher resolution images and information that appeals specifically toward females between 25-35 years old.
The point here is that by defining your target audience, you can easily tailor your designs to better suit their needs. This whole process isn’t necessarily easy, but it is necessary if you want to build a successful website.
One mistake that many businesses make when redesigning their websites is simply not thinking about their target audience. Even though many companies may think about how potential customers would interact with their products, very few actually take time to analyze how potential customers think. After all, there’s no point in developing something cool if nobody wants to buy it!
Understand what you want to achieve by redesigning your website
What are your goals for redesigning your website? A common mistake people make is to look at their website as an end unto itself, rather than as a tool they use to accomplish certain business or personal objectives. Once you understand why you’re redesigning your site, it’ll be easier to set clear goals for what you want out of it.
For example, do you want to increase conversions on a specific page?
Get more traffic from search engines?
Reinvigorate your brand identity?
Think about what specific changes will help you achieve these goals and then write them down in one sentence each—that way, if anyone asks about your plan later on, you can just send them one link that covers everything.
Also keep in mind that many businesses need multiple websites with different purposes; if you have more than one online presence, make sure all of them align with your overarching goals. For example, if you own a bakery and also sell products through an e-commerce store, each needs its own unique design strategy.
Your company might even operate two separate sites that serve very similar functions: say, one informational site geared toward consumers and another aimed at retailers who want to stock your products.
If so, think through how both sites fit into your overall plans before moving forward with any sort of redesign. Make a list of features you don’t need: We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: don’t reinvent the wheel!
Look at other successful companies doing similar things to yours and see what they did right (and wrong). This part of your planning process should include looking at other companies’ existing websites and jotting down notes about their most effective strategies.
Then go back over those notes again and circle anything that doesn’t apply to your business. Those are features you don’t need to worry about when designing your new site.
Write down some ideas for how you could improve upon other companies’ best practices:
Don’t just copy what others have done, though! The idea here is to learn from other people’s mistakes and come up with something better. So after making a list of what has worked well for others, put together a second list of ways you could improve upon their ideas—or create something completely new.
Identify your user needs and expectations
Before you start redesigning your website, it’s important to understand how your current users are engaging with your content. By assessing how they’re currently navigating through your website and what content they’re engaging with, you can identify opportunities for improvements.
For example, if you notice that users are having trouble locating a specific piece of content on your website, it might be worth investing in better internal search engine optimization (SEO) or improving where you place links within each page. Or, if you see that users aren’t clicking on any of your top-performing articles, it could mean that those articles need more social media promotion.
These insights will help inform decisions about which elements should be prioritized during your design process. They’ll also make sure that your new site structure is actually working to solve user problems rather than creating new ones.
You can assess these user needs and expectations by conducting regular usability tests with your existing users. Another option is to look at heatmaps of how people navigate through your existing website; most major web analytics tools like Google Analytics include built-in heatmap features that provide data on exactly how people move around on each page.
Both of these approaches are easy ways to measure whether changes you plan to make improve upon your existing site structure or not. Just remember: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Define the problem with your current website design
Is your current website design boring and outdated? Or does it feel confusing and out of place to your customers? These are both problems that can be addressed through a website redesign.
You’ll need to clearly define what you consider to be wrong with your current site and how you plan on fixing those problems. If you want to make major changes, such as moving from a text-heavy page layout to an image-heavy one, make sure you know why.
Otherwise, stick with more subtle changes like updating typography or changing colors and layouts. Keep in mind that some changes might not go over well with your audience—it’s important to test any new designs before launching them live.
Aesthetics aren’t everything: When redesigning your website, it’s easy to get caught up in big changes that make your site look flashy and appealing. But don’t forget about usability! After all, no matter how good something looks, if users can’t use it effectively they won’t return.
Before making any drastic changes, think about how your website is currently used by visitors. What features do they interact with most often? How do they navigate around pages? Take time to answer these questions so you can keep a user-friendly experience at top priority when designing your new site.
Be aware of trends: It’s always smart to keep tabs on industry trends so you know what direction web design is heading in.
Develop a working prototype
If you’re redesigning an existing website, then you should have some idea of what your final product will look like. Use wireframes to work out any kinks in navigation or information architecture before getting started on design.
This stage is all about figuring out how to make sure users will find what they’re looking for and not get lost as they browse around your site. Wireframes are especially useful if you plan to hire outside help with development.
You can create them yourself or use tools such as Balsamiq Mockups and Axure RP Pro that allow you to create professional-looking prototypes without writing code.
Create an action plan
An action plan lays out concrete steps that you can take to make your website redesign strategy a reality. This includes hiring staff, defining content creation strategies, and setting up metrics that will allow you to gauge whether or not your marketing is working.
You may have some initial thoughts on how these things will play out, but an action plan forces you to refine them into something realistic and measurable. It also helps you keep track of your progress as time goes by. And don’t worry if it seems daunting at first—action plans are easy to revise and edit as time goes by!