1. Ask yourself: ‘do I really need it?’
This is the most important step. You need to know before you start
if redesigning your website is the right thing for you to do.
What problem are you trying to solve? Are you sure that a redesign is really going to solve it?
For example, if you’re redesigning your website because it looks dated, maybe you just need a re-skin, not a whole website overhaul.
2. Establish exactly why a website redesign is the best option.
While there’s some value in sprucing up your site for the sake of it, there’s not much.
Frame your project as a solution to a measurable problem (we’ll get to measuring in a little bit). If you can’t do that, and your objectives are more ethereal, then a redesign might not be for you.
3. Consult with high level stakeholders and establish a shared goal
There needs to be a clear project scope not only of the nitty gritty details, but the high-level goals and objectives of your redesign.
Talk to team members all the way up the chain so that everyone knows:
- Why you’re redesigning your site
- What you’re doing (and what you’re not – it’ll help you stay on track later on if you make it clear early what’s not being addressed)
4. Establish baseline metrics
This is mostly a matter of looking at your existing site and seeing what’s what. If you’re using Google Analytics (or any analytics program) you’ll still have access to the data later on, but it’s worth taking stock of where you are and writing down what you’re good at and where you want to improve.
Are you hitting your KPIs? Do you think that you could be getting more visitors? Are there known problems or sticking points with your website, like a problem in your user flow or low amounts of organic traffic?
5. Establish success KPIs
We mentioned measuring earlier, but to get into more detail: Before you start tearing your site down and building to back up, you need to know what success looks like and how you’re going to measure it.
Make it clear, not only to the redesign team, but also your organization’s equivalent of the C-suite, how you’re going to know if your redesign is successful.
Some KPIs that you might use:
- A measureable change in visitor traffic
- Fixing a known problem in your user flow (confirmed with user testing)
- Improved conversions
- Decreased abandonment (if you’re an ecommerce site)
- Faster close cycle
There are a number of things you can track across your website. We recommend you pick a few (no more than 10) that are really important for you, and establish before you start what will make your redesign successful, and when you’re going to measure it – we recommend allowing some time for the new site to take hold – say, four to six months).
6. Make a plan for content migration (especially if you’re getting a new CMS)
If your site is being redesigned, your content is likely going to change its look – if not its location. You need to make a detailed plan of how you’re going to migrate it to your new CMS
7. Make a clear plan for the meantime
How long is your website redesign going to take?
Are you going to use the old site, or are you going to improve it piecemeal?
Does your redesign occur during any high traffic times – for example, Cyber Monday for ecommerce sites?
Make sure you have a clear plan to keep your business functioning at the highest possible level for the longest possible time.
8. Do early user testing with your website end-users
Test your old site. It’ll help you clarify your goals and objectives, and confirm some problems you likely knew about – plus, a few unknowns that you might be able to fix at the same time.
For example, if you’re redesigning your site’s navigation to make it easier, getting lots of user input into why it’s confusing now will help you make it better.
9. Evaluate your timeline critically – do you have time to go over?
Are you planning to finish your redesign on Christmas so you’re in time for Boxing Day sales? If so, then your sales team are in for a nasty surprise.
Assume that your redesign is going to go over on time.
Even if it finishes on time, there are likely to be some last minute changes once it’s live – maybe your body copy font is too hard to read, or maybe some of your content’s images are not displaying correctly in the new responsive template.
There’s always going to be a few loose ends, so build that into your timeline.
Don’t launch into your project unprepared and unaware. A week of hard work to decide if it’s the right decision, and decide exactly what you’re going to do, will do wonders for you in the long run.
It’s a small investment of time now to get the most out of your redesign later.