Web design is a component that makes or breaks the first impression of the brand. Moreover, the design is not something that’s completed once - it’s a continuous process of improvement.
The redesign is the process of changing the website’s interface, incorporating new brand identity elements, and changing the functionality. Redesigns can be gradual (one feature at a time) or incremental (when you fully change the look and feel of the platform).
Key reasons why a business should consider a website redesign
Changing the look and feel of your site is always about taking risks. When you are investing in improving the platform, you often feel like walking in the dark. Of course, you can address these concerns by using statistics and A/B testing - we’ll get to this later. However, as many redesigns can be scary, the advantages clearly outweigh the issues.
1. To ensure better brand communication
Design is the reflection of your brand’s values. Business priorities and selling points change all the time - and the website has to reflect these shifts. Ideally, you should consider redesigning every several years - it’s likely that your company has undergone a dramatic transformation this time.
- Brand identity: make sure that your key colors, logo, and themes correspond with your offer, advantages, and positioning. If your scope changes, it’s better to update brand identity as well.
- Essential functionality. Brand communication doesn’t boil down only to a visual component, but to the functional aspect as well. That’s why you need to constantly survey your users to find out if the functionality of the website doesn’t complicate the communication with your brand.
- Adding blogs and new content channels. Omni-channel communication became mainstream for most businesses. If your current website doesn’t allow you to communicate via blog, social media, Youtube channel, and talk to users directly, your brand won’t be connected to buyers.
2. Increasing page visibility
Users should be able to see all the advantages of your brand at a single glance. This is what design is meant for - to present all your company has to offer as efficiently as possible. When most teams design the first version of the website, they have a vague idea of their selling points and main offers. As a result, they go for generic templates and then think about filling the page up with content.
At first, this approach works. When you are getting the company off the ground, you have other priorities - improving a product, internal operations, setting up communication. At some point, however, you need to come back to your website and reevaluate if your page showcases the best facets of your company clearly enough.
3. Accommodating best marketing practices
As your business grows more sophisticated, you need a more advanced blog, retargeting, marketing, SEO management. Both front-end and back-end of your website have to be updated to keep up.
- Admin panel redesign: Your website has to be attractive on the user-side, but it’s also important that website managers and writers can easily manage the content.
- Advertising and analytics: You need to have a website that supports tools, extensions, and integrations, for monitoring and measurement.
- Adapting a site to a new content strategy: when you change your approach to content, ask your marketing specialists, and developers about ways to optimize your marketing strategy.
Moreover, a content management system needs to be changed. Others feel like users can’t access certain forms of content well enough (long-reads, videos, images). As you grow more proficient in marketing, a website redesign is inevitable.
A step-by-step guide to planning a successful website redesign
When you are starting a redesign, you need to prepare for everything. It’s important that the entire team understands whom they are catering to and what are the highest-priority improvements. Here’s a checklist of 7 easy steps that will help you avoid risks of redesign and get the most out of it.
Identify your target audience
When you are planning to redesign, you need to understand who will benefit from the final version. All users look for different things in a website. Some visitors like rich functionality, others prefer simplicity. With visual components (colors, shapes, etc.), the differences are even more striking. You can’t target every potential user.
- Research your current clients. Take a look at profiles of your existing buyers - what are their jobs, age, interests? By taking pointers from existing buyers, make sure you target interested users.
Also, consider future niches that you want to enter. If you have an expansion in mind, take it into account before starting to redesign.
- Analyze competitors. Services like SimilarWeb help you to find more about visitors to competitive websites. If the design of some platforms appeals to you, analyze their target audience to make sure they can be matched with yours.
Design can be aesthetically pleasing, but if they target a completely different audience, adopting their experience might not be a good choice.
- Talk to leads that didn’t work out. If you have a possibility to contact users who didn’t finalize a purchase, ask them about possible website issues - whether they didn’t manage to find some feature or content, or checkout took too much time.
After you have an idea of whom are you talking to, summarize this data in a user portrait. Write a profile of an average user of your website - age, job, family, interests, priorities, issues, concerns.
Set goals and objectives
It’s almost impossible to define the success of something you can’t measure. Everybody has different aesthetic preferences, so your team’s opinion can’t possibly be the ultimate one. Numbers will provide a more reliable picture of the redesign efficiency.
This is where metrics come in - you can set up tangible analytics that will measure the success of your redesign team.
- User engagement: The number of useful actions that a user does on the page should increase after a redesign. It will not only improve user engagement but also help users to make the right choice.
- Page load speed: A redesigned website should load faster than the previous version.
- Checkout statistics: Many conversions fall through because of an efficient checkout page. The increased number of checkouts is tangible proof of a good redesign.
- Lower bounce rate: The percentage of users who quit the website in the first seconds should lower considerably.
Create a sitemap
Before you start a redesign, you need to know which pages will make it to Google index. If a page doesn’t need to show up in the search results, don’t put it in the site map. Examples of such pages are 404 redirects, “Thank you for the purchase”, or feedback pages.
- Determining which pages should be indexed: make a list of pages that you want to optimize.
- Collect the URLs of all pages automatically: use page crawlers like Screaming Frog to gather all the links.
- Determine the main and secondary pages: menu categories should have a higher status than product pages or blog articles.
Don’t separate design from content
Using a content-driven strategy during a website redesign helps to avoid a mismatch between content and design. When writers, SEO specialists, and designers cooperate, the result is a comfortable website that’s adapted to the requirements of search engines and specifics of brand content.
- Look up keywords before redesign: Use Google Adwords to collect keywords of high and low relevance.
- Ensure the visual hierarchy: Define which visual elements are the main ones and which are secondary. The page should attract attention to 1-2 elements, while others should be on the background.
Create a content strategy
After you’ve created content-driven page templates, it’s time to take it further and create a long-term plan. You need to have a long-term vision of what kind of content will be published on the website.
- Create a list of topics that your blog and website will be covering for a month.
- Set up metrics that you expect from your content (visits, conversion, bounce rate).
- Ask for feedback: After you will start publishing content, reach out to readers to find out if they find the information useful.
Determine your budget
To make a correct financial estimate of the project, you need to have an idea of how a complete website will look like. That is why content strategy and site map creation come first.
To calculate the cost of the project, take into account design, development, and marketing expenses. If you are using additional tools like InVision, Ahrefs, and others, take their monthly and yearly costs into the account as well.
Beta testing and launch a redesigned website
Before you release a new site to everyone, collect a beta testing group. It could consist of early adopters - enthusiastic brand advocates who would feel honoured to be the first ones to try out a new website. Also, you could engage your long-term clients in beta-testing to increase their loyalty.
When you get positive feedback from your beta-testing group, it’s time to prepare the alpha-release. Likely, between beta- and alpha-release, you need to make a couple of additional improvements in the website and run user tests.
Before starting the redesign, teams should clearly understand their objectives. If your website doesn’t deliver the optimal performance or has a high bounce rate, you need to get to the bottom of the problem before you start changing.
Also, use analytical tools and consult an experienced development and design team before embarking on the project. Finally, once you started, keep track of all metrics and consult your referent group to make an informed decision that is the key to redesign success.