Websites are essential for businesses. They are the channel for interaction with the audience and potential clients. When a company doesn’t have a website, it’s like they don’t want to interact with the customers. But, having a site with some basic information is not enough. You need to keep track of the tech trends and make them functional for the consumers. It even includes regular redesign in order to keep up to date with the new trends and functionalities.
But when it’s the right time to plan a redesign?
When it looks outdated, old, or not functional, it’s time to assemble a website redesign project plan.
You may have millions of questions when it comes to the web design project and its steps, but surely you want to know:
- How much time does it take?
- What tools do you need to use?
- What steps should you take to complete it?
Understanding the need for redesign is the first crucial thing for the project. Many fail to understand it, resulting in low-ranking websites and high bounce rates. That means there are no lead conversions at all, or the number is pretty insignificant.
Additionally, your website is the only way to promote your products and services, list prices, and attract prospects. It should answer all visitors’ initial questions before contacting you for further assistance. Or with other words said, the website must engage the visitors and encourage them to convert from prospects to leads.
If your current website fails to provide that, or you see that you have fewer or no leads compared to the previous month or year (or any appropriate period), something is not working well.
In many cases, the website design is the main reason why people give up on exploring the content further.
So, it’s time for a change.
What is a Website Redesign, and why do That?
A website redesign is basically a complete overhaul of your current website looks. This means changing things such as colors, fonts, images, layout, categories, navigation, etc. The goal is to create a better user experience for visitors across your page.
Website redesigns can benefit businesses in multiple ways. When it’s done properly, the redesign increases conversions, improve SEO (search engine optimization), boosts brand awareness, and much more.
The redesign reasons include:
- The website looks quite outdated
- The website doesn’t provide value
- You need better conversion rates
- You want to boost web ranking
- Poor user experience
- Complicated content management system
- Poor mobile version
The need for redesign gets more prominent if you own an eCommerce website, meaning you need to add new functionality, such as video tutorials, live chat, shopping carts, email signups, etc.
Even when you think the current design is boring, that’s reason enough to start with the redesign project. If it’s boring to you, can you imagine what kind of experience it offers to the audience? Trends are changing, and they apply to the websites too.
How to Start With the Website Redesign Project Plan?
You must analyze your current website before you take any action. You can even talk to your coworkers and schedule a brainstorming session. Write down all the ideas because you will need them when creating the project framework.
A company’s website is the first instance of communication between the customers and sales team, so you have to make sure everything looks nice, clean, and straight to the point.
Even though there are many phases between the initial idea for redesign, until the website is finally live, you must prioritize the customers all the time. The goal is to create a channel that targets them properly and keeps them engaged until they decide to purchase the product or sign up for a particular service.
We can say that a website redesign project plan is more a creative process than technical work. Make sure you get these things right, and you can start working on the framework.
Website Redesign Checklist
When working on a redesign project, you must not forget any vital part of the website. We suggest creating a checklist and marking the parts you need to integrate into the new design. That includes:
- Number of pages
- Design style
- Copywriting for pages (yes or no)
- Guaranteed SEO placement
- Responsive design
- Database integration (full or partial)
- Content Management System
- E-commerce buttons
Feel free to add any functionality you find important for the newly designed website. This simple step ensures everything works fine when you have the new design.
How Often Should You Redesign Your Website?
Websites come under constant change, from new trends to design updates, but the question is: How often should you update your website?
Indeed, you don’t need to include every trend and change the site all the time. But, keeping track of new functionalities and styles will always help you get most of the design. The goal of designing a good website is to get visitors to return often and spend time browsing around.
So, you need to balance usability and aesthetics and even favor one over another. Keep in mind that visitors prefer nice designs and straightforward navigation, so they can find and focus on useful features.
When you have it all, you only need to make some design adjustments every now and then. But, when it comes to complete redesign, you must do that when your old version is not mobile-friendly, doesn’t provide security, performs poorly, etc.
In general, we can say that you should update the features and work on fixing bugs regularly. But planning a significant redesign takes a lot of time, and you can’t do it every few months.
Can you Redesign a Website Without Messing Up With Your SEO Ranking?
A website redesign is a big undertaking. If you’ve already built a website and don’t want to start from scratch, you might be wondering whether or not you can redesign it and keep the current SEO rankings. The answer is yes, but it depends on how much time and effort you put into the project.
Sometimes the design changes aren’t very significant, and other times they can cause major issues. For example, you can change a page’s URL address, add new pages, or update graphics, but some things cannot be altered without causing problems. That’s why it’s essential to consider SEO before starting any redesign project.
SEO is essential for almost every website owner nowadays. Most websites rely heavily on their SEO rankings to attract visitors and convert them into customers. You’ll miss out on potential traffic and sales if you don’t pay attention to these rankings.
Besides optimizing your site for keywords and phrases, you can improve your SEO ranking by redesigning a page. But if you remove important elements from a page, you can hurt your rankings. The key is to create a new design that maintains the page’s original purpose but changes its appearance.
How Much Does it Cost to Redesign a Website?
Website redesign projects can start as budget-friendly fixes and grow into overspending additions. Even though there are pre-ready themes and templates, you need to work on the features to make the design functional and useable. Websites today are a necessity for every business, especially if they want to stay competitive.
Trying to cut down the expenses can seem like a great idea, but it may result in poor performance and losing some of the recognizable features. No matter if you’re outsourcing the web development, or the in-house team works on it, don’t start the project on a tight budget. These changes can be costly, and you must know that there is no cheap, high-performance website.
Websites are expensive to build. Even though they might look good on paper, they take hours to put together and cost thousands of dollars. If you don’t budget enough upfront to cover these costs, you’ll probably pay way too much later.
The cost depends on many factors, and there is no fixed price for a redesign. It also depends on the type of website and who will run the project.
If you redesign it alone, it may cost you up to $3,000 (and even more). A simple redesign is between $15,000 and $30,000, while enterprise-level websites may cost a lot more.
You have options to perform a DIY redesign, work with your in-house team, hire a freelance web designer, or hire a web design agency. The decision depends on the budget and requirements.
Factors That Affect the Redesign Cost
These are the factors you need to consider important for your redesign project:
- Who will perform the redesign (you, the freelancer, or an agency)
- What kind of website do you need
- What type of multimedia will be included
- Do you need a new CMS
- Additional components costs
So, before starting the project, make sure you ask for a quote. That way, you know what to expect and calculate how much the price can go up.
How Long Does it Take Until the Redesign is Completed?
Even though it seems like putting together design elements, it takes up to three weeks until you decide what to include in the new design and which elements to keep. It’s a kind of strategy that ensures you are focused on the same audience while providing the same services.
In this phase, you can negotiate the terms of the contract or work on the design yourself. After that, you are ready to go to the next stage, which means you are implementing the ideas, and turning them into reality.
In an ideal situation, you will need a few months, with testing phases included. It takes a lot more than that if you need to redesign a corporate-level website. Sometimes, the whole process may last over a year, depending on the components included in the new design.
Understand how the Design Affects the SEO strategy
When you run a website redesign audit, you must pay attention to how the current SEO strategy fits into the new design.
There are so many design elements that directly affect search engine optimization. At the same time, web design is one of the ranking factors. So, they go in hand, and it’s essential to keep a clean navigation structure without affecting the important SEO elements.
After you launch the new website, it’s expected to face some traffic drops, but it should recover after a few days. But, if the traffic volume is still going down and affects your ranking, you need to resolve that issue on time. You need to act quickly before it affects your business badly.
Planning a Redesign: Questions to Ask and Answer
While working on the project, many questions may pop up. You need to answer most of them before start working on the redesign. The answers will prevent overusing of plugins and features and help you keep the site clean, easy to navigate, and predictive.
So, we suggest asking some of these questions:
- What are the goals of the new website?
- Can I reuse pieces of the old design?
- Is the design suitable for the target audience?
The answers will help you determine the fine details. Additionally, more questions may come up. Keep in mind that redesigning a website is not a cheap project, so you need to plan every detail.
Steps to Take When Planning a Redesign
We can sum up all these things in a few steps you need to take when working on a redesign project. Here are most of them:
1. Create a Project Outline
Some projects can be urgent, so you need to determine how much time you have. When assigning this part, you have to include the budget too. If you need the redesign sooner, you have to adjust the budget too.
At this point, we believe you already know who will work on the project. If not, it’s time to decide if your in-house developers will take the task, or if you will hire an agency.
There are potential benefits of both choices, but also some disadvantages you need to consider. For example, your in-house team can report the stages regularly and change things as required.
On the other hand, web development agencies will focus on the project deadline, ensuring they deliver a quality product to their client. At the same time, they will try to maintain constant communication. But keep in mind they work on other projects too, and yours may not be their primary focus, especially if you have an extended deadline.
It’s up to you to decide who will work on the redesign. But, no matter the choice, you have to always include the deadline and budget you have, so you can get the most for the money.
Note: Hiring freelancers is also an option, especially if the project is not urgent and the site only needs some upgrades. But for enterprise-level severe projects, we suggest you stick to the in-house team or agency.
Gather the Team
There are so many people included in the project. It’s not just a matter between the business owner and the designers’ team. You need feedback from many people, including designers and developers themselves, content writers, SEO teams, digital marketing strategists, or even people who are not directly tied to how the website works.
You can even run a survey among the employees to see what they think about the current website. Ask them to suggest improvement ideas. Sometimes, people who know a little about design and content can give more honest feedback than those who are directly included in the project.
Have a Clear Image of the Audience
As we said a few times, websites are the channel that connects the audience with your business. Even though redesign projects are primarily technical, you must remember that the customer profile will help you define the design requirements.
You need to be aware of the target audience demography and also the ways you can extend the current group. When planning a redesign, you need to remember if they can use the right query to search for the website and if they would like the new design.
Add functionalities that the target audience can easily understand and use. Don’t make things too complicated, even when you target business professionals.
Again, reviewing the competitors’ ways can help you come up with more creative and functional ideas on how to run this project.
2. Create a Sketch Plan
Now it’s time for the exciting part. You need to decide what your website will look like. You can keep the current design and add some improvements or use an entirely new theme.
If you want a custom design, it’s time to show your artistic talents. Take a piece of paper and draw a sketch of how your website will appear to the audience. The developers will understand this much easier than trying to turn your idea into words. They can even tell you if it’s possible to do that or if you need to settle for another solution.
At this point, you can look at similar websites and get inspired by their design solutions, navigation, and functionalities. For example, if you have an eCommerce website, you have to pay attention to details like CTA buttons, breadcrumbs, product descriptions, and comment sections. If you need to directly advertise your business, you should include all the areas of expertise you cover, as well as the landing pages, testimonials, blog section, contact forms, etc.
Sketches work pretty well when it comes to web and graphic design projects. Even if you are not a talented artist, you can easily tell what you need if you draw it instead of using a hundred words to explain it.
While working on the sketch, you can determine if your website needs reskin, redevelopment, or restructuring.
But, what is that?
An action of pure redesign because of the looks. The navigation, SEO, and content strategy stay the same, while the site gets a completely new look. It’s great if you want to leave a visual impression on the visitors.
Redevelopment includes significant functionality changes. The developers work with designers, and code changes are made. Sometimes redevelopment doesn’t include design changes.
A complete redesign of the current website, including the looks, navigation, and content. Most of the time, businesses need to restructure their website to improve their overall performance.
3. Choose the Web Development Builder
It seems like many websites are built using WordPress. It’s a convenient builder that also offers pre-ready functional templates. Website builders are perfect for small businesses but also for big companies.
You need to know that WordPress may be the most popular builder, but there are many others like Wix, Joomla, Weebly, etc. You can build the website from scratch and integrate it with the preferred content management system if you want a custom design with unique functionalities.
Builders are simple to use. You can literally drag and drop the sections you prefer, and adjust them as needed. When working on serious projects, you need more customization.
Keep all these things in mind when choosing the proper builder, and make sure it’s capable of handling your business requirements.
What Should You Look for in a Website Builder?
There are so many criteria, and qualities website builders provide. Surely, some of them can be critical factors when choosing the right one. At this point, it’s important to find the one that offers an easy-to-use way of customizing and editing.
Pay attention to the pricing because some features and components may increase the cost. Any extra button or feature comes with a price. So, make sure the pricing covers all the functionalities you need to prevent additional charges.
The next thing you may find important is the flexibility of templates and design features. Every template should be customizable, so you can add eCommerce elements to your website.
The provider must offer exceptional customer support and fair privacy terms.
It’s completely normal if you don’t find what you need in existing website builders. That’s why you also have an option to hire developers who can build the website from scratch and then integrate it with CMS.
4. Recreate and Improve the Content Strategy According to the New Design
If you have a website, you’ve probably been working on your content strategy for a long time. It may seem that colors and styles have nothing to do with content marketing and strategy. The truth is that it can easily break the current SEO performance, especially if you mess with meta tags and titles.
Indeed, other components can affect your overall digital marketing strategy. But, when it comes to your content, accessibility is what you need. Ensure all your blogs, articles, and products are accessible from the homepage. That means your website redesign project plan must include predictive navigational settings, like accessible menus and pages.
Sometimes you may need to adjust the content strategy according to the new design. Still, the things visitors value most are:
- Accessibility, because they love great navigation
- Visual appearance because it creates an impression of professionalism and trustworthiness
- Readability and engaging properly edited content
- Using photos and videos to support the content
Your new website design can motivate you to improve the content strategy according to the new features. Also, you can tailor the redesign ideas according to the content strategy.
We can’t split these aspects up because they work together to create an exceptional user experience for every visitor.
This leads us to the conclusion that our website must be content-friendly. Visitors come to the sites to find relevant information for their current interests.
We can ease the whole thing for them by providing easily-digestible content accompanied by exceptional design.
If you want to dive into this part, ensure you understand the best SEO practices affecting the website’s ranking. You will be surprised by how important website design is for the SEO and content marketing strategy.
5. Build the Project Framework
This is probably the most exciting part of the project. You need to create a visual hierarchy of your website and include all the features and functionalities.
The framework is a document that defines all the activities needed to successfully execute a website redesign.
Usually, the framework contains a few sections, like defining the current weaknesses you want to be resolved, content and performance analysis, design suggestions, testing, refining, debugging, and finally, launching the redesigned product.
You can even split the project into different phases and define deadlines for every milestone. Here is a nice example you can use as a website redesign project plan template:
Review the current website
Set your goals
Define the buyer persona
Perform content audit
Review the old posts
Decide what to keep
Cut the unnecessary content
Define the website architecture
Write the body copy, meta descriptions, and CTAs
Develop functional wireframes and define the routes
Work on the website design
Develop the redesigned website
Check if the current content fits
Take care of the 301 redirects
Launch the redesigned website
Get ready for the eventual performance issues
Mark the bugs and issues
Check on the analytics parameters
Resolve the problems
Relaunch the polished version of the redesigned website
Track down the performance
That’s how your project should look like before you hand it down to the web development team. When all the phases and steps are well-defined, they will know exactly what to do and act quickly when an issue comes up.
Also, you can get regular reports on how things are going and if they can meet the deadline.
6. Consistent Branding
The final phase of the website redesign project plan is the branding process. Once it’s done, you have to provide the branded content, logo, and other elements that are part of your visual identity.
Make sure everything is incorporated properly, and if it works fine.
Your visitors will be confused when they visit the redesigned website for the first time. But, consistent branding will tell them you are the brand they trust and encourage them to explore the new functionalities.
7. Pay Attention to the Mobile Version
Many designers include a complete service, so you can be sure both desktop and mobile versions of your website work perfectly well.
Today, many visitors access websites using their smartphones, so you must create an equally exciting experience for them too. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you risk losing traffic and ranking lower on the search engine results.
So, the project plan for website redesign must include the mobile version.
If you don’t pay attention to it, you risk losing so many potential clients who access your website using their mobile phones.
Potential Risks of Redesigning Your Website
You can pay enough attention to every step of the redesigning project, and some things can still go wrong. It’s important to include the calculated risks in the project framework. Even if you have the perfect design, you can still face traffic loss, lower conversion rates, and fewer closed sales.
One of the things you can do is lower the initial expectations. Give the audience enough time to get used to the new design. When things are done properly, you can easily re-engage them, showing the new beneficial features of the site. Make sure you incorporate all the web design navigation best practices in your plan.
When it comes to SEO, you can do miracles and still face lower rankings. Sometimes, Google needs more time to crawl the website information and index it properly.
It’s good to be aware of these things, so you can decide what to do next.
Our Final Thoughts
Web redesign projects are not that easy to execute. As you can see, it takes a lot of planning and work until you have a nice idea of what you want to accomplish.
During the process, you will have to make many decisions. Some of them can even be pretty unpopular, like budget cuts, tight deadlines, or even adjusting the other strategies according to the new design. The good thing is that when done properly, all the components will come together perfectly, ensuring your business still grows after the redesign.