Why do you need a checklist for website redesign?
A well-executed redesign can breathe new life into your company’s online presence, attract more visitors, and ultimately drive growth for your business.
However, launching a redesign project without proper planning and guidance can be a daunting task.
In this post, I want to share with you the basic steps of a redesign project for a business website.
The process can vary from business to business and from agency to agency, but most website redesign projects will follow these steps in roughly this order.
Not every business owner has gone through a website redesign, and it’s helpful to know what to expect so you can plan ahead, avoid unnecessary or ineffective work, and ensure your project is a success.
Let’s get started!
Our Website Redesign Checklist
Step 1: Assessing Whether Your Existing Website Really Needs a Redesign
Before diving into a website redesign project, it’s crucial to assess the need for it. Start by evaluating your current website’s performance and functionality. Consider the following:
- Identify pain points, such as slow loading times or a confusing user interface.
- Look for outdated design elements that no longer resonate with your target audience.
- Analyze user feedback and engagement metrics to gain valuable insights.
By considering these factors, you can determine whether a redesign is necessary and lay the foundation for a successful project that addresses your website’s shortcomings and maximizes its potential.
Step 2: Defining Clear Goals and Objectives
Once you’ve determined that a redesign is necessary, it’s essential to define clear goals and objectives.
Open up your laptop and start jotting down goals for your new site.
I like to focus on goals that are “S.M.A.R.T.”: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Make sure the goals you come up with tick all those boxes. It’s easy to set a goal that you want your new site to draw 1M visitors per month by the end of the first year, but if your current traffic is 1,500 visits per month, is that goal achievable? Probably not. Set your sites on a more realistic goal.
I also advise clients not to distract themselves with too many goals.
Look at your overall business objectives, and pare down your list of goals for your website redesign to the essentials, putting all your focus on those few items.
If you have too many goals, you probably won’t be able to give them each enough attention to succeed.
I find that this list of website redesign goals is usually a good start for most businesses:
- Traffic: If optimized correctly, and combined with other marketing strategies, your new website should attract more visitors than your old one.
- Conversions: One of the main opportunities when redesigning your website is to increase the number of visitors who “convert,” meaning they take some desired action like filling out a contact form, signing up for your newsletter, calling your business, or downloading a content offer.
- Improved user experience: Your new site should be easier for visitors to navigate and use. Today’s consumers expect a good user experience, and they will leave (usually immediately) if they don’t get it.
- Alignment with company branding and objectives: If your company’s brand identity or the services you offer have changed, redesigning your site is an opportunity to bring your online presence into alignment.
- Qualify new leads: One goal that isn’t mentioned much in articles like these is lead qualification, but it’s a goal that is important to many clients I’ve worked with. If your old site is encouraging too many prospects to call you, and you lack the internal systems and staff to properly take in leads this way, you may want your site to guide users toward filling out a web form or taking some other action. You can combine your new website design with marketing automation efforts that operate invisibly on the back end to prequalify incoming leads so you can spend more time talking to the ones who are your ideal customers.
By setting clear goals, you provide direction for the redesign project and establish benchmarks for success.
Step 3: Choosing the Right Web Design Agency
Choosing the right web design agency is a critical decision that can greatly impact the success of your website redesign. Here are the key considerations to keep in mind:
Select a partner who understands your industry
When choosing an agency, look for a reliable partner that understands your industry, goals, and target audience.
Talk to potential agency reps on the phone. Do they “get” you and your industry? Can they identify with the challenges you are facing and the problems you’re trying to solve?
Seek referrals from trusted sources or conduct thorough research to identify agencies with relevant experience.
You can save a lot of time and difficulty in the long run if you can find an agency that understands where you’re coming from rather than trying to teach an agency that’s unfamiliar with your industry.
Evaluate their expertise
Assess the agency’s portfolio to gauge the quality of their work and their ability to deliver results. Look for examples that align with your vision and demonstrate a strong understanding of design, user experience, and branding.
Client reviews and testimonials
Review client testimonials or reach out to references provided by the agency. This will give you insights into their professionalism, communication style, and client satisfaction.
Consider budget and timeline
Discuss budget and timeline expectations upfront to ensure alignment. Be transparent about your budget constraints and inquire about the agency’s pricing structure.
Discuss the timeline for the project to ensure it aligns with your desired launch date. Keep in mind that meeting a target timeline also depends on the availability of you and your staff to review work and provide feedback in a timely way.
By carefully considering these factors, you can select a web design agency that not only meets your requirements but also becomes a trusted partner throughout the full website redesign process. Their expertise and collaborative approach will contribute significantly to the success of your project.
Step 4: Collaborating with the Web Design Agency
So you’ve found a great web design agency partner. Great! It’s time to kick off your project.
Collaboration with the web design agency is a vital component of a successful website redesign. During this phase, you can expect the following collaborative activities:
- Kickoff meeting: The agency will conduct an initial kickoff meeting to go over what you can expect during the project. Depending on the scope of the project, they may use the kickoff meeting as a chance to ask you questions so they can better understand your business, goals, and target audience. For larger projects, they may schedule a series of meetings with your key team members. This step allows them to gather valuable insights and align their strategies with your vision.
- Website audit: The agency will perform a comprehensive audit of your existing website. This audit helps identify areas for improvement, such as outdated design elements, navigation issues, or technical shortcomings. It also provides a baseline for performance metrics, such as traffic and conversion rates.
Throughout the collaboration process, clear communication and regular updates are key.
You and the agency will work together to ensure that your requirements, expectations, and objectives are understood and incorporated into the website redesign.
This collaborative approach sets the stage for a successful partnership and a website that effectively represents your brand and engages your target audience.
Step 5: Strategy and Planning Phase
The strategy and planning phase of your website redesign project is where the vision for your new website begins to take shape. During this phase, you can expect the following activities:
Defining the sitemap and navigation structure
The agency will work with you to create a clear sitemap that outlines the structure and hierarchy of your various website pages. This ensures that visitors can navigate your site easily and find the information they need.
Wireframing involves creating basic visual representations of the key pages and user flows on your website. It’s usually in the form of black-and-white low-fidelity boxes and text showing where content will go. Draft web copy may be added to the wireframes at this stage.
Collaborating on branding and design direction
This phase is an opportunity to collaborate with the agency on branding elements such as colors, typography, and overall design direction. T
ogether, you can ensure that the design aligns with your brand identity and resonates with your target audience. Some businesses have already have their own brand style guide, but many will rely on their web design agency to create one for them. Even a simple one can help keep a company’s brand style consistent.
Prototyping takes this a step further by creating interactive mockups that allow you to visualize the user experience and provide feedback before the actual design and development work begins.
Your prototyped pages are a glimpse of how your site will look and behave once it is developed for the web.
At Electromagnetic, we use the powerful prototyping tool Figma to create and share prototypes with our clients.
Depending on the scope of the project, sometimes just the homepage is turned into a high-fidelity prototype, and sometimes multiple pages are.
The look and feel of your website is important for defining your company’s brand image and boosting credibility. However, it is the content on your site that is most important for attracting visitors and encouraging them to convert to leads . . . and eventually paying customers or clients.
Developing a content strategy is crucial for engaging your website visitors and conveying your brand message effectively. The agency can assist in defining the content structure, creating compelling copy, and incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.
Many agencies can also help you with ongoing content creation services, such as blogging and other content marketing efforts.
By investing time and effort in the strategy and planning phase, you lay the groundwork for a successful website redesign. This collaborative process ensures that the agency understands your objectives and can translate them into a cohesive and engaging website that meets the needs of your target audience.
Step 6: Development and Implementation
Once the strategy and design phase is complete, it’s time to move into the development and implementation stage of your website redesign project. Here’s what you can expect during this phase:
Converting designs into a functional website
The web design agency will take the approved wireframes and design mockups and transform them into a fully functional website. They will create clean and efficient code, ensuring that your website is responsive, user-friendly, and optimized for various devices and browsers.
Integrating necessary features and functionality
Depending on your requirements, the agency will integrate features such as contact forms, image galleries, e-commerce functionality, or any other custom functionality your website needs. They will ensure that these features work seamlessly and enhance the overall user experience.
Content migration and optimization
If you have existing content on your current website, the agency will assist with migrating it to the new site. They will optimize the content for SEO, ensuring that it is keyword-rich, properly formatted, and structured to improve search engine visibility.
Training and handover
Before the official launch, the agency may provide training on how to manage and update your website’s content using a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress or Hubspot. They will also provide documentation or support resources to assist you in ongoing website maintenance.
During the development and implementation phase, the web design agency will bring your website to life, ensuring that it aligns with your vision and meets the highest standards of functionality and performance. Their expertise and attention to detail will ensure a smooth transition from design to a fully functional website.
Step 7: Testing and Quality Assurance
Testing and QA play a crucial role in ensuring that your redesigned website functions flawlessly and provides an exceptional user experience. During this phase, the following activities take place:
The web design agency conducts thorough testing across multiple devices, browsers, and operating systems to identify any potential issues. They check for proper functionality of all interactive elements, forms, links, and media files.
Cross-browser and device compatibility
The agency ensures that your website renders correctly and functions seamlessly on various browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge) and across different devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Page load speed optimization
Optimizing the page load speed is essential for enhancing user experience and improving search engine rankings. The agency performs speed tests and implements optimization techniques like image compression, caching, and minification to ensure fast loading times.
Responsive design testing
With the increasing use of mobile devices, responsive design is vital. The agency verifies that your mobile friendly website adjusts and displays correctly on different screen sizes and resolutions, providing a consistent and user-friendly experience across all devices.
The agency checks all content, including text, images, videos, and downloadable files, to ensure accuracy, proper formatting, and alignment with your brand guidelines. They also validate links to external resources or other pages within your website.
By conducting comprehensive testing and quality assurance, the web design agency ensures that your redesigned website functions smoothly, is visually appealing, and provides an enjoyable experience for your site visitors. These efforts minimize the risk of technical issues and enhance the overall success of your website.
Step 8: Launch and Post-Launch Activities
The launch of your redesigned website marks an exciting milestone. However, it’s important to consider post-launch activities to ensure a smooth transition and ongoing success. Here’s what you can expect during this phase:
Before going live, the web design agency conducts a final pre-launch checklist. This includes double-checking all website functionalities, validating forms, ensuring proper tracking and analytics setup, and confirming that all web pages and content are optimized for search engines.
Domain and hosting setup
If you’ve chosen a new domain or hosting provider for your redesigned website, the agency assists with the necessary setup and configurations. They ensure that your domain is correctly connected, SSL certificates are in place for secure browsing, and hosting parameters are optimized.
Website backup and security measures
The agency implements backup protocols and security measures to safeguard your website from potential threats. They set up regular backups to ensure that your website’s data and content are protected and can be restored if needed.
After the website goes live, the agency performs post-launch testing to ensure that everything is functioning as expected. They check for any potential issues that may have occurred during the launch process and address them promptly.
Content updates and maintenance
As your business evolves, you may need to update and modify website content. The agency can provide ongoing maintenance and support services, ensuring that your website remains up to date, secure, and aligned with your evolving business needs. If your agency offers it, you may choose to engage them in ongoing content creation services, such as posting regularly to your company blog.
These ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and optimization efforts contribute to the long-term success of your redesigned website, keeping it current, secure, and aligned with your business objectives.
Step 9: Ongoing hosting and support
Maintaining a high-performing website requires ongoing high-quality hosting and support. Most web design agencies offer some sort of support or ongoing hosting package. Here’s what you can expect:
- Website maintenance: Regular updates, troubleshooting, and security checks to keep your site running smoothly. Safe updates of WordPress core and WordPress plugins (if your site is built on the WordPress CMS).
- Content updates: As your business evolves, you may need to update and modify website content. The agency can provide ongoing maintenance and support services, ensuring that your website remains up to date, secure, and aligned with your evolving business needs. If your agency offers it, you may choose to engage them in ongoing content creation services, such as posting regularly to your company blog. Minor updates may be charged by the hour, whereas larger additions may warrant a new design contract.
- Performance monitoring: If your agency offers hosting services or a website care plan, they will continue to monitor your site once it is live. The agency monitors website performance, analyzes user behavior, and identifies areas for improvement. Depending on the services you’ve agreed upon, they may implement optimizations to enhance website speed, user engagement, and conversion rates.
- SEO: Implementing strategies to boost search engine visibility and attract organic traffic.
- Conversion rate optimization: Improving user experience and optimizing calls-to-action for higher conversions, usually through A/B testing.
- Security and backup: Implementing measures to protect your website from threats and ensuring regular backups.
- Support: Prompt assistance and guidance whenever you need it.
With ongoing support and optimization, your redesigned website will remain secure, up to date, and aligned with your business goals.
Now Use This Website Redesign Checklist for a Successful Project!
Embarking on a website redesign project can be a transformative journey for your business. By following the essential steps outlined in this checklist, you can ensure a smooth and successful process.
Assessing the need for a redesign, defining your goals, choosing the right agency, collaborating effectively, conducting thorough audits, and following a structured development and testing process are key elements to consider.
Remember, a well-executed redesign can enhance your online presence, improve user experience, and drive meaningful results for your business.
However, the journey doesn’t end with the launch of your redesigned website.
Ongoing support and optimization are crucial for maintaining its performance and keeping it aligned with your evolving business needs.
Regular website maintenance, content updates, performance monitoring, SEO efforts, and continuous improvement strategies will contribute to the long-term success of your online presence.
By partnering with a professional web design agency, you can leverage their expertise, experience, and guidance throughout the entire site redesign process. Their knowledge of industry trends, technical skills, and creative insights will help you create a website that truly represents your brand and connects with your target audience.
So, take the leap, invest in a website redesign, and unlock the full potential of your online presence.
By implementing the steps outlined in this checklist and collaborating closely with a trusted web design agency, you can achieve a website that not only meets your goals but also exceeds your expectations. Embrace the power of a well-crafted website, and watch your business thrive in the digital marketing landscape.
We’re here to help
At Electromagnetic Web, we are committed to assisting you throughout every step of your website redesign journey.
Whether you need guidance in assessing the need for a redesign, defining your goals, choosing the right agency, or navigating the intricacies of web development and optimization, we have the expertise and experience to provide the support you need. With our collaborative approach and focus on delivering exceptional results, we are passionate about helping your business thrive in the digital landscape.
Contact us today and let us be your trusted partner in creating a website that represents your brand, engages your audience, and drives tangible growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a website revamp vs a website redesign?
Before you launch a complete website redesign, determine whether your current website may still have some life left in it. If the answer is yes, then you may want to consider a minor website revamp. The difference between a total redesign and a revamp is that the latter will modify and build off of your existing site, updating its appearance and content to meet your current business needs. A redesign will start from scratch, creating a whole new backend and new content.
When is the right time to start a website redesign?
The common advice is to launch a new website every two years. I’ve found this to be an unrealistic schedule for most small businesses. I’ve written a whole post about which factors you should weigh in determining when to start a website redesign. The bottom line is that it will depend on your business goals and how well your existing site is performing and working. If your main motivation for a redesign is simple aesthetics, it may not be worth the expense and time to do it right away. If your current site has serious issues with functionality, responsiveness, and brand alignment, then you should probably start the process right away.
What does a website redesign include?
A site redesign can involve all new content, site structure, and visual elements to make your website easier to navigate and more effective. Your redesigned site will aim to increase lead generation and revenue for your company.
Who should I hire to redesign my company website?
Most small business owners choose to work with a web design agency or freelance web designer for a redesign project. I recommend narrowing your initial search to those who come personally recommended or who have positive reviews and testimonials. You can also save a lot of time and end up with a better site if you choose a web designer who has experience with your industry.