Businesses are going to great lengths to update their websites this year. Two key trends are driving this change, both as a result of Covid-19:
- An uptick in online activity as a result of lockdowns the world over.
- The switch to online shopping and digitization of brick and mortar stores.
Whether you are considering a website redesign to add new functionalities (such as digital carts) or any of these 20 Reasons To Redesign Your Website, this guide will answer all your questions about the process.
Table of Contents:
- Planning & Preparation
- Choose A Partner
- Kick-start Development
- Optimize The Website
- Launch the Website
- Post-Launch Checkups
- Next Steps
Planning & Preparation
A fundamentally sound website redesign plan elevates quality standards and provides a sense of direction. To ensure a successful deployment of your website’s redesign, familiarize yourself with the necessary terminology, validating your content and data and goal-setting.
A blueprint for marketing leaders to define the strategic direction for the website redesign:
- Root Cause Analysis: A redesign decision could be instigated by several circumstances: be it negative marketing ROIs, a security flaw, or as a response to feedback from key stakeholders. Caution: this is not an exhaustive list; we recommend you read our post on 20 warning signs that indicate your website needs a redesign for thorough understanding. Conducting a root cause analysis exercise with your existing website helps you to not just identify problem areas but also aids in preventing future recurrences.
- Purpose Identification: Ask yourself where the website fits into your organization’s goals, what you hope to achieve with it, and then direct your team’s efforts towards the most important outcomes. Website owners who align the purpose of the website with their corporate mission statements find it beneficial while tackling future decisions. Some websites could be specifically redesigned for nurturing sales, in which case an enterprise goal should be called out at this stage. Here are some of the important purposes a website can have:
- Generating leads
- Nurturing Sales
- Building Your Reputation
- Informing & Engaging
- Improving Customer/Employee Satisfaction
The Purpose-defining exercise should include:
- Identification of the target market(s); creation of user personas and use cases
- Keyword research; core messages; content evaluation - putting the finger on distracting/irrelevant elements
- Defining clear actions that you want visitors to take on your website
Purposeful Website Redesign
- Budget Evaluation: While planning a budget for the website redesign, it helps to understand exactly what’s covered in it. If you are operating on a tight budget this year or are cautious about overspending, you need to be able to select the features to keep and the ones to leave out. That said, it is wise to have realistic expectations. Budgets for redesign depend on these factors:
- Custom or templatized builds
- Number of pages and quantity of content
- In-house development Vs. Outsourcing
- Timelines: A majority of designers surveyed said that they take between 11-40 hours to design a website from scratch. But it is also a well-known fact that only 49% of redesign projects finish and launch on time. In order to keep the redesign wagon on track, prioritizing your goals and keeping your wishlist short is strongly advised. There are advantages of adopting a phased approach towards the redesign process as well - the short, incremental introduction of new features keeps your website alive and agile.
- Technology: Websites have undergone leaps in technology with new frameworks such as Angular, Ruby on Rails, Django, and React.js. There are alternative platforms, the latest security add-ons, and new integrations to try as well. A redesign can be the perfect opportunity to upgrade from legacy systems and find new deals and partners. Aligning your technology stacks and backing up are smart moves prior to starting a redesign project.
- Benchmarking: Internal and external benchmarking can be a powerful combination. Internal goal setting ensures that your website meets your company’s quality standards, in what is known as ‘dogfooding’. A competitive analysis, meanwhile, will calibrate your website’s success in relation to the industry. It cultivates the interest of your leadership and helps get their buy-in for the project. Benchmarking exercises in the planning stage include the creation of marketing KPIs with well-defined metrics and their estimated timelines. It also pays to underline compliance and quality standards right in the beginning.
Expert Website Redesigns
Choose The Right Partner
A successful relationship is based on trust and commonality. In life and in design, prior knowledge pays off. Firstly, let’s examine the scope of partnerships. For a website redesign, you will need to work with a project manager, developer, a design agency, and miscellaneous vendors for web hosting, third party tools, and integrations. Secondly, you would need to prepare relevant groundwork for the selection process as outlined below. Pay careful consideration to long-term partners. A majority of web designers actually update their client’s website on a monthly or quarterly basis. So selecting the right partner is key here since you might need them again.
How to Select the Right Partner
Almost 80% of businesses feel positive about their outsourcing partners. Here’s how you can source the best design partner for your needs:
- Ask around for recommendations
- Review their portfolio of work, look for clients similar to your company or in the same industry. Ask to see testimonials from past clients.
- Larger agencies may have a wider portfolio and larger teams, but they may also have more clients to cater to and less time for you. Bespoke and mid-size agencies will often take a deeper interest by appointing a dedicated account/project manager.
- Pay attention to their communication skills and level of commitment. Remember that your business should always come first.
- Finally, consider the best value for money given your budget.
The Right Move: In-house or Outsource? Few organizations undertake redesign projects in-house. In fact, 46% of CIOs use outsourcing to get quick access to diverse skills sets.
If you are considering insourcing, take a moment to understand its risks. Namely, in resource mobility/hiring, cost of training, scalability, accountability, and market competitiveness. A comprehensive redesign is best left to experts, who bring best practices across technology stacks to your website.
Get Your Free Design Consultation
Today, web development and design often go hand in hand. The technology side of it includes web hosting, information structure, frameworks, and wireframing. On the other hand, aesthetics are all about designing for usability (UI/UX). Here are the critical aspects of website development and the roles they play in the redesign process:
- DNS & Web Hosting: A website is identified by the URL/ domain name. If you need to make any changes, it should be included in the project. Domain names are often bundled with hosting, which can be either managed or shared. Web hosting providers deliver a breadth of services, including storage, bandwidth, database support (MySQL/ Oracle, etc.), tech support, and mobile applications. This is one of the occasions where you can benefit from cost-savings by finding the best deals/discounts. Be warned: don’t skimp too much as it also affects your scaling and SEO.
- AMP Design: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a web component framework that makes your website more versatile and faster to load on mobile devices. In combination with responsive design, AMP delivers a lightning-fast experience to users that are accessing your website from their mobiles. Mobiles continue to contribute to half of all web traffic in the world, significantly driven by users in emerging digital markets.
- Machine Learning: Adopt the latest innovations in web development with AI and machine learning capabilities that offer personalized experiences to users and greatly enhance their interactions. Some examples include AI chatbots, improved discovery with natural language search, and predictive analysis to influence customer behavior. Machine learning also improves your website security by eliminating security threats, using algorithms that query the data encryption techniques and domain identities of potential hackers.
- Content Strategy & Marketing: The content on your website helps define and reiterate the business’ core values. It contributes to the culture and brand reputation of the company, both internally and externally. While redesigning, you must create a new content strategy with your revised goals in mind. The building blocks of a good content strategy include:
- Defining the primary audience and personas
- Content maps to engage and convert each of them
- Brand story and messaging, with attention to the tone of voice
- A content plan & calendar
- Identifications of all the channels and platforms on which the content/ website will be shared
- Content success metrics
- CMS & Wireframing: Once you have picked the right frameworks, focus on the content management system, which will ensure that updating the website on a regular basis remains uncomplicated. The wireframe comes next, with a focus on improving information structure and logical flows. Organizing the URL structure, backlinks, and redirects to the new page links should also be included.
- Design: The UI/UX is heavily influenced by aesthetics, which applies to the layout, colors, typography, and visual elements that attract and convert. While this ‘creative’ side of the redesign process needs to be tempered with data-led design principles, it can also be a good opportunity to give your brand a proper face-lift.
Create Wireframes That Convert
Optimize The Website
So, do you have the content and design ready to go? It’s time to optimize the website and place it where it has the best likelihood of success. Optimizing takes into consideration changes in search engine algorithms, consumer behavior trends, and the most popular engagement channels. Standard organic and inorganic marketing techniques to optimize the website include SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) best practices; PPC and Digital Advertising and Social Media readiness. Also, consider the feedback from employee surveys and inputs from your top clients to ensure that the website is answering their needs. Further fine-tune it with insights into consumer behavior and conversion tactics for landing pages.
Create Conversion Powerhouses
Launch the Website
Launches can be of two types.
A Soft Launch is when you have a smaller redesign project. You can use a holiday/ slow day to push new features live. Soft launches are cautious go-lives that help you stay in control of the situation even after launching, allowing you to rollback any faulty/ buggy features.
A Hard Launch - or Grand Opening as it’s called in the hospitality industry - is sensational. You open your doors to the public and roll out the red carpet. This means calling attention to the differentiators you have built into the new website using well-designed marketing campaigns. Such a launch can do wonders to boost your website traffic to new heights and sustain it for a long time. It typically takes more time than a soft launch and occurs after routine user tests. Whatever the type, you will need these tips for acing the launch:
- Planning & Timing: Allot at least 2 months to the planning exercise to ensure you get your best ideas, have time to thrash them out with key stakeholders, involve your partners in the launch, and round up some social media cred. The timing plays the most significant role in the launch.
- Testing & Crawl exercise: As you go about planning the big launch, pay close attention to the test runs and close all the pending loops. A crawl exercise puts your website on the map for search engines to read, store, and rank. It’s a vital part of SEO and enables the discovery of the website to online users.
- Announcement: Hyping up the launch of the website with a countdown timer or pre-launch page is a neat way to entice visitors and grow curiosity around the redesign. Ensure that all internal and external stakeholders get the launch message loud and clear. Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from your favorite brands and push the envelope!
Use Graphics That Convert
Congratulations on your launch! But we aren’t done yet. Gather your energy and people for one last exercise to ensure that the redesign is a grand success.
- Monitor health with analytics: Once the website is live, use tools such as Google Analytics to check the traffic flow, usage, and demographic data to ensure it is in line with your project objectives. Ask your design agency for a monthly and quarterly report on the website’s progress.
- Collect feedback: Launching a feedback survey can help you collect testimonials and positive reviews from customers and employees, which adds to your online trust bank. In fact, post-launch feedback can be some of the most useful and constructive ones you will get.
- Website marketing best practices: Further drive activity and engagement on your website using best practices such as:
- Adding the website to email signatures
- Updating it with new blog posts
- Promoting it on social media
- Building on your keyword strategy with long-tail and short-tail keywords
- Creating a case study that will serve as a knowledge base
2022 could be the year your website sets a new business record. With this encyclopedic guide to launch your website redesign, we hope you are primed for success. At WowDesign, we have helped ____ happy clients in their redesign journey.
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