Taking on the task of redesigning your website doesn't have to be stressful. Review this 10 Step Website Redesign Checklist before you get started, and your entire process will be smoother.
Step 1: Why do you want to redesign your website?
People contact us almost every day to get our take on a website redesign.
Most people think their current site looks dated and they simply need to update it. If you haven't touched the site in more than five years that probably is a good enough reason.
I bet there is more to the story than just wanting to update the site—you probably want more business, right?
But changing your website's design won't be the silver bullet to an influx of leads and customers.
Websites aren't static brochures anymore—they're a source to not only generate new business but close that business for you as well.
Understanding your overall goals of the website redesign is critical.
"Changing your website's design won't be the silver bullet to an influx of leads and customers."
Do you want to attract more visitors? If so, by how much more?
Do you want to convert those visitors into leads? If so, by how much more?
Do you want to close those leads into to customers? If so, by how much more?
Establishing your goals early on will allow you to give clearer direction to your content writer, designer and web developer.
Step 2: Audit Your current Website
Start by understanding all of the content you have on the site now.
You need to think about how many pages you currently have and whether not you need to keep them, add new ones, and how many of those will need updating.
We have a handy content audit download to help your get organized. Just click on the graphic to grab it.
Step 3: Update or Define Your Buyer Personas
More than likely, you have several buyer personas that your website needs to attract.
You need to identify each persona and then consider how they all work together. If you haven't established your personas, you should check out this blog post called When, Why, and How to Update Your Buyer Personas.
And if you have personas already, please, please check out the post anyway. I've seen too many outdated buyer personas already this year from companies who think their personas are "just fine," and they needed work. We just underwent a buyer persona overhaul, too, and it's made an enormous difference and improvement with how we speak to our audience now.
Step 4: Clarify Your Buyers Journey
The best way to do this is just to take the content map you already completed and match it to each of your personas journeys. Most of us end up with a lot of content in the decision-making stage. Don't forget about the awareness and consideration stages—we've seen this mistake happen a lot.
If you're still unclear on how to market by lifecycle stages, check out our free download, Master Your Customer Lifecycle: Defining Leads at Every Stage of the Funnel. It'll give you a deep-dive into how to market based on lifecycle stages, as well as what type of content will fit into the customer's buyer's journey.
Step 5: Research Other Sites You Like
Do your research on your competitors, others in your industry and non-industry related websites that you like.
Being able to share examples will make it easier to be on the same page as your web team.
Some of our favorite places for design inspiration include:
The websites mentioned above feature portfolios and designs from hundreds of different graphic designers.
You'll find tons design inspiration, whether you're looking for websites, graphics, infographics, videos, and more.
Step 6: Understand What Platform To Use
There are a lot of options when it comes to building your website, and choosing the right platform can be tough—after all, it's the very foundation for everything else you do for it.
While we work primarily out of the HubSpot COS (Content Optimization System), we took into these considerations (and you should, too, no matter where you decide to build your site):
Understand the Terms
A COS (content optimization system) is a tool to manage all your marketing activities, not just the website and blog. It includes analytics, social media, landing pages, CTAs and pretty much everything else you will be using in your everyday marketing activities. ie) HubSpot
A CMS (content management system) is a platform to help you manage your website pages and blog. It doesn’t include analytics, social media, landing pages, CTAs, emails, isn’t optimized for mobile and tablet use (which is a must starting from February 2014) by default. ie) Wordpress
HubSpot COS has a full-time security team, which is working to eliminate vulnerabilities and protect the site you work so hard on. If there’s an issue, you can pick up the phone and talk to a real person. For Wordpress, you will need to add a plug-in and pay each month for a similar result.
Every second lost on loading speed, results in seven percent conversion rate decline and 16 percent customer satisfaction decrease. You can analyze the speed of your website with PageSpeed, which is a tool produced by Google to help you optimize your site.
Slow site speed is an issue which most open source platforms face because they are created by third party developers (plug-ins, optimizations, integrations) and the more features you add, the slower your website will load. HubSpot's COS is one of the fastest possible platforms to build your site on today. The Web Application Accelerator (WAA) by Akamai is built into your HubSpot account at no additional charge. The WAA can improve dynamic Web-based application response times by up to 5x. Whether you're across the street or the globe, you'll get the fastest load times possible.
Step 7: Map out the Navigation
Mapping out your navigation doesn't have to be stressful.
There are several online applications to help you visually layout your sitemap. You certainly don't need to use an online service all you need to is use a white board and start laying out the site.
You could even use sticky notes on a table if you prefer. Either way, it's important that you have one.
It helps you and your entire team know how visitors will find information on your website. Staying on the same page and seeing it visually worked out can make all the difference in making your website easy to use and find information.
They can take many different forms, but here are 2 examples that we have done. You'll see just how different they are, but both were equally crucial to the process.
Step 8: Approve Mock-Ups
Once you have completed steps 1-7 it's time to get an idea of what the time will look like from a 10,000 ft view.
Website mockups will show you the layout and the look of your site. Mockups are just flat images that cannot be interacted with but look like a screenshot of a website page.
They should be used as a way to communicate design ideas back and forth, and after it's been finalized, then you can develop the website.
Step 9: Update Content
Should you design your website before writing the content?
We see this mistake all the time and it always comes back to bite us. Always go content before design. Always, always.
Don't get me wrong—the design of your site is a crucial part, but if the message never comes across you're toast. When you have your content written first, your design can help drive that message more forward and make it more heard and easy to digest.
Review your buyer persons and buyers journey and then dive into the content. Can you freshen up the About Us page? How about your product or services pages? How about the overall tone of the site? Does it still match your current business?
Step 10: Update Graphics
Are you using the same images from 1999? Take a new company photo, update your product or services photos. Make sure that everything is responsive and looks good on multiple devices.
For all of you do-it-self marketers, this checklist is a great way to get clear on your vision and organized. By taking these steps your website redesign will become stress-free (Well. At least less stressful).
If you're looking for more ways to prepare for a website redesign, check out the Top 10 Website Redesign Mistakes.