Are you ready to revamp your company website?
No matter if you do it in-house or hire an outsourced web design agency. You need to make sure you use a proven website redesign project plan.
It’s like the old saying:
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Redesigning a website is not something you do in a day. And it’s definitely not something you should do on the fly.
Missing deadlines is a common problem when it comes to projects of any kind.
A lack of planning is the number one reasons for this.
In this article, we outline the steps you need to consider in your next website redesign project plan.
We will give you the steps in the order our team at Growmodo uses most often.
Of course, every project is different, but it can help you as a guideline.
If you like to have a ready-to-use template, you can download it here.
Why Do You Need a Website Redesign Project Plan?
Missing project deadlines is always just a symptom of other problems that your marketing team or web design agency haven’t addressed. Maybe it’s an uncomplete web design brief, insufficient time estimate or miscommunication between web designers, developers, copywriters and project manager.
Making mistakes in the planning phase can have a very negative effect on your company like,
- Unexpected additional project costs
- The frustration between all stakeholders
- Missed lead generation & sales opportunities
- Postponed marketing activities that depend on the website redesign
As a marketing manager or business owner, you need to have transparency about the whole redesign process.
Put systems in place to get the project back on track, once you run into obstacles and delays.
Even when you work with an experienced web design agency, always ask for access to their project management tool or request a website redesign project plan on a shared Google sheet.
You want to have an overview of the progress at all times.
It also allows reducing the approval time at every step along the way.
So how do you structure your website redesign?
12 Steps for a Winning Website Redesign Project Plan
Every web designer prefers a different structure and order when redesigning a website.
There is no fixed rule that you have to complete the project in a special order.
However, using the order we outlined in this article helped us to reduce the risk of revisions later on.
It is more important that you don’t skip important tasks and don’t set unrealistic deadlines.
Always consult with the person that is actually doing the work, what she or he thinks is a reasonable time frame to complete the task.
So let’s get started.
Professional web design companies will not dive headfirst into a redesign blind. You have to prepare before beginning the process.
A thorough appraisal of the existing website and used marketing technology is key.
Along with targeting website problems, there are other steps. Auditing of the site content and current site SEO auditing is necessary.
This should also include keyword research, competition analysis, and content gap analysis.
After you have a good overview of what’s currently working for you (and what isn’t) you can switch your attention to the people that the website is for:
Therefore, your next step is building a customer profile.
After that, you can start and the validation of any wireframes.
Once the team understands the extent of the work then you can continue to the new website plan.
The layout of a website can make or break retention and conversion rates.
Bounce rates will go through the roof if your site has a poor layout and structure.
When planning the layout of the site you should consider the following major design elements.
Each of these will play into the result and feel of the site. These decisions need to ring true to your business and company culture.
They will affect user conversions and sales.
- Unexpected additional project costs
Is it approachable?
Does it have the correct tone for your target market?
Will it get the user to do what YOU want them to do?
The look and feel of your website represent you as a company. Try to design & develop a website that embodies your brand message.
Typography is often overlooked as a minor detail.
But, the truth is, the wrong font size, spacing, and type can kill your conversion rate.
Font and font families are crucial to legibility and feel.
Does the typography send the correct message?
Is all of your content readable and scannable?
Make it easy for your users to interact with the site and understand your messaging.
- Color Scheme
Psychology of color is a huge consideration.
The wrong color scheme can cost you leads and sales. Color accounts for a shocking 85% of purchasing decisions.
Do you want to stick with your companies current colors?
Will you complete a rebranding along with the launch of the new site?
While you can’t touch a screen you want your user to have an interesting visual space.
Different textures within the homepage give visual interest and keep the user engaged.
Color and texture present a customer-focused as opposed to a brand focused experience.
Create several different options for the new site. This is your opportunity to change the look and feel of your company online. You want to throw it all at the wall.
Different mockups will let you see varying options. Seeing them all laid out you can come up with combinations you wouldn’t have thought of before.
Now that there is a plan for the layout of the site it’s time to create some killer content.
Some web companies leave this part to the end valuing design over content.
Our thought is why try and fit a square peg into a round hole?
You could spend months designing the site with dummy content and then realize you need much more space than the current layout provides.
By understanding the content you need each page to hold you can design more effectively.
Pre-planning and creation of content save implementation work on the backend of the design process.
Content creation and prep on the front end can save your timeline and budget.
Once you have the content created it’s time to merge the mockup and the content.
This will allow for accurate heading placements.
Give you a chance to correct meta tags. Perform alt tag implementation.
It gives the ability to change and adapt the font styles as needed.
In the mockup, you can define anchor texts and the links they will lead to.
This provides an accurate picture of the link siloing before you launch a live website.
You can make corrections to the mockup unfettered. Without interfering with the later search engine optimization of the pages.
Don’t worry about re-directs in a mockup.
Managing the content silo in the front end of the process helps you tailor the strategy from day one. This gives you an edge on your competition.
You can match the content silo to what the search engines want for your niche.
It makes your site more likely to reach position one and position zero faster.
So, you have the basic mockup. You have the content. You’ve chosen your typography and color scheme.
Now is the time for the website design.
Take your time and create great artwork. Consider a rebrand of your logo to go with the new feel of the site.
Did you decide to complete the redesign because your branding’s outdated (this is a great reason to redesign your website by the way)?
This is the time to work with artists and graphic designers to re-develop your image.
It is also the time to work on the design of the headers. Consider the different sections of each page.
- What’s going onto the footer?
- What will your menus include and how will the user interact with them?
- Do you have clear CTAs?
- What will make them enticing?
- Why will your customer enter your funnel?
Perform conversion rate optimization at every step.
You’ll want to design your buttons and how they function. Remember to create a favicon of your logo to personalize the site.
Development is the implementation of your website redesign project plan.
The developers have the tech-savvy to make your dreams come true.
Your outsource web design team will take the plan and use coding languages to make it a reality.
A real functional site.
There will be a lot going on in the backend staging site. The development stage includes designing how your 404s will look.
Making sure your images won’t affect page speed. Ensure URL consistency and verify the SSL.
Activation of essential plugins. The creation of backup protocols and measures.
Your team has done their magic. They now hand over a fully developed and staging site.
This is the completed site in a safe environment that is not yet live on the internet.
This is the perfect time to test the site. Test that all the buttons work. Look through every image.
Do a test run of the subscription service. Go through all the content and make sure the layout is correct and pleasing to the eye.
You’ll test for page speed and proper coding optimizations. Usability testing. Brand consistency. Now is the best time to catch errors.
The last thing you want is your customers catching things your team didn’t pick up on.
Because they won’t tell you about it. They’ll just bounce away from the site.
There’s only so much you can do in a staging environment. Certain features won’t function in staging.
For instance, you can’t preview live social feeds or google review widgets.
Once you go live you can install analytics and third-party tracking software so you can see how the site is performing.
When your site is online, you’ll also configure the backup schedules and protocols for keeping the site in tip-top shape.
9. Marketing and SEO: Make Sure You Don’t Lose Your Traffic
Implementation of the marketing and SEO procedures comes next. This includes:
- Creation of an XML sitemap
- Configuration of your robots.txt file
- Submission of the homepage and all internal pages to search engines
- Submission of the XML sitemap to search engines
- Checking the formatting of each page in the search results on search engines
- Optimizing the featured images and excerpts for each page
- Optimizing the meta tags, titles, and descriptions for the SERP results
These steps will make sure your website begins to grow as soon as it goes live.
This begins to build the momentum before the official website launch.
It gives you a chance to build some social buzz as well.
10. Additional Testing: You Can’t Be Careful Enough
Now that you’re live and optimized for search, you’ll run the second round of testing. This can include but is not limited to:
- SEO Testing
- Marketing Testing
- Optimization Tests
- Database Tests
- Security Testing
- Site validation
You’ll verify that everything is still working now that you’re in a fully live environment.
11. Website Launch: Let’s Announce It To The World
The official website launch is an exciting day indeed. You’ll want to build some hype with a press release and social media posting.
Before the site launches and is fully customer-facing there are a few more optimizations to complete.
You’ll want to run a page speed test and perform on-page optimizations.
- Clean up backend and plugins
- Combine & minify scripts
- Combine & Minify CSS
- Change DNS
Once you’ve verified all these last optimizations it’s time for the launch! Do everything you can to boost your marketing buzz.
12. Maintenance and Optimization: Web Design is a Process, Not Project
Now that you have a brand new shiny website you can just sit back and relax right?
It is the time to implement a maintenance and optimization schedule.
If you want to automate this process in your business, check out Growmodo’s website management service.
You’ll want to keep all plugins and the backend systems updated.
Continue to produce content and implement new strategies to build your user base.
With more and more website visits, you can start analyzing the data you collect and make adjustments as needed.
Make sure security backups are working in the right way.
Analyze your page rankings as they come in. Continue to optimize each page for the target keywords that bring you business and that the SERPs want to rank the page for.
Consider factors like keyword cannibalization and your overall content silo whenever optimizing a page.
If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail! Get Your Website Redesign Project Plan Right
A website redesign is a major time and financial investment. Building a quality website that will be competitive in your niche is not cheap or fast.
But, with a thorough website redesign project plan, you can stick to your timeline and budget.
Think of a website redesign as a home construction project. Well, more like a total tear-down and re-build.
You have to lay the foundation of the home before you build the walls.
The walls need a framework before you install drywall. The electrical needs approval and permits before masonry continue.
The same step-by-step process applies to web design.
Without a detailed plan, the project can get away from you. Without a strong foundation, you’ll end up with a shaky final project.
What’s the point of a re-brand or re-design if on launch day the site crashes?
Are you ready to make your website redesign plan? We have you covered.
Download our free website redesign project template today to start making your website dreams a reality.
Need some help on where to start? We will be happy to help you develop your vision. Learn more about our web design services here.