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How to Plan A Website Redesign

Follow these steps to plan a website redesign

As a digital project manager for nearly 12 years, I’ve consulted for, planned and managed around 100 website projects throughout my career. To plan a website redesign project requires a thoughtful analysis of your business goals, your brand, your audience and of course, the design and functionality needed to achieve your goals. A successful website takes careful planning if you genuinely want to see a return on your website investment.

The most successful websites execute a strategy that aligns business goals with their target audience goals. In other words, your site isn’t all about you – it’s about connecting and communicating with your customers in a way they desire. In today’s world, it’s imperative (I mean CRUCIAL) that your website establishes trust, provides a great experience with easily digestible and useful information accessible on any device – or people will go elsewhere. Trust me; they will.

Sounds like much work, you say.

Not really! Planning your website redesign doesn’t have to be a painful task. By thinking through your goals, doing a little research and gathering some information, you’ll be set to start a new website project. Follow our planning a website redesign guide below to help you prepare.

What are your business goals?

Whether your plan to sell your custom artwork, gather leads for your consulting business or start an e-commerce store, clearly defining your goals is the first step to plan a website redesign. Everything about your website – the content, the design, and functionality must tie directly back to your goals. Here are some examples of strong business goals:

  • Generate new client leads
  • Sell products and services
  • Grow a community about a cause/topic/interest
  • Increase donations to my non-profit
  • Increase tourism to our region/state/town

Who’s your audience and what are their goals?

The next step as you plan your website redesign is thinking through what your target audience wants. Why would people come to your website? What do they want to accomplish? Think from a customer perspective and how you can serve them:

  • I want to learn how to blog
  • I’m trying to budget for a new kitchen remodel.
  • I like Minnesota branded clothing and I love free shipping.
  • I’m interested in women’s MN Twins apparel and want to save them to a wishlist for when I get paid
  • I plan to grow a community of passionate bicyclists and find cool bike trails to check out
  • I donate to causes that are relevant to me and want to know where my money goes
  • I’m planning a trip and want an experience off the beaten path

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By thinking through how you and your audience can connect, you can start to think through the kinds of content your website needs to please your audience and reach your business goals.

Free resource: We highly recommend using Audience Persona Workbook to define your target audience and their goals.

How much content do you need?

As you plan your website redesign, your content strategy should be a top priority. One of the leading digital marketers, Jay Baer answers this question with, “How many questions does your audience have?” Sometimes, your product may be straightforward and specific, and maybe your audience doesn’t have too many questions. For example, if you sell hyper-local apparel or organic cotton dog collars – your audience doesn’t likely need much education. However, you’ll still need to build trust and get people to check out: What’s your return policy? Do you offer a guarantee? How about a deal on a customer’s first purchase?

If your goal is to generate leads for your consulting business, how will people believe you’re an expert? Can you prove results? What’s the price? How will you track and follow up with leads? You may need an ongoing content strategy to continue to build relationships and position yourself as a trusted expert.

One excellent source for gathering a list of questions your potential customers may have is to talk to your salespeople or your customer service reps. They’re the first point of contact with customers and used to fielding all kinds of questions, problems, and objections. Research the type of questions your competitors are answering online – if your target audience doesn’t get answers from you, they will somewhere else!

NOTE: These questions are designed to get you thinking hard about how to build trust, improve the user experience and connect with your customers. An experienced website firm/agency (ahem) will help you solidify the content plan for your website – you don’t have to figure it all out right now, but brainstorming about your strategy will prepare you for your first meeting.

How much does a website cost?

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If you ask the question, “How much does a website cost?” you’re likely to hear, it depends. What would a house builder say if asked, “How much does a house cost?” He or she would also answer that it depends: Will it be custom built or pre-fab? How big do you want the house? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Central air? Marble countertops? Custom cabinetry?

Building a website follows the same concept: How big is your company? Will your site be a templated design or custom? Do you want cool animations or effects? Will you be selling products? Do you need an app that customizes a data-driven solution or quote? Will it be integrated with a marketing automation system? Will you need original photography or will stock do? How much traffic do you expect (because this will affect your hosting solution)?

As you can see, the cost of a website will significantly vary based on your business size and the functionality you require to meet your business goals. A web firm can help you decide the minimal requirements necessary to be effective. Animations are nice, but they may not be crucial to reaching your revenue objectives.

What if I don’t have time? Consider a Website Audit.

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If much of this seems overwhelming and time-consuming, consider a professional website audit. You will gain the insights and expertise of a team of user experience (UX) designers, content strategists, SEO specialists and developers who will tell you how to improve your website before you start your new project. You’ll arm yourself with useful information and analysis that will help you understand how your site can be more successful. Below lists the areas of analysis:

  • Branding
  • Design & UX
  • Coding
  • Competitor analysis
  • Content & behavior
  • On-page SEO and keyword usage
  • Mobile experience
  • Social media

Depending on the size of your website, our audits range from $500 to $1,500 on average. If our audit leads you to consider a website redesign, we will apply the cost of the audit toward the discovery phase of your new website project. How cool is that?

Conclusion

Planning for your website will help you think through what’s relevant to your business, define your audience and develop a strategy that will help your business grow. Gathering this type of information ahead of meeting with a web firm, agency or developer will help your project get started and completed much faster. Though it may seem like much work, the result will be well worth the time invested.

Would you like help pre-planning your website? Please feel free to email, call us, or request a website audit.

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