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A 17-Step Guide to Building a Website Redesign Project Plan For Your Client

Updated on September 29, 2022

31 Min Read
Website Redesign Project Plan

Making a project plan for a website redesign is tough! But your end goal depends on it. You can’t possibly chart a great website redesign if you fail to take the time to make a thorough and detailed website redesign project plan.

Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States, once said, “You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don’t believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can’t possibly foresee now.”

Making mistakes during the planning stage of a website redesign can have a very bad impact on your agency business, such as the following:

  • Unexpectedly high project expenditures
  • Discontent among all parties involved e.g., bad reputation with client and conflict in your team
  • Missed opportunity for lead generation and sales for both you and your client because of you
  • Marketing initiatives that are put off till after the website redesign

In order to make a seamless plan, it is important to identify clear objectives behind a website redesign. You should also ensure you understand all the modern standards and trends while accounting for challenges and failures you may encounter after completing the website redesign project.

We recommend you involve all the stakeholders from the get-go, i.e., when you commence planning a website redesign.

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Outcomes to Consider or Expect as an Agency Out of a Website Redesign Project Plan?

As an agency, you obviously want to meet your client’s expectations, so they keep returning to you for website maintenance and update. But how can you make sure this happens every time you complete a website redesign project?

It’s simple. You find out exactly what you have to deliver to your client and what outcomes they expect from the website redesign, and only then you can know what you have to focus on to make a project plan around it. It could be any of the following they want, so you might have to consider these outcomes out of a web redesign project plan:

  • An enhanced user experience
  • Seamless site navigation
  • Functional and visually attractive website design
  • Improve the brand’s reputation and customers’ perceptions of it
  • Tell the brand’s story
  • Increase traffic
  • Increase the conversion of that traffic into sales leads
  • Make the website the focal point for marketing campaigns.

And a lot more

You can watch our video on why creating design prototypes first is important. As an agency, you should know why creating design prototypes for your client is better than creating full builds. This will help you avoid the vicious revision cycles and give you an edge in delivering projects on time.

Website Redesign Project Plan Tips From Industry Experts

While we were creating this website redesign planning guide, we also got in touch with some industry experts on the subject and found the following tips worth sharing with you.

1. Talk to Business Owner, Research Competitors, and Envision the Site

Filip-SilobodFilip Silobod, Founder Honest Marketing

“1. First I talk to the business owner/executive about what their business goals are and who are their target customers. This is a very important step because we redesign the site based on our talk.

You want to know: what they do, how they help people, what makes them different, reasons to buy from them and not from competitors, data about their consumers.

Check their current site and web analytics. What do their conversion rates look like, what are the top visited pages, what are the landing pages, site speed.

You want to see what is working for them now, are there some important pages that are not visited by site visitors, are they visiting pages you don’t want them to visit early?

You will have more questions for them during the redesign because the next step is researching competitors’ websites.

2. Now that you know the goals, can you find someone with the same goals, but a better website.

Doing redesigns without looking at a better, competitor site is tough.

3. Envision the site. I would envision the site: which pages to have, the layout of the site and menu homepage and key landing pages content.

This is the hard part: drawing a mockup of the site, usually the homepage. Which words to use, what is the main head title, call to action? Here you use the information about what makes the company stand out and to whom you are speaking to (key customer).

After designing the homepage you move on to other pages. Keep in mind you will have things and new ideas to add later.

Use a professional designer to create a visual mockup and send it to the client with an explanation of why you chose this layout.

2. Define Buyer Personas, SEO Audit, Measure Metrics

Stacey-KaneStacey Kane, Business Development Lead at EasyMerchant

“A good web redesign project plan should be about achieving your business goals and your customers as well.

Defining buyer personas is a great inclusion when planning a website redesign so you can incorporate their needs and how the website can benefit them when they check it out. Your buyer personas are extremely helpful in other ways such as enhancing the user experience and can be used as data for measuring website performance.

When it comes to website redesigning plans, always have an SEO audit of your website paired with an in-depth analytics review. No matter how good your website looks, it needs to be doing its job of reaching its target audience better with quality content to rank up the search engines.

Do not forget quality content in your redesigning plans, or else all the improvement and efficiencies could end up down the drain.

In the same way, there is no way you could have a goal without understanding where your website stands in terms of performance. Data from analytics can help you identify which areas of the website are currently doing well and which ones aren’t. You can then formulate better and more specific goals for your website redesign.”

3. Make a Detailed Questionnaire For Your Client to Know Their Vision

Sarah-WaltersSarah Walters, Marketing Manager, The Whit Group

“For a redesign, it’s important that the client answers our questionnaire as thoroughly as possible. This is so that we can identify what the site is about and the vision of what the site should look and feel like as per the client. There is always an emotional component when we send a website for the client’s approval so we must understand what that is before work is even started. This is so that we deliver it the first time and avoid rework.”

A 17 Step Guide to Building a Website Redesign Project Plan

In order to help you stay on track and stick to your client’s website redesign goals, we have carefully developed this guide to help you devise an in-depth website project plan.

A thorough project plan should take goals, timelines, costs, and curveballs into account. Apart from using website design templates or a website cost calculator to help you with your planning, reading this article will help you take into account every aspect and challenge pertaining to website redesigning.

Here’s a quick summary of the points we will be covering:

  1. Pick the right stakeholders for your projects team
  2. Measuring metrics and analytics of the current website
  3. Setting the right goals
  4. Accounting for risk factors
  5. Preparing a cost plan
  6. Planning a strategy
  7. Get clarity on branding and messaging by identifying your client’s buyer persona
  8. Select the best hosting solution
  9. Choosing a website builder and platform
  10. Sitemap and user experience
  11. Wireframes and prototyping
  12. Do not forget it is redesign not rebranding
  13. Have a clear vision for design and visual assets
  14. Have an SEO strategy
  15. Accumulate and evaluate your client’s content strategy
  16. Testing usability
  17. Planning for launch

We also have a section that talks about how you can meet your website redesign project timeline.

1. Pick the Right Stakeholders for Your Project’s Team

Make sure you understand the nature of the project, and once you know the goals, assign specialists you trust from your agency team to the web redesign project.

You must be open and honest with your clients about the entire redesign process.

When you encounter challenges and delays, put procedures in place to return the project to its original course. Choosing the right people to lead these procedures is key to ensuring the seamless processes streamlined.

Your client can seek access to your project management tool or your project plan for website redesign on a shared Google sheet. Make sure you know who from your client’s company has access to this information and manage access accordingly to ensure your data is protected and secure.

You should also constantly be aware of the status of the project. Pick someone to carry out this job and  take updates from those with approval authority. This enables shortening the approval time at each stage of the process.

2. Measuring Metrics and Analytics of the Current Website

Evaluate your client’s website and make a document that lists the core metrics.  These can include traffic, bounce rate, and conversions.

These core metrics will assist you in determining where you need to improve and provide you with a baseline against which you can measure the redesigned website.

This is important because understanding your current website is the first step before starting your website redesign project. Because, if you don’t even know where you are, how can you establish goals?

You can choose what you want your website redesign to do for your client once you study some important metrics to determine what is and isn’t functioning. These measurements will serve as a benchmark for comparison after it is complete.

Using Google Analytics

You can rely on Google Analytics to analyze the website. If your client doesn’t have it in place, you can go about installing it by simply adhering to the instructions given by Google. There are instructions for installing it in certain well-known website builders; they are for Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix.

Important Metrics to Measure and Analyze

Traffic Analysis Over Time: Spend some time analyzing the overall trends and traffic. Look for surges, especially if they correspond with significant website modifications made anytime.

Traffic Sources: Prioritizing goals requires an understanding of the sources of traffic. If organic search traffic isn’t very strong, SEO can be a useful area to concentrate on throughout the redesign, for instance.

User Behavior: By observing the “Behavior Flow” of a group of users as they move about the site’s pages, you may develop a plan for which pages to keep and which links to strengthen.

Bounce Rate: This statistic shows how many users depart a website without visiting any further pages. Determine the drop-off spots and try to determine why they happened so you may improve those weak places during the redesign.

Time on Page: Context dictates how much time a user should spend on each page; there is no set “correct” amount of time. However, if you have some outstanding long-form material that takes 10 minutes to read but only receives an average attention span of 1 minute, that should raise a warning.

Goal Completions: These are unique to each website and can track anything from submitting a form to actually making a transaction. You can learn how to set up goal completions on Google Analytics.

With these crucial KPIs in place, you can begin considering what you want to enhance and prioritize in a project plan for the website redesign.

3. Setting the Right Goals

The objective of your website redesign project should be the tangible and intangible goals your client wishes to achieve, which should not be confused with the on-site goal completions. Be careful to use the examples below as a starting point when you create your budget, timeframe, and other important project plan components. You may encounter more than one example or even all of them.

Typical Goals for Website Redesign

Some common website redesign goals are the following:

Upgrade the graphics

An unsightly, old-fashioned, or otherwise unfunctional website design is one of the most significant triggers for a redesign. Moreover, according to a finding from a study posted on Research Gate, around 94% of first impressions related to websites are design-related.

It is, therefore, critical for your client to have quality web design to not only pull in potential customers but also to ensure their brand gets the respect it deserves.

If you feel like your client has not mentioned visual improvement as a goal anywhere, but the need for this exists, do not hesitate to point it out. Make sure you give such suggestions and recommendations.

To pull off a website redesign project with this need, you’ll need a solid brand strategy, and possibly a modest budget, and you will need to align such goals with the  web designers that you have allocated to this project.

Enhance user experience

Customer complaints, a high volume of support tickets, and high bounce rates (leaving a web page without clicking anything) are all signs that the website may be challenging to use. This means that a redesign will need a UX expert, a conversion strategist, and perhaps even usability testing.

Increase Traffic 

Without website visits, making money or getting new clients is impossible. SEO, which necessitates an SEO specialist and content writer, is one of the most effective techniques for a site to attract visitors without spending money on advertisements.

In order to attract organic search traffic, the content side of SEO needs that relevant, helpful, and high-quality content to be created  frequently. Now, as an agency, you can offer content marketing as a service, or ask your client to hire content writers. You may also outsource content.

The technical SEO side of SEO will involve providing suitable markup and structured data while setting up the site. If your client doesn’t already have one, they should get one so they can post loads of that relevant content, which is essential for raising their SEO rankings. Or you can choose to offer these services or outsource them if your client has handed you the responsibility of a complete website revamp.

Consider positioning your client’s blog as a resource that the customers can use to learn about the expertise of your client’s company, as this is what most people look for. Be aware that blogs on contemporary websites need a CMS (Content Management System). Here is a guide on the  15 most commonly used CMS platforms and how to choose one.

Boost leads and conversions

The amount of visitors to your website is not meaningful if they never do important actions like making a purchase, signing up for email marketing, or filling out quotes or contact forms. Examine whether the messaging or user experience (UX) could be improved to encourage visitors to do these actions or whether the forms or shopping carts  require improvement.

Set the site up to start marketing campaigns

The website serves as the focal point for most companies’ sales and marketing activities.

To allow your client to properly assign campaigns and carry out the appropriate efforts, you must set the site up with trackers, heatmaps, marketing pixels, and well-scripted Events and Goal Completions.

Doing the above will allow your clients to initiate marketing campaigns leading back to their website and  measure the results of those campaigns as well. This will show your clients the outcomes of your web redesign project plan, and they may turn into monthly retainers.

Here is our blog on how to sell website maintenance services to add recurring revenue

4. Accounting for Risk Factors

Website redesigns can involve a range of risk factors, all of which must be taken into account while planning for a website redesign project. Review the following risk checklist to assess them before the website redesign process begins:

Team is strapped for time: As a web design agency, you will need at least one person as a point of contact to handle time-consuming tasks, including finding and gathering content as well as reviews at several stages of the website redesign plan. Don’t forget about the stakeholders you have picked for the project; if they can’t find the time to weigh in, the project will usually hit snags.

Make this a priority, and if possible, designate someone explicitly to be the project manager on your side. Website redesign projects can hum along for weeks without input if they receive the feedback they need on time.

Too many stakeholders: If numerous viewpoints are given equal weight and consideration, the project may completely derail from the track. Even worse is bringing in distant top leadership for a final review, only to run into a problem that forces the project to start over from scratch.

Establish your lean project team, and make sure you know exactly who to contact from your client’s organization and also the point of contact from your agency for the specific website redesign project.

Lack of Strategy: Without a clearly defined strategy prior to creation, the website is vulnerable to the whims of every department and web design trends, making it impossible to evaluate the success of the final product.

The strategy should come first and only follow  the baseline measurements you’ve analyzed.

Design-First Methodology: Because an unattractive or dated appearance is usually one of the top reasons for a website redesign, it is easy for the team to want to dwell on how they want the website to look before putting the web designers to work.

However, putting design first results in failure. The design and functionality needed to assist your client’s customers to convert must flow from the strategy you created. This is important in order to support the aims of both your agency and your client’s organization.

Just focusing on having a beautiful website results in a website that completely fails to satisfy the needs of your client.

Too Much Content: Having a lot of content can only help improve SEO if there is a strategy behind it. The navigation and menus on many websites read like a directory of everything they’ve ever done, which makes them challenging to use. Not everything can be included on a single page if you want to have a fast-performing website.

Reread your strategy and identify the elements that are essential to the website redesign objectives.

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Site Function Disruption: During the redesign, particularly during development, transition, and testing, key website functionalities may go offline, which may impact your client’s business operations. Revenue may suffer if the content is not displayed, form submissions are not being recorded, sales cannot be processed, and users are unable to log in.

As an agency, you should be able to handle and lessen any disruption to your client’s business.

SEO Disruption: A poorly thought-out website redesign may have a negative impact on your current website’s high-ranking content and substantial organic search traffic.

To ensure that search traffic flows smoothly to the new site and that rankings don’t suffer, make sure your partner has SEO knowledge and is capable of managing redirects and sitemaps.

Too Low of a Budget: As a web design agency, you should inform your client if you think the budget they have allocated to the project doesn’t match the amount of work needed on the web redesign project. For instance, if the website requires a complex feature, but it is outside of the scope of the project, then inform your client of the cost while pitching in the suggestion to incorporate it.

While they ought to be conducting market research to determine what cost to anticipate for the kind of site they intend to construct, many businesses seeking website redesigns establish an arbitrary price based on what they feel comfortable spending at the time. In any event, if you budget an additional 10–20% of the cost for expanded scope, you’ll never be caught off guard.

Blocked from Design Stakeholders: If your design team doesn’t frequently communicate with the design stakeholders from your client’s organization(those who will be evaluating the website), the redesign will undoubtedly fail.

Make sure your agency has proper access to project stakeholders at the time of the planning stage as well as the execution stage.

5. Preparing a Cost Plan

You have to make a cost plan for the website redesign project even if you feel you have worked on a similar project before. Every client is different, and so is every website and organization.

The price web design agencies around the world are charging these days may be as high as $3,000 or as low as $100. A straightforward bespoke website design from an agency can cost between $15,000 and $30,000. Costs for larger, more complex websites range from $40,000 to $75,000 or more.

Your cost will also depend on the following factors:

  • Website Type
  • The Need for Visuals
  • Advanced and Complex Features

It is a no-brainer that a custom-made site means it would probably cost around $5,000. However, a website designed  using free website templates from website builders like WordPress would cost a minimum of $16 per month.

Here are some cost estimates that will give you an overview of how cost differs with the website type:

  • $35 to $50 for simple templates
  • $80 to $200 for premium templates
  • Changes to templates: $300 to $1,000
  • $5,000 to $10,000 and more for custom designs

These are some other important things you should consider when you calculate your website redesign cost:

  • Site Size: $1000 to $10,000 (for 1 to 250 pages)
  • Site Copywriting: $60 to $300 per page
  • Site Style: $2000 to $15,000
  • Site Optimization (SEO): $2000 to $10,000
  • Responsive Design: $3000 to $25,000
  • CMS Integration: $2000 to $25,000
  • Ecommerce Functionality: $2000 to $25,000
  • Database Integration: $2000 to $25,000
  • Domain Name: $0.95 to $12
  • SSL Certificate: $0 to $1500
  • Site Hosting Service: $24 to $24,000
  • Apps/Plugins: $0-$100+/month
  • Themes: $0 – $50+ upfront cost
  • Hosting: $2.95 – $50 per month
  • Security: if not sufficiently covered in your hosting plan)($0 – $200 per year)
  • Professional help (developer cost or any help outsourced) ($80 – $180 per hour)

One of the most difficult aspects of estimating a cost for web development projects is animations and transitions.

Custom animation development can be very expensive. However, animation can be quickly and simply implemented, provided if you make use of a reliable library.

Some libraries to produce sophisticated and captivating effects are:

Creating animated graphics from scratch may be incredibly expensive, but when an agency exports the HTML animation from AfterEffects, the results are often great.

If the website redesign project will use plenty of animation and transitions, you should increase the quote by one day. By doing so, you will have sufficient resources to refine them and test out other libraries and solutions.

Do not compromise on your hosting, or your entire efforts may fall down. Click here to read on why you shouldn’t use shared hosting to reduce cost.

You should also have a cost estimate for any type of content that you will provide as part of your service or outsource.

6. Planning a Strategy

You may begin developing a strategy once you have an anticipated cost and a clear understanding of your company’s website objectives.

Having a strategy helps you select the information you put forward and where you spend your budget, focusing your efforts on the website redesign components that matter to your client.

The various factors you need to think about when crafting a strategy are as follows:

Conversion Strategy: 

The conversion points are the most crucial components of the website for your clients. Whether it means generating leads through a form, receiving phone calls from the contact page, or selling things through an online store.

Trace your steps back to the logical starting points because these end goals are the reason the site exists.

The most diverse set of visitors can be thought of as the top of a funnel, and as they move through it, they are narrowed down until only the most likely purchasers remain, who then complete the conversion.

Similarly, the broadest and most general content should appear first, only becoming more particular and sophisticated if users demonstrate their interest by accessing the site’s more in-depth pages, such as those for products and services.

Examples of a conversion-supporting strategy and planned tasks could be:

  • 20 percent yearly increase in conversion rates
  • Revising calls to actions
  • Generating 50 backlinks each month or more

Your conversion strategy would depend on your client’s goal and the conversion rate they seek to achieve with the website redesign project.

Acquisition Strategy:

This deals with how you draw visitors to the site in the first place and heavily overlaps with advertising and marketing.

Where in the website should adverts lead if you are using them, with the best possibility of an impact? What section of the website should the information be located on, and what action would a reader naturally take after reading it if it were shared on social media?

Your website should have logical paths that connect to your conversion plan to satisfy your acquisition sources.

Content Strategy:

The above two initiatives are connected by the concept of content strategy, which is concerned with what you publish and how you share it.

Larger pieces of content containing original research, such as ebooks and white papers, can be used to attract leads and can be broken up into smaller blog posts, social media updates, and email newsletters to keep readers interested and prepared for upselling.

Understanding the type of content, you intend to create will affect how your site should be redesigned.

Your content strategy should involve tasks like:

  • Content-improvement tasks
  • Create 4 monthly blog posts
  • Hire content writing experts
  • Create a platform for user-generated content
  • Raise your Flesch-Kincaid readability score to 60

Things to check out for:

  • Is your content relevant? Is the information up to date?
  • Is your content user-friendly? Are the images of high-quality taken by a skilled photographer?
  • Your content’s voice? Is the website’s voice consistent?
  • Is your content scannable? Are there bullet points, headlines, and blank spaces?

You can only proceed with the project in a genuine way if you have built a solid strategy.

7. Get Clarity on Branding and Messaging By Identifying Your Client’s Buyer Personas

Another factor is the target audience—your client’s customers—who will be impacted by your website redesign project strategy.

A buyer persona is a composite image of one group of your client’s customers. You can begin mapping out the journey of each of your client’s main customers and figuring out what pages and material they require to inspire each stage of their purchasing journey once you have divided them up into a few distinct groups.

But how would you find out your client’s buyer personas? There are three types of customers:

  • The ones your client desires
  • The ones they believe are their customers
  •  And the ones who actually are

To truly identify your client’s buyer personas, employ the strategies listed below:

Speak with front-line employees in sales: Whoever interacts with consumers the most at your client’s organization is a wonderful source of information about who they are and how they use your website, marketing, and sales. The two should cooperate closely on the site.

Analyze user behavior flow: To find out what people do on your site, where they go, and where they get stuck, utilize heat mapping tools like HotJar and Google Analytics Behavior Flow. There can be a few commonalities that point to similar characters.

Review Ad Performance & Targeting: If your client is running advertising, look through the different audiences, the ad wording, and artwork, and the landing sites they direct users to. That persona is probably usable if they talk with a certain client profile in mind and perform effectively.

Conduct customer interview: People who have purchased from your client are typically willing to lend a hand a little more. To question or validate assumptions and strengthen your personas, reach out to past buyers, carry out a focused survey, or even hold live focus groups.

Aggregated User Testing: With the help of tools like UserTesting.com, you can create targeted tests for particular audiences and present your website or prototypes to them to see what they do and hear what they have to say. It’s a fantastic technique to verify and test hypotheses with the target audience directly.

8. Select the Best Hosting Solution

Choosing the right hosting solution is not an easy task. And although we cannot help you select one from this section, we can give you a few pointers on what to look for in a hosting provider and also a few detailed resources you can read up on to make an informed decision.

Here are a few things you should consider when selecting the right hosting solution for your client’s website:

  • Optimum Performance
  • Easy Scalability
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • Caching
  • Up-to-Date Server Technologies
  • One-Click Backups
  • Free Migrations
  • Customer Support
  • Flexible Pricing

Read up on the following resources for a detailed overview on this topic:

  1. How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting in 2022
  2. The 6 Point Checklist For Choosing A Managed Hosting
  3. Which Infrastructure Provider Do I Have to Choose?
  4. Shared vs Dedicated vs Cloud Hosting: Know the Difference!
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9. Choosing a Website Builder and Platform

Because a custom website backend requires the assistance of developers and raises maintenance expenses, very few organizations build a website from the ground up. Platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress are the preferred options for building a website.

Squarespace: This all-in-one website builder, hosting platform, and marketing tool can be a quick and simple way to design appealing sites, but because of its centralized management and constrained aftermarket, most Squarespace sites resemble one another.

Wix: With this website builder, you have complete drag-and-drop flexibility, so you can create anything you can think of.

Additionally, it’s simple to customize a site to look the way you want it to, using built-in animations and a big marketplace of elements. However, these sites frequently have bloated code that loads slowly, which makes it difficult for you to optimize your website for search engines.

WordPress: Powering 35% of the world’s websites, WordPress is one of the most established and significant website development platforms (Netcraft).

Its sophisticated content management system (CMS) and abundance of plugins make it usable for even non-developers, but without assistance from a developer, things can quickly spiral out of control.

Why WordPress Is Recommended

WordPress is the finest long-term investment for the following reasons, notwithstanding the shortcomings of all website building tools:

  • Ownership of the website
  • Most frequently employed and funded by firms and developers outside the company
  • Easy to work with from a development perspective and reasonably priced with a vast community of free plugins
  • A straightforward backend system makes site administration simple, even after your developer has left.
  • The most effective blogging platform for increasing website visitors
  • Fully configurable functionality and design
  • SEO-optimized with integrated tools and plugins

10.  Sitemap and User Experience

sitemap and user experienceSource: Uplers

A sitemap is a diagram of all the pages on your website that also shows the folders and subfolders under each page.

By now you should already have a plan in mind that takes into account your client’s goals as well as their specific customer personas. Each component on the sitemap builds on the one before it to help define and reduce the countless options for the customer’s journey down to a sensible one that will serve the purpose and give conversions.

Navigation

Nav exampleSource: O’Reilly

The top-level navigation (or nav), which is the menu of pages you see at the top or increasingly on the side of most sites, goes hand in hand with the sitemap. What type of business your client has and your overall strategy will influence which content you showcase and how you organize it.

For instance, an online store should likely categorize items, whereas a news website might have products for each topic they cover. There is no one right way to accomplish it, but you should always keep the user in mind and keep the number of main navigational objects to seven or fewer to reduce clutter and confusion.

Call to Action (CTA)

CTA exampleSource: WishPond Blog

Give the key action you want visitors to take more prominence in the navigation by, for example, making a button stand out by using a secondary color.

Are you requesting that they subscribe to your email marketing? Or ask you for a price quote? Or open a new account? Put this CTA, whatever it is, in the upper right of your fixed nav bar so that it is visible regardless of which page the user is on.

The Mega Menu

mega menuSource: Nielsen Norman Group

When you hover over an item in the “Mega Menu,” a full-width screen of available options appears. This enables websites with a large number of significant categories to include everything without requiring the visitor to click repeatedly to view it all.

Take “Mobile First” Design to Heart

The phrase “mobile-first” may have come up when discussing web design. The screen size is smaller on mobile devices and tablets than on desktop and laptop computers these days. This means that not everyone will see your website the way you had originally intended (Statista).

It’s a good idea to adhere to this attitude when you’re first developing content for your website because it keeps production limitations reasonable, especially for pages higher up the funnel that may be first seen on mobile devices.

“Responsive” web design is a feature built into the majority of developers’ products, including DIY site builders. This causes the website’s parts to resize and reposition themselves at specific “breakpoints” when switching from one type of device to another, for as, when going from desktop sizes to tablet sizes, in order to fit the screen they are displayed on.

Consider the layout on a phone, and then what can be done with it to make it more creative or engaging when it is exhibited on bigger screens, if you want to be genuinely mobile-first.

11. Wireframes and Prototyping

Let’s recap: You have an excellent conversion strategy, a sitemap to back it, a rough notion of how your navigation will appear, and your content is being created at the same time. It’s now time to begin the phase of your website redesign that involves visual design.

Similar to how we prefer content to containers, we prefer the skeleton of your pages before adding any further content. That framework is known as a “wireframe” in web design.

Before any judgments are made regarding which images or videos will go where, or about colors, fonts, or other high level design considerations, the basic idea is a simpler collection of forms, boxes, lines, and copies that form how each page will be set out.

We separate this out because doing so enables us to concentrate on the user experience (UX) before becoming sidetracked by the particulars of design. The course that each ego takes is instead planned. Think about the following issues:

What takes place when you press this button? What information is most likely to be desired by persona X at this point? What is the best way to present that to them?

Prototyping and Wireframing Tools

Pen and paper: There is nothing wrong with drafting some rough wireframe prototypes on paper. To assist in demonstrating to your team the progression from point to point, you may cut out each one and arrange it on a table or wall.

InVision: By converting your high-fidelity wireframes into working prototypes, this industry-leading web design tool allows you to preview, test, and validate the user experience.

You can interact with these prototypes to get a sense of the navigation and leave feedback for the team as you work to make improvements. The actual wireframes must be created using a desktop design program like Figma or Sketch.

Adobe XD: Wireframes and prototypes can also be built with Adobe XD. The fact that it is free is the best part (but there are limits on fonts and other high-end features and it is not as collaborative as Figma).

12. Do Not Forget It Is Redesign and Not Rebranding

It’s crucial to take your client’s brand into account as you move from the website’s basic structure to its real visual appearance.

Does your client’s brand’s typeface, color, and logo fit the style you’re trying to achieve with the redesign? It may be time for an update, but be careful—rebrands are much broader decisions that will affect all of your client’s marketing materials, printed materials like business cards, and anything else that bears your brand.

If your client doesn’t communicate the identity of the rebuilt brand to its customers and prospects well enough, it could potentially lead to market misunderstanding. In either case, double-check that your client’s branding and logo correspond to the website’s new layout.

13. Have a Clear Vision for Design and Visual Assets

What exactly do you see when you go to Apple.com? a number of solid-color blocks and text that is extremely simple, plain, and sparse. The website looks “nice” and creates an emotional connection because of the lovely product photos and videos that were taken expressly to fit into those places.

Using Stock Photos

You’ll undoubtedly be using at least some stock photographs and videos in your website project plan if you don’t have an in-house creative studio. Almost all websites supplement some of their visual content using stock pictures.

Real Product Photography

If you are selling physical things, you absolutely must hire a photographer and a videographer. There is a reason KFC seems so enticing in the commercial.

Everything related to the sale needs to be accurately depicted. The same holds true for any photographs of your team, facilities, or both. There are many freelance photographers available at different prices, but you’ll get the greatest results if you can locate one who specializes in working with web designers and is familiar with their demands and format.

You can see graphics’ influence in  connecting with your audience and keeping them interested (or engaged) throughout the buying cycle.

Some tips:

  • Avoid stuffing unnecessary terms into headers, links, or navigation
  • Always utilize the terminology that is the most user-friendly
  • Better user experience is more crucial for SEO than keyword frequency

14. Have an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Strategy

When your client’s customers search for terms related to your business, SEO aids in bringing organic traffic from Google and other search engines to your website.

Make sure SEO is covered in your project plan for redesigning your client’s website and that you have an expert on staff. SEO cannot be done effectively without assistance from SEO experts.

Planning for SEO

Planning for SEO requires the following things:

Keyword Analysis: This is important for bringing in organic and paid search traffic to your client’s website. You must be aware of the keywords your client wants to rank for because SEO is all about relevant search terms.

In order to boost traffic and drive conversions you have to first understand what search engine queries will qualify visitors to your client’s website.

Take into account the ones that precisely define what services your client offers. Also, keep in mind the sources that individuals might look up before deciding they require your clients services. Your keyword analysis would set the foundation and starting point of your client’s search marketing initiatives.

Keyword analysis would not only drive conversions, but also help your client discover new markets and optimize their spend on PPC as well.

Site Structure: There are some aspects of a website’s structure that are best left to a skilled developer. In order for your client’s website to appear in Google search results and increase the likelihood that someone would click on it, structured data can assist Google comprehend whether it is looking at a recipe, a book excerpt, an event, and many other things.

The title tag and meta description that you see in the search engine results page (SERP), such as Google, are examples of metadata.

A strong call to action in your meta description increases the likelihood that people will click on your client’s website, and a strong title tag helps your page appear in the search results for which it is relevant.

Also requiring SEO-friendly file names and alt text to appear in image searches and contribute to your overall SEO success are photographs and videos, which also require metadata.

If the site’s internal pages have new URLs, make sure to 301 Redirect the old pages to the new ones, so they don’t lose the search rankings your client has already established for them. This is particularly critical for website redesigns.

Some Helpful SEO Tools

Moz is one of the most established and effective SEO tools available. You can use it to manage your client’s company listings, perform keyword analysis, check sites for errors, monitor long-term keyword rankings, and audit sites for problems.

SEMrush contains all of Moz’s features and is constantly adding new ones. The majority of reputable web design firms use this technology.

One of the most preferred SEO tools available, Ahrefs, includes features that are comparable to those of Moz and SEMrush.

Using Screaming Frog, you can crawl every website page and acquire a complete list of all the elements, pages, and files you need to work with. It’s excellent for determining your URL structure and whether 301 redirects are necessary. Plus, the first 500 pages are free.

While strictly designed for Google Ads, the Google Keyword Planner tool allows you to view the relative traffic of certain phrases as well as related keywords you might want to target in order to construct a list. It is a helpful tool when choosing keywords because it is free and has more basic and broad information, such as the range of search volume for a given phrase.

SEO-boosting tasks may include:

  • 50 backlinks/month
  • HTTPS-enable your website
  • Setting up the mobile version of the webpage
  • Recruit an SEO expert

SEO questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you know your business’s best keywords? Use them throughout.
  • Size titles and meta descriptions?
  • HTTPS-protected? Google’s search results favor encrypted communication.
  • Are your URLs spiderable? Use RankSider to check.

15. Accumulate and Evaluate Your Client’s Content Strategy

Someone from your client’s organization will have to help you with website content for redesign. Especially in case you don’t provide content writing or seo services as an agency.

Content First, Then Design

Even though your entire team may adore the style of the ideal website template you have in mind, this is not the right technique to go about web redesign. You have to ensure the design compliments the content that is to go up there on the website.

Accumulating Content

A smart project plan for a website redesign makes use of a content-gathering document to collect all of the copy for all of the website’s planned pages. It ought to be written by a single committed author to ensure that the tone and voice of the brand are consistent, and it ought to be shareable across your team so that stakeholders can weigh in when necessary and simplify the task. Additionally, it should be formatted so that your site designer can easily read it and that your web developer can copy it and paste it elsewhere.

Content Gap

If there is a content gap that you identify on your client’s website, make sure it is known to the client so they can provide content accordingly. Remember, your design and content will have to go side by side. One is dependent on the other, and so they must be in sync with each other.

16. Testing Usability

It’s crucial to validate your plan with some testing after you have your main pages ready. If you have a working prototype at the wireframe stage, you should conduct usability testing.

As part of your usability testing, you assign users a task and assess their ability to utilize the site and perform the task. Prior to spending money on completely developed prototypes, this enables you to identify incorrect assumptions and resolve problems.

Usability testing and general user testing can be done after pages are built to validate design decisions, learn how users react to specific messaging, and more. Tools like Google Optimize and UserTesting, which enable straightforward A/B testing, can help with this.

Both of the aforementioned will employ qualitative testing, which is similar to a focus group in which a small, carefully chosen group of testers provide extensive comments and justifications for their beliefs and behavior during the test.

Quantitative testing is another option that needs thousands of participants to eliminate selection bias. Although these tests can be costly, even mid-sized companies can finance them by employing tools like SurveyMonkey and Google Forms. These tests work well for rating scale-based assessments of affinity for particular messages or visuals and general yes/no questions.

Your usability goals could be to:

  • Have users spend two minutes on a webpage.
  • Black Friday optimization
  • Improve accessibility to 90%
  • Create website versions for three screen sizes.

Questions you could ask yourself: 

  • Your page’s visual hierarchy?
  • Do your website pages work in all browsers? Check how your pages look in different browsers with Browsershots.
  • Is your navigation easy to use? How’s your navigation? Breadcrumbs help users navigate your site.
  • Do your graphics load quickly?
  • Is your website user-friendly? Is your text-to-background contrast good for the visually impaired? Do you caption audio/video? Consult our accessible and inclusive design guide for online tools like Web Accessibility.

17. Planning for Launch

After the developers have completed all of the pages at this point, it’s time to prepare for launch. To ensure that you are prepared, use our checklist:

Testing for quality assurance: Test the website on desktop, mobile, and the most widely used browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox.

Website training: Give training to the stakeholders on your client side to ensure that important team members are familiar with using the website content management system.

Form Submissions: Since this is a critical sales function for the majority of firms, ensure that every form submission “Notifications” are being sent to the appropriate email address.

Unblock Search Engines: Do this by checking if robots.txt permits site crawling for SEO. Verify that search engines are not being blacklisted under Settings if you’re using WordPress.

Get Your Developer Ready: Do this so that any problems may be resolved right away. Additionally, get your client’s domain’s registrar’s login credentials so you may resolve any DNS handling issues. Plan the launch for the morning rather than the evening before the weekend because post-launch hiccups are probable and you need your team to be in the office and available to handle problems for a successful launch.

Connecting Your Domain to Your Host: This entails directing the domain name to the web server that hosts the website. Pointing the A record, which only requires one entry in your domain name registrar, is typically the simplest method. Check the “registrar info” or “reseller details” sections of https://lookup.icann.org if you are unsure of where your domain is registered. To update your domain records, keep in mind that you still need a working login.

Install Google Analytics: This must be done so that you may begin comparing the success of the site to benchmark metrics without a data void.

Install Google Search Console: This is essential if you want to know what organic search terms people are using to locate the website.

Google Sitemap Submission: It can be indexed more rapidly and appear for relevant searches more soon if a good XML sitemap is supplied to Google. Additionally, Google will let you know if they find any problems with the website so you can address them quickly.

Install SSL certificate: Your developer must install and configure the SSL certificate to your host server when the site becomes live. This tells Google and users that the site is secure. On websites with SSL certificates, you’ll see a small padlock next to the URL in your browser.

Setup for a 301 Redirect: See the SEO section. Allow your developer to take care of this and ensure that they function properly after going live.

If you have everything ready and the developers have given their approval, congratulations—your client’s website is now operational!

Last, but not the least, recommend your client to back up their website, and update their programs, and any plugins using at least once every month. To avoid interfering with business operations, testing should be done in a staging environment that is a duplicate of the live site. Push the updates to the live website when everything has been checked for theme compatibility.

You can do staging and testing easily with Cloudways managed hosting. Learn more about Cloudways features.

How to Meet Your Website Redesign Project Timeline

How long your website redesign project is going to take depends on how large your agency team is because if you have a larger team of specialists working on the project, the project may complete sooner.

It also depends on the redesign scope i.e. the amount of work required. Does your client want a new color scheme or a new CMS? Want a few bells and whistles or tons?

Your website redesign project timeline also depends on the website’s page count. Large website redesigns take longer. Depending on how your site is constructed, changing each area can take time.

Your website redesign timeline will be longer if you are required to modify a ton of details like site photos, navigation, multimedia, etc.

Get Ready to Redesign Your Website

You can now begin planning, designing, developing, optimizing, launching, and analyzing your client’s new website. Use this 17-step website redesign planning guide to build and plan out your website redesign project so that your success draws in more people and turns them into paying or even recurring clients.

While you are working on your website redesign project plan, you create a design brief too. It guides developers, designers, and strategic leaders from idea to execution.

In a design brief, you describe all evaluation-stage goals and expectations, along with the client’s profile, target audience, project budget, and timeline.

So, for example, now that you know the 17 steps you need to plan for, you can write SMART goals you want to achieve at each step and the breakdown of tasks and to-dos that will help you achieve all the goals. For this, you can use project management tools like Trello or Asana and organize tasks to accomplish your client’s goals for a successful website redesign. You can also keep your eyes on our agency resource pack for our upcoming website redesign project plan template.

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Sadia Zia

I work as a Senior Digital Content Producer at Cloudways. Creating content keeps me busy for the most part, but I relish discovery, adventure, and thrive in challenging situations and environments.

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