Thankfully, we’re a long ways off from the terrible website designs of the Geocities days, but that doesn’t mean that your current website couldn’t use a little sprucing up! However, undergoing a website redesign isn’t a simple process, so it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that you wind up with something you love.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for tackling a successful website redesign:
Step #1 – Determine what you want to get out of your website redesign
Before you even start looking for designers or website design programs, spend a good amount of time brainstorming your expectations for your website. Having a clear vision for what you’re trying to achieve will make it much easier for whatever web design solution you choose to achieve your goals.
To develop this vision, come up with answers to the following questions:
Really put some effort into analyzing your goals and objectives at this stage, as doing so will help to keep your project on track and ensure that you’re satisfied with the end result.
Step #2 – Set your price point (and be aware of these limitations)
Now that you have an idea of what you’re trying to achieve, take a look at your budget.
Realistically, if you’re planning to hire a web designer to build your new site for you, you’ll need to set aside at least $1,000 for the simplest of sites. If you run an ecommerce site or have needs that go beyond the basic “5 pages of content” model, you could be looking at significantly more than this.
As a cheaper alternative to hiring a web developer, take a look at web development programs like Intuit’s Website Builder. By starting from a standard template, you’re able to cut costs while still retaining the ability to customize your new website as much as you like. At only $8/month, this option is much more affordable than bringing on a web developer or design agency.
Step #3 – Look for a web developer/program whose work you like
Whether you decide to hire a web developer (either in your geographic area or online through sites like Elance.com) or work with an established website design program like Intuit, the most important thing is that you’re satisfied with the visual appeal of the finished results.
Spend some time looking through the portfolios of each option you’re considering, making sure to look for finished examples of the type of site you want to create (for instance, if you’re planning to have an ecommerce site built, look for a portfolio that features successful ecommerce examples). If possible, ask your designer or web development program for referrals to past customers so that you can confirm with real customers that the website redesign process went smoothly.
Step #4 – Understand what’s included in your purchase price
So you’ve determined what you’re looking for in a redesign, set your budget and found a solution whose past work you like – you’re ready to sign on the dotted line, right?
Not so fast! Before you commit to anything, be sure you understand exactly what you’re getting for your money. A few of the specific items you should investigate include:
Having a clear idea of what you’re getting for your investment will go a long way towards preventing uncomfortable situations down the road!
Step #5 – Develop a thorough site plan
If you’re working with a designer or design agency, it’s likely that they’ll handle the process of putting together a site plan for you.
But if you’re going it alone, it’s important to put together a concrete site plan before you begin building your new website in order to ensure that key variables are accounted for throughout the design process.
We’ve discussed the importance of building an effective site plan here on the Intuit blog before, but as a reminder, be sure to address the following website variables in your site plan before you begin building your new pages:
Making sure each of these elements is accounted for in the site plan will prevent potentially costly oversights from occurring during the redesign process.
Step #6 – Don’t be afraid to provide feedback
If you’re working with a web designer, one of the worst things you could do would be to avoid speaking up when you feel that something is wrong. Remember – it’s your money on the table. If you aren’t totally satisfied with the way the redesign process is going, say so and provide whatever feedback is necessary to get the project back on track.
Keep in mind that the terms of your original contract may limit the number of revision requests you’re able to receive. However, if you’re unsatisfied with the mockups you’re receiving, it’s usually worth it to pay extra for more rounds of revisions than to sign off on a website design you aren’t totally happy with.
Step #7 – Check your final product thoroughly
Once your redesigned website is up and live, plan to set aside some time to go through everything with a fine-toothed comb. Whether you built the site yourself through a website development program or are working from a mockup provided by your design agency, it’s always possible that certain elements that worked in the development environment don’t translate well to your live site.
If you encounter any glitches or errors that are causing your site to display incorrectly or not function appropriately, contact your designer or the customer support team of your web development program right away. Getting these mistakes fixed quickly will ensure that you’re as satisfied as possible with the final product of your website redesign.