A Complete Website Redesign Checklist
Let me start with an unexpected comparison.
While walking down the street and looking at bypassers and what they are wearing can you, my reader, spot what decade their closing reflects the most? I’m sure you will easily determine, let’s say, the 70s’ disco style from the 2010s’ Turtlenecks and Birkenstocks. (Ladies, by the way, apparently puffy sleeves and polka dots are making their return in 2020! Time to refresh our closets, - just saying!) I’m not talking about trends in fashion, however, the point here is to understand that web design also has trends and times of its own.
Just take a look at these two pictures above.
They are over 20 years apart! The same Apple website we know and love! Then and Now!... Have you guessed what I’m saying here?
It is time to redesign your website! You are not Apple, you can’t take a chance that all of the users who would search for your products and eventually land on your homepage won’t know the difference. What will that cost you? Potentially a lot more than hiring a professional who will do the necessary and budgetary affordable website “facelifts.”
Well, I don’t want to sound too “Sale-zy” here, that’s not my point! I just want to share my knowledge and expertise to show what you need not miss should you want to redesign the website all on your own (Well, you can always get in touch with me - email or phone calls are welcome. I’ll be sure to land you a hand)
Disclaimer: Since I’m one of WIX trained and certified partners (however freelance) I am authorized to curate, share and deliver bits and parts from their main blog to reinforce my point of view and to reaffirm my beliefs in WIX's awesomeness!
Without any further ado, here is a checklist of what needs to be done to revamp any diligent website out there to keep, promote and entice and ensure new business to your esteemed brands.
1. Determine if it's the time to redesign your website
2. Analyze and research your current website
3. Set your goals and create a plan
4. Define your visual language
5. Create a sitemap
6. Employ the best design practices
7. Update your site’s content
8. Mind your SEO
9. Optimize the mobile version
10. Review and share
01. Determine if it's the time to redesign your website
A website redesign is a task that requires time, planning and strategy on your part, so it’s best to get prepared. Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the design of my site no longer up-to-date?
Have I noticed a decrease in sales or conversions?
Have users complained about the navigation or design?
Did I recently rebrand my business?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, a website redesign definitely will benefit your business a great deal.
02. Analyze your current website and market
It’s very important to have a point of comparison. How your websites measure up to your competition? Evaluate your own site to find out what works well, and what doesn’t.
With the help of tools such as Google Analytics, you’ll be able to inspect your site’s data. Check to see which of your pages are the most popular, what an average user journey is like on your site, and which CTAs (Call-To-Action buttons) are getting clicked on. This guide on how to use Google Analytics can help you make the most out of your site’s data. Side Note: Don’t rush to pay for any plan with Google Analytics. That may cost you a pretty penny. Analyze your budget and goals first.
When researching your competition make notes on what they have that you do not. Should you add an online store, or Booking Events components. Perhaps you need property listings capabilities or restaurant features to be added? Are you selling art online or streaming music? It’s all about content and the right elements to be added to your already existing website.
Do you know your market and your Niche? Have you heard about SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT analysis is a strategy used by businesses for measuring and evaluating their overall performance, and that of competitors, in an objective manner.
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. All of these components are reviewed and assessed for each organization, including both their competitors and themselves. By forming a better understanding of your competition you would know your own strength and how can you set yourself above and beyond your competitors.
03. Set your goals and create a plan
Create a list of what you’d like to achieve in your website redesign. Is it intended to increase sales? Encourage email marketing subscriptions? Raise awareness of new products or deals? For each of your goals, specify the metrics through which it can be tracked.
Only clearly defined goals will help you devise a sufficient website redesign plan. After doing so, break down each of the desired changes you envision for your website into concrete, actionable steps. For example, if your main goal is to increase sales, you might want to consider incorporating pop-up lightboxes that offer a special discount. Then, decide on a viable timeframe for all of the items on your list.
04. Define the new visual language
Deciding on the look-and-feel of your website is an important step before delving into the many details that go into it. Make sure your visual language ties into your overall brand identity, and matches your business’s tone and core values. There are quite a few royalty-free image depots, like pixabay or pexels
At this stage, you should also gather all of the essential design assets you’ll need for your website. These include your professional logo, brand colors, and website color scheme. You will then decide whether they still fit into your new style, or could use some adjusting.
05. Create a sitemap
A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website and the way they are connected to each other. Getting it right is crucial for your website’s UX or user experience, and in order to achieve easy and intuitive website navigation.
<<<<site map image>>>>
On a piece of paper, map out a tree of the different pages on your website, and how users will be able to get from one to the other.
As for the pages themselves, including all of the absolute must-haves, such as a welcoming homepage, an about page, and a contact section, as well as a services or products page. In addition, consider which other pages can add value to your website, such as an online store, a blog, or designated landing pages to encourage conversion.
06. Employ best design practices
This is where the design part of the website redesign comes in. Be sure to keep your brand identity in mind, as well as the main principles of design. The following tips will help steer you in the right direction:
Hierarchy: This is what leads site visitors to look at each element of your site in order of priority, starting with the most significant piece first. Doing so will prevent the look of clutter and an unnecessary sense of urgency. Size and weight (like a larger and bolder letter size for titles) and element placement (like placing an important CTA button at the very center of the screen) can help you to achieve this.
Contrast: This helps us distinguish between different parts of the design by highlighting their differences. While elements that look alike tend to blend together, elements that are contrasting stand out more. Contrast can be achieved through texture (such as plain versus patterned), brightness (light versus dark) and, the most common one, color. Checking your website’s color contrast is an important web accessibility practice, as you’ll need to ensure that your site is clearly legible (there are many online tools for checking color contrast, such as Contract Checker).
Balance: Each of your pages should be well-balanced and harmonious. A good way to understand balance is to think of your webpage as a scale, with its elements distributed equally on both sides. There are many ways to go about such even distribution, as the balance can be symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial. Whichever you choose, the resulting look should always feel cohesive, leaving nothing out of place.
Use of images: Make sure to incorporate high-quality media features in ways that support your messages, such as photographs, icons, or vector art. Your imagery could showcase your product, like food for a restaurant website or your accommodations for a hotel website. A different option is to simply set the right mood, for example, with a soothing photo of plants on a nutrition and wellness website.
Typography: This is the practice of arranging text relating to everything from the choice of font to the letter size and weight. While typography is an art form in itself, there are a few simple rules to guide you through the use of type for your website. Pick one to three fonts (but no more) and use them consistently throughout the site. The paragraph text should be the most easily legible, while the title font can be more on the decorative side, with unique touches like cursive or old-style serifs. This guide for font pairings can help you find more inspiration.
07. Update your site’s content
A big part of updating your website is freshening up its text. When you are writing your website’s content, keep in mind that your choice of words provides real value to readers. Keeping your target audience in mind will help you craft text that is less about you and your product (which can come off as salezy), and more about your users and their needs.
Additionally, keep your text short and sweet. Sentences that are concise and to-the-point are especially effective in this current age of quick reading and decreasing attention spans.
The tone of voice: Your tone of voice should be consistent and in line with your brand identity. Write the way you’d want your brand to sound, had it been a person. Is it personal and friendly, or professional and authoritative?
08. SEO matters indeed!
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of improving your site’s visibility and ranking on Google search results, thereby boosting your website’s organic traffic. There are many steps you could take to help your business be found on Google.
Use of keywords: Conduct keyword research and choose two to three keywords to describe your business (short phrases or terms that people would type into search engines when looking for a business similar to yours). These should be used strategically around your website, including your SEO titles and descriptions. Make sure that the keywords fit seamlessly into your content, as recent Google algorithm updates pay special attention to context.
Alt-text: Writing alt-text for images on your website strengthens both its SEO and web accessibility. This is done by adding a few words that describe the content of your image. Your alt-text won’t be visible to your users but is nonetheless highly beneficial for Google bots and assistive technologies.
Page meta tags: Writing your page’s meta tags - including its title tags and descriptions, helps search engine bots understand the content of your page better, and display it correctly in search results. Whenever possible, it’s best to include keywords in your meta tags.
Domain name: Keeping your domain name consistent over time can help your brand’s recognizability. However, changing your domain name might be necessary if you’ve changed your business name, or expanded the scope of your brand and would like your domain name to reflect that.
09. Optimize the mobile version
Ensure that your site is experienced just as smoothly on-the-go by creating a mobile website version that’s equally intuitive. Declutter the screen and remove unnecessary elements so that only the most essential content remains, and stands out on the smaller screen. You can also take advantage of mobile design features such as a branded welcome screen or animations.
On top of improving your user experience, a mobile-friendly website is also beneficial for SEO as it’s a major part of Google’s mobile-first indexing initiative. That alone is becoming a thing #1 in 2020!
10. Review and share
Give your new design a thorough review, proofreading its written content, checking the navigation flow and ensuring that all links work properly. Tripple-check even the smallest of details, such as your website’s favicon, and everything else on this checklist for launching your website.
Is all done? Time to relaunch your newly face-lifted website! Use all means available!