Website redesigns can be undertaken for a number of reasons - but are most commonly performed to achieve a specific marketing goal. These goals usually have something to do with rebranding, increasing traffic, generating more leads, adding functionality, improving the user experience, or a combination of all of these elements.
With a website redesign, as with so many other things in life, it is important to remember that Rome was not built in a day, and that success will only be achieved by going through five essential phases.
So, let’s take a quick look at what these phases are (or, if you're in a hurry, you can download the website redesign checklist for later).
The 5 Phases of Website Redesign Success
Phase 1: Website Audit
It’s clear that auditing your site is essential for any website refresh or redesign. If you want to start with an accurate understanding of how your website is currently performing and what needs to be improved, all your content needs to be analyzed.
Ask internal stakeholders for input on what they would like to see in a website redesign, and consider conducting interviews to better understand how external stakeholders use your website.
In no particular order, these elements of your website should be reviewed:
- Content management system
- Visual design
- Competitive analysis
- Web accessibility
- Mobile-friendly design
- Website speed
Ask yourself, is the information on the site up to date? Is any content overlapping or duplicated? Does this content meet accessibility standards?
Be sure to identify the most important pages on your website early on and remember to categorize your website visitors by persona, as this will help you meet their different expectations. Map out the core user journey and focus on areas that could be streamlined or otherwise improved.
Phase 2: Budgeting & Redesign Strategy
In this phase you will need to align with your web team on core goals for website enhancements and content redevelopment, set a realistic budget/timeline based on your resources, and decide on a redesign strategy.
To ensure that the project is set on the right track, plan a timeline outlining the milestones that will need to be achieved, as well as a deadline for the launch of the redesigned website. One thing to note is that timelines can differ based on your budget, web team tasks, approval procedures from management, etc.
However, while setting a timeline is a best practice for all projects, it is ultimately unrealistic to think that all projects will be executed flawlessly, hit all of their milestones, and be ready in time for launch.
Timelines should therefore be set with some flexibility in order to provide a little buffer room for situational factors like team members falling ill, unforeseen bugs, or long approval processes. Don’t get too stressed out about hitting hard deadlines, as this can lead to making compromises on quality, which could end up navigating the whole point of your website redesign project.
Key Tip: Including accessibility as a part of your budget and strategy from the start will save you resources throughout the planning process, ease up your testing process with various users, spare you the costs of non-compliance, and ultimately help you ensure your conversation is set for success.
Phase 3: Execution of Website Redesign
Based on your content, SEO, design, and accessibility audit, you should now have what you need to create an appropriate plan to update your website. When rewriting any existing content for your web pages, remember to do so in a way that will retain any valuable keywords that they already rank for. Also, be mindful of the interplay between content and design in order to ensure that they complement each other, are accessible, and that each fulfills its function to improve the user experience.
When incorporating accessibility, focus on fixing errors identified during the audit and make sure to establish new processes to maintain your improved compliance. Remember to educate colleagues and to communicate the benefits of website accessibility by hosting workshops and other relevant sessions.
Phase 4: Testing & Launch
Run a pre-launch audit and create a pre-launch checklist that covers all the most important website areas that will be impacted by the redesign. Automation tools can help greatly here by providing speed and accuracy in identifying potential areas of concern.
Include real human experience testing in order to verify that UI and UX are in place, and be sure to include a broad spectrum of users, such as those who use assistive technology.
A few checklist essentials include checking that:
- All CTA buttons have links assigned to them
- All pages have optimized title tags and meta descriptions
- All images have either an alt text (or for decorative images a null text) assigned
- All URLs are updated
- Website navigation is thoroughly tested
Phase 5: Go Live with the Redesign
Keep in mind that a website redesign doesn’t end on the launch date. Once you have gone live with your redesigned website, you’ll need to monitor your post-launch website traffic and outline a post-launch strategy to analyze the data from the redesign.
The last thing you want is to have used up valuable resources on a redesign only to fall back on old ways.
This is why it is so important to implement a website auditing tool.
The Future’s Bright - The Future’s Automated
While an effective website redesign will take a little bit of your time and energy, it need not be a painful experience.
This is why it’s such a great idea to implement a website auditing tool as soon as possible, as this will instantly revolutionize your efforts and minimize your pain points.
Indeed, it is clear that website auditing tools are increasingly essential not just for undertaking effective and successful website redesigns, but also for maintaining website standards and uncovering new areas for improvement.
Want to find out how your website is performing in 2023? Book a demo to see how Monsido can help you maintain a healthy and effective website!