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How to Plan a Successful Website Redesign

by Andrew Follett  |  
February 1, 2011
  |  20,684 views

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Key questions to ask yourself before deciding to redesign your website
  • Four essential steps in successfully planning your next website

Website redesigns have become an addiction. Every year or two, Marketing decides it's due time to "freshen up the ol' site." And so begins the long, expensive process of recreating a website.

Unfortunately, businesses rarely take the proper approach to a website redesign, resulting in a project that goes over budget, launches late, and fails to deliver results.

So before you go out and hire a Web designer and developer to rebuild the most important weapon in your marketing arsenal, make sure you have a well-defined plan for success.

Do You Really Need Another Redesign?

It seems an obvious question, but too many times the reasons for embarking on a redesign are less than convincing. Here are just a few...


I'm sick of looking at the same website every day!

Using the same website day after day can get tiresome, but keep in mind that many, if not most, of your visitors don't see your site every day. So although it may seem to you that it's time for a change, your visitors are likely just starting to get used to your website.

It can take years for visitors to begin to associate your Web design with your brand and get comfortable with the layout and navigation.


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Andrew Follett is the founder of Demo Duck, which helps businesses create animated and live-action explainer videos. He also runs Video Brewery, a corporate video production marketplace. You can follow him on his blog, Google+, and Twitter.

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  • by Kindra Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    Will redoing a website mess up your SEO? We currently have a very simple, unfunctional, not user friendly site. However, it's the highest rank for our most competitive search term. Will redoing it comlpetely ruin the great SEO we have?

  • by Adrian Halley Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    Good article Andrew, but you forget to mention Feedbackify (http://www.feedbackify.com). We're a lot more affordable to small/medium sized businesses than some of the other products you've mentioned, and we're proud to already have high profile customers such as dictionary.com who like the way our feedback forms open on the page rather than in an annoying popup window.

    Thanks,

    Adrian Halley,
    CEO, Feedbackify

  • by Scott Paley Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    Hi Andrew,

    We have a similar "getting ready for a redesign" post up on our blog.

    http://blog.abstractedge.com/2010/09/8-ways-to-prepare-for-a-web-design-project/

    Our list includes:

    1 - Why are you building this website?
    2 - Who will use the website?
    3 - Where is the content?
    4 - Which keywords are important for search engine optimization?
    5 - Do you have an established brand identity?
    6 - Are you prepared to invest in the site post-launch?
    7 - What is your competition doing?
    8 - Have you reviewed your analytics?

    In other words, there is a *lot* to think about if you want to have a site that actually works for your company.

    Thanks for the post.

    Scott Paley
    Managing Director
    Abstract Edge

  • by Andrew Follett Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    @Kindra - I'm not an SEO expert, but you do need to be careful, you don't want to lose your ranking. This article might help get you started in the right direction: http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/05/site-redesign-seo/

    @ Adrian - Thanks for the heads up, I'll take a look!

  • by Scott Paley Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    @Kindra - read up on 301 redirects. They will be your friend if you do a redesign, assuming the URLs change from your current set up.

    You do have to take some steps to make sure to not lose all that Google juice you've built up, but it is doable.

  • by Adrian Halley Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    @Andrew - Great, let me know if you have any questions. You can reach me on adrian at feedbackify.com.

    Adrian Halley,
    CEO, Feedbackify

  • by Shaymein Ewer Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    Don't forget Content Strategy. I've redesigned many, many websites and clients usually want a redesign to solve underlying issues that are never addressed, the big one is governance of content.

    From the team at braintraffic.com on Governance and Guidelines:

    For content to remain accurate, relevant, timely, and valuable to your audiences, itís critically important that you develop specific governance policies, standards, and guidelines. These can inform and even define your:

    Content-related roles and responsibilities
    Decision-making processes around content
    Content governance tools (such as style guides, pattern libraries, etc.)
    Emergency action plans

  • by Molly at Volusion Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    Love this article! We recommend that our merchants in ecommerce change up their homepage frequently with discounts, promotions and other call to action features. This keeps their stores fresh and makes customers curious to see what the store has to offer.

    I agree with your advice on measurable objectives. It is good to utilize tracking links or another way to see who is coming to the site and what they are doing when they get there. Are they using the call to action items you put out there for them and are those items converting sales?

    Check out our webinar here: http://bit.ly/gWb7rL for more info. on design for an ecommerce site.

  • by JB Tue Feb 1, 2011 via web

    I want to second the comments of Scott Paley, and in fact, made the same point a while back in a MP article titled "Never Break the Chain"
    (http://www.marketingprofs.com/short-articles/1414/never-break-the-chain). It is SO frustrating when this essential part of any redesign is missed.

  • by Danny Naz - Naz Creative Fri Feb 4, 2011 via web

    When redesigning your website, you want to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost is SEO. When you drastically change the structure of your site, it WILL effect your rankings, more than likely it will hurt your rankings initially is you don't take proper care. The next thing would be old links. if your new pages have different names, make sure to do 301 redirects. Also, the trend of late is to do wordpress websites. This would keep things more simplistic for future redesigns as all you really need to do is just add a new skin to the site. Lastly, if you are not in the social media revolution, you'd better jump on that bandwagon.

  • by Andrew Follett Fri Feb 4, 2011 via web

    @Danny - Good reminders Danny, thanks for sharing!

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