So... you want to redesign your website. Maybe you just finished a brand overhaul or your product was recently updated. Whatever your reason, a redesign can be a huge success — or a total flop. It can also be a long and tedious undertaking, which is why every redesign needs to start with a clear vision and/or problem to solve.
The better you are at defining that vision at the very beginning, the more successful your redesign will be — and the smoother the entire process will be as well.
Let’s unpack eight critical steps to take when redesigning your website.
Before you begin planning your website redesign, document your current performance metrics. This will give you a good idea of where your current website stands and what metrics you can improve upon through your redesign.
Analyze your existing website’s monthly performance in the following areas. The importance and relevance of each may vary depending on your website redesign goals, but it’s helpful to pull each metric before you dive into your redesign.
If you don’t have access to this information, I recommend adding tools like Google Analytics for better tracking and visibility into your website's performance.
Furthermore, make note of which tools you used to measure each of these benchmarks in the past. Ideally, you’ll want to use those same tools when collecting your post-redesign metrics. Otherwise, you’ll be comparing apples to oranges.
What’s the “why” behind your website redesign? When considering a redesign, there should always be a good reason behind it.
If you’re answering with “well, it’s been a while since we’ve done one” or “my competitor just did a redesign,” those reasons aren’t good enough on their own.
Remember: It’s not just about how your site looks, but rather how it works. Be crystal clear about why you’re doing a website redesign, and tie those goals to measurable results.
Then communicate your goals with your team, designer, and/or agency. Consider the following data-driven objectives for your own website:
Many of these goals are dependent on one another. For example, in order to generate more conversions, you may also need to increase traffic while decreasing your site's bounce rate.
Also, take a look at the metrics you pulled out in step one. Are there any metrics you can improve upon with your new website? Perhaps you use your old website metrics to inspire new goals, too.
Before crafting your new website design and content, be crystal clear about your desired branding, messaging, and unique value proposition. Doing so will ensure consistency across your entire website.
Anyone who visits your website for the first time should immediately understand what you do, how it may benefit them, and why they should stay on your site and not flee to your competitors'.
Think about whether you plan to change your branding and/or messaging, or if it will stay the same. If you plan to change it, what about it needs to change? Keep these changes top-of-mind as you redesign your website.
As you develop your messaging, use clear, concise language. Avoid using industry jargon that may alienate parts of your audience and make you sound more like a business-babbling robot than a human.
Additionally, as you develop your branding, consider what visual aspects of your website need to be redesigned and what can stay the same. Have you created a new logo, style guide, or color palette? Make sure these are applied to your new website so it remains consistent with other parts of your brand.
Your website is not just about you. Actually, it’s hardly about you.
When your visitors land on your website, they're asking themselves, “What’s in it for me? How could this help me?”
Speak to your visitors in their language by crafting your website design and content around your buyer personas.
For instance, if you're a marketing manager at a hotel looking to bring in new business, you might target five different buyer personas: an independent business traveler, a corporate travel manager, an event planner, a vacationing family, and a couple planning their wedding reception.
Make sure you clearly identify your buyer personas so you can shape your website redesign strategy around the website visitors that matter most to you.
Is your target audience changing as part of your website redesign? Do your branding and content align with this audience? Answer these questions as you're strategizing your website redesign.
Getting discovered online is also essential to improving your website's metrics. If no one is able to find and visit your site, how can you increase new leads, reconversions, or sales? Here are some tips for designing your new website with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind:
Use your marketing analytics to figure out which pages receive the most traffic and inbound links, convert the most leads, and ultimately cover the most influential topics in your industry. If you plan to move any of these highly valuable pages, make sure you create the proper 301 redirects.
Speaking of 301 redirects, these are extremely important in terms of retaining the traffic and link value associated with a given page. Create a spreadsheet to record and map out your 301 redirects (old URLs vs. new URLs). Then hand this document over to someone technical for proper implementation.
For every page on your newly designed website, pick one keyword/topic each page will focus on. Once you determine the keyword(s), use on-page SEO best practices to optimize your website pages. Furthermore, consider adding new content and pages to your website that address those particular keywords and topics that may be neglected on your current site.
While we don’t recommend obsessing over your competitors, it can help to know how you compare. First, run your website through HubSpot's free Website Grader tool to generate a report card of how well your website is performing. You can also use this diagnostic tool to evaluate your competitors' websites, so you're aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
Next, take a look at your competitors' websites, and take note of what you like — and what you don’t. This process is to help you realize what you can do better on your website. Once you conduct your competitive analysis, put together a list of action items highlighting some areas for improvement and how you can set yourself apart from your competitors.
While a redesign is a great way to improve the performance of your website, there are unfortunately countless ways in which it can hurt you. Your existing website likely contains many high-performing content assets that you've already built up, and losing their effectiveness because of a redesign can severely damage your marketing results.
For instance, such assets might include your:
For example, if you end up removing a page from your site that has accumulated a high number of inbound links, you could potentially lose a lot of SEO credit, which would make it increasingly difficult for you to get found on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Keep in mind that many web designers don’t consider this step because they are neither marketers nor SEO specialists. Don’t hesitate to remind them about this, and help them along by auditing your site and providing them with a list for maintaining or updating critical pages on your site.
The final (but arguably most important) step of the website redesign process is choosing the right software with which to create and host your website. This software is typically called a content management system (CMS), and it’s used to develop, design, and publish your website for the world to see.
CMS software is beneficial for a few reasons. Whether you’re a novice digital marketer or a master web developer, a CMS can easily help you create a gorgeous, functional website. Choosing the right CMS depends on your business, such as what CMSs you’re already familiar with and what features your website redesign requires.