The Ultimate Checklist For Your Website Redesign (Updated 2022)

By Joshua Gross, 05 May, 2022

In an increasingly digital world, having a robust online presence is essential for businesses of all shapes and sizes. If your site is outdated, not receiving as much traffic as you'd like, not optimized for mobile, or otherwise not performing in the ways you'd like, it might be time for a website redesign.

When you embark on the journey of redesigning your website, you're investing time, money, and effort towards the cause. However, revamping your site can be the precise tool you need to grow your business when done right.

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store, an online business, or some combination of the two, redesigning your site can be absolutely essential when it comes to achieving success. A well-designed site can help you improve your search rankings, meet the needs of your visitors and team, increase your conversion rate, and more.

Are you wondering what steps you need to take when redesigning your site? Let's dive in and look at what you need to know.

Build Your Team

Before you jump in and start brainstorming about the new UI you want to implement, you'll want to tackle the task of redesigning your website in a logical order. It's easy to get ahead of yourself when redesigning a site; after all, it's exciting! However, one of the first things you'll want to do is assemble your redesign task force.

How many people are required to redesign your site will depend on many different factors, and it's, of course, possible to redesign a site entirely on your own. However, the ideal number for a site redesign team is typically somewhere around five people, preferably from different departments.

Some of the key players you'll want to include on your team are a:

  • Designer
  • Strategist
  • Developer
  • Content/copywriter

You'll also want to pick a point person in charge of the project from within this team. They will be responsible for ensuring that the project continues moving forward and making decisions and approvals within the group.

You might find that outsourcing your redesign is the most time- and cost-effective method for approaching the project.

Determine Your Goals

As Seneca famously said, "if one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable." Determining what you are looking to achieve with your website redesign is essential before getting too deep into the process.

Obviously, you want to redesign your site so that your business will be more successful. That's a little too vague to be useful, though.

There are three primary reasons you might be compelled to redesign your site.

The first is to repair issues that are negatively impacting your business. For example, this might mean that your interface or content is outdated, your site isn't friendly to mobile devices, or your loading times are too slow.

The second is optimization. In this instance, your site might be technically fine from a nuts and bolts standpoint, but you want to increase your online presence or create a better user journey. If your site functions well, but you want to reach more target customers, website optimization might be the path for you.

Lastly, a redesign can also feel like the natural step when you've made changes to your company culture, marketing strategy, or branding. Maybe your site doesn't have any functional or even design problems, but you're motivated to rebrand your site to reflect the growth and evolution of your company.

Perform an Audit

Once you've decided to redesign your website, assembled your team, and determined your goals, the next step is to audit the current version of your site thoroughly. This is an opportunity to determine what is working and what needs to be tweaked so that your redesign can be a success. Again, there's a high likelihood that there are vital parts of your site that you'll want to keep rather than tearing the whole thing down and starting from scratch.

So, what should you be looking for when auditing your existing site? Some of the steps you'll want to take include:

  • Assessing the current page performance of your site
  • Completing a full SEO audit of your entire website
  • Reviewing the copy that's currently on your site

A successful audit will help you obtain a bird's eye view of all your assets on the table.

Are you considering building a web app for your business? Take a look at our guide on how long the process takes from start to finish.

Research the Competition and Get Inspired

Analyzing your competition is one of the most informative steps you can take to determine what needs to change on your site (and what should definitely stay!). You'll want to compile a list of all of your competitor's sites and take notes on what seems to be working and what isn't.

Looking at your competitors doesn't just help you develop practical ideas for changes to your site, but it can also serve as a source of inspiration. It can be overwhelming trying to make all of the little decisions necessary when you redesign a site, and getting a sense of what the other players in the industry are doing can help get your creative juices flowing.

That being said, you don't want to copy the style and features of your competitor's sites. While you can glean valuable information from competitive analysis, it's important to stay true to your brand personality rather than trying to mimic your competition so precisely that you get lost in the crowd.

Understand the User Journey

One of the key elements to redesigning your site includes mapping out the various stages that users will go through on their journey through your site. Two valuable tools to help you in this part of the process include customer interviews and user testing.

Without understanding what the user is looking for on your site, it's hard to achieve your desired goals with a redesign. Only then can you offer solutions to the problems they are there to solve.

Create a New Sitemap

When you performed your site audit, you probably found that there are some pages on your site that are performing great while others are floating around the ephemeral digital world of unvisited web pages. So take this opportunity to get rid of pages you no longer need, organize those you're going to keep, and add pages that should be there but aren't. Don't forget to implement proper redirects from old URLs to new ones, as necessary!

Perform Keyword Research and Mapping

Keyword research and mapping can help you create a functional site structure by allowing you to create a content hierarchy. To ensure that your site has the highest possible amount of exposure, you'll want to identify the primary and secondary keywords that you'll want to include in your most prominent pages.

Utilize Best Practices in Design

If you're undergoing the process of redesigning a site on your own, you'll want to make sure you understand the basic principles of design. While it's worth diving deeper into design theory before you start with your redesign, some important components include:

Contrast: Utilizing contrast makes your website more usable due to accentuating the difference between two objects or elements.

Balance: Your site should have a well-balanced design, meaning elements are distributed in their visual weight.

Hierarchy: This principle relates to having the elements displayed in relation to how important they are, i.e., using larger, bolder type for the subsection titles of a content article.

Imagery: Incorporating high-quality, well-selected, relevant images is an important aspect of a visually pleasing site.

Typography: You'll want to decide on the chosen fonts for your site and maintain consistency across pages.

If you have a full team of experts working on the case, your designer will obviously already be familiar with the best design practices. However, if you're taking on the task yourself, it's worth learning as much as you can about how to create a visually appealing and usable site.

Are you looking for inspiration for your website redesign? Check out these modern examples of clean web app design to help you get your muse to start singing.

Create Your Copy

At first, you don't have to have your copy fully polished and finished. However, you will want to know what messages you are sending to the user on different pages and how you will help them navigate the site. Then, as you get closer to launch, you'll want to go back over your copy and make sure that everything is exactly as you want it.

Perform User Testing

Before you launch your site, you'll want to perform user testing to review your design and get actual feedback from your target demographic. This can help you make any last-minute tweaks or even head back to the drawing board if necessary. While having to make major changes after you've redesigned your site can be frustrating, it's important to understand that your site can't be as successful as you want it to be if your audience finds it difficult to use, ugly, or hard to navigate.

Optimize Your Site for Mobile

One thing you definitely won't want to forget when redesigning your site is making sure it's optimized for mobile devices. People are increasingly relying on their mobile devices to access the internet. If your site isn't designed to load properly on a smartphone or tablet, you're definitely losing potential customers.

A responsive website will be able to adjust its layout depending on the size of the screen it is being displayed on. While having a responsive site is a good step, there are more things you can do to optimize your site for mobile further.

You might find that there are elements you can remove from the mobile layout that aren't essential. This can help to keep the interface clean and easy to use.

Another key feature of a successful website is fast loading times. The reality is that people don't have infinite attention spans these days. In fact, most people will bounce off and go to another site if your site doesn't load in just a few seconds.

If you aren't yet convinced that your site should be optimized for mobile, understanding how Google incorporates mobile-friendliness and core web vitals in their ranking factors might help you change your mind. Google gives preference to mobile-first indexing, meaning that having a site that's optimized for mobile can help boost your reach and exposure in a big way.

Don't Forget About SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) should always be an important component of any website redesign. When you use SEO to your advantage, it can help boost your organic traffic in a way that can be incredibly beneficial to your business goals.

Some of the places in your site where you'll want to incorporate SEO include:

  • Your site's architecture
  • XML sitemap
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Alt-text
  • Page load time
  • Schema markups
  • Internal linking

SEO is not a part of the redesign process that you'll want to skip or skimp on. After all, what's the use in creating an incredible new site if no one can find it?

Launch Your Newly Redesigned Site!

It's been a long road, but you finally made it! Before you launch your site, you'll want to do a final review to ensure that everything is in good working order.

A checklist for your pre-launch review will include:

  • There are no broken links, and all links are working well
  • Images are loading quickly and properly
  • Your permalink URL structure remains the same as prior to your redesign
  • Your titles and metadata are correct for every site page

When you finally launch your site, you'll want to double-check that all of your pages are rendering properly and that it loads correctly on all devices.

Is It Time For You to Redesign Your Website?

As you can see, redesigning a website is a serious investment in time, money, and effort. However, you'll likely feel the return you receive from that investment was well worth it when done well. If you aren't seasoned in the world of web design, though, and you don't have a team of experts at your disposal, there can be a pretty steep learning curve for fully revamping a site.

In those instances, it can make sense to outsource your redesign. This way, a team of experienced web designers can help you identify your goals and create a plan for your new site. They'll take care of every aspect of the site design, allowing you to focus on the thing you do best: running your business.

At Planetary, we specialize in building custom digital products for companies of all sizes. With experience working with the likes of Google, Amazon, and Univision, we know a thing or two about creating functional and visually striking websites.

Are you searching for the right team to help you with your redesign? If so, drop us a line and tell us about your project.