3 out of 4 brands aren't happy with their website redesign. That statistic sucks.
There are a lot of website redesign considerations to plan for: cost, time, functionality, business goals, performance…
But there's a secret to being in that 25% of brands who are over the moon with their website revamp.
(Spoiler: It's all about your website redesign project plan.)
Before you embark in redesigning your existing website, consider reading through our guide.
In this guide, you'll get a clear, step-by-step website redesign project plan full of best practices on how to pull off the most effective redesign process.
Our companion website redesign worksheet has exercises, additional tips, and expert insights to help you shoot for the moon.
The 7 Essential Elements of an Effective Web Design
Performance is at the heart of every website.
Every effective website design contains these 6 elements. Knowing what they are is a great way to set yourself up for success before you head into your website redesign and help you develop a more effective project plan.
Let's dive in.
What do you do? Who is your business for? What products and services do you offer? What's the benefit/result you get people? Your messaging should answer those questions at a glance for your target audience.
Your target customer should be able to land on your home page and immediately know what you do and whether they are or aren't the perfect fit for your brand.
Remember: your new site is supposed to convert website visitors into customers. Your messaging can make or break that goal.
...this means you should invest in a digital marketer or copywriter to help you nail your messaging. This is one of the most important changes you'll make during your website redesign. Don't skip it.
Messaging should be benefit-driven
Need help with your messaging? This guide's website redesign project plan has an exercise that'll tell you how clear your messaging really is...and how to fix it.
A website with a good site structure is easy to navigate.
Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes: if you were landing on your site for the first time, would you want to stay? Click around? Read a blog?
Your site structure should encourage people to view your product pages and click “Add to Cart.”
If your traffic numbers are high but you aren't making as much money as you think you should—if your visits aren't converting—your structure could be the problem.
Not sure where to start to improve your current website structure? (Or if you even need to?) This guide's companion worksheet contains two exercises to help you get clear on your site's structure.
It's easy for most of us to spot bad website design. Great website design does more than look good—it also tells your prospective customers about you.
User experience is paramount to your success.
If your web site is difficult to navigate, confusing, or disorganized, then that’s how you’ll appear to potential customers: difficult, confusing, and disorganized.
(Probably not what you're aiming for.)
Here's an example:
Your site's design gives prospective customers a key insight into your brand personality.
...What's a brand personality?
Your brand personality is your ‘it’ factor. It’s the thing that will tell someone, with no more than a glance, that your brand is a fit for them.
It's kind of like your messaging...except it's visual instead of verbal.
Check out this website redesign we did for a client—we focused on clarifying their brand personality to appeal to their target market.
Spoiler: Their sales tripled.
A funnel is a sequence of steps designed to turn a prospect into a customer. Funnels are the reason many online businesses work today.
Funnels rely on strategic messaging and customer touch points. A typical funnel looks like this:
Funnels remove a lot of uncertainty from your business.
For example, say that 1 in 10 people in your funnel makes a purchase of about $50. If it costs $2 to get 1 person in your funnel...that's a $30 profit for every $20 you spend. We'd do that all day.
You can (and should) automate your entire funnel. Once someone finds you from your website content or your ads, you don't need to make any more manual actions. That liberates a lot of time to focus on your business.
If you don’t already have any funnels—or if this talk of funnels makes your head spin—check out this post we think does a good job of explaining funnels.
Funnels can feel overwhelming...but they're effective. Our worksheet has exercises to help you conquer funnel overwhelm and start making a LOT more money from your new website design.
You have to earn your customer’s trust before they’ll buy from you. A strong design makes you look legitimate, but there’s more to it.
Here's the truth—
Developing trust online is hard.
While testimonials and reviews show you're trustworthy, being accessible is also important.
On average, product page visitors who react with review content show...
In other words: show up. Show up in Google search. Show up on whichever social media network your ideal customer uses. Show up in their email inboxes.
You build trust online by making the effort to create a connection.
Encourage your customers to write positive reviews and comments. Then respond to them...even the bad ones.
Testimonials and success stories are the most important pieces of social proof on your current website. Collect as many as you possibly can.
A conversion is an action you want someone to take.
Signing up for your email list. Following you on social. Buying a product. These are all conversions.
Conversions are based on trust and messaging. When a prospective customer converts, they move down the funnel and progress along the journey to become a customer.
Messaging, a strong brand, a logical funnel, and social proof will net you more conversions...but it’s ultimately about what you offer and what your customer wants.
...so how does a website redesign project plan help?
Low conversion rates are often a symptom of some issue with your messaging, structure, identity, funnel, or ability to build trust. A website redesign strategy that improves all of those aspects will improve your conversion rates.
53% of people abandon mobile websites—including online stores—that take more than 3 seconds to load.
Simply put, a modern website needs to be fast, so your redesign needs to account for that.
Videos should be hosted by a third party and lazy loaded.
If you're considered a website redesign for an online store, we suggest you read our Shopify speed optimization guide. A lot of the how to's are specific to Shopify, but the suggestions about how to improve site speed can be applied to any store.
Website Redesign Mistakes
Remember we told you that 75% of website redesigns fail?
The biggest reason a website redesign doesn't take off is because of poor planning.
In this chapter, you'll learn the 3 biggest reasons behind redesign failure...and how you can avoid them throughout the website redesign process with a strong project plan.
Reason for Failure #1: Focusing on Technology before Website Strategy
Your website exists to grow your business. Every choice you make should serve that goal.
We get a lot of questions from business owners who ask about the tech before they’ve considered their business goals. It’s absolutely the wrong approach for determining your current website needs.
Don’t start your process worrying about WordPress vs. Magento vs. Shopify.
Instead, focus on things like:
- What is this new website's purpose?
- How can a redesigned website accelerate my business's growth?
- How can we (the people at your organization) ensure the website stays successful?
Business goals and website strategy come first. Then pick the best tech for the job.
If you talk to a web development company for a website redesign and they don’t focus on your business and project goals in the early conversations, run far, far away. It's the most important part of your website redesign project plan – it can't be marginalized.
Haven't thought about your goals for a website redesign project plan yet? Don't worry—this guide's companion worksheet has exercises to help you get clear on and refine your goals.
Reason for Failure #2: Vague Project Goals
A goal is a measurable outcome that defines success.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to approach a redesign with vague goals like “I want my site to look better” or “I want to get more leads”.
Those are fine goals to work towards...
But you need to examine what they mean and how you can measure them.
For example, when you say “I want my new website design to look better,” you mean:
- I want my brand to look appealing.
- I want my brand to be recognizable.
- I want to give my customers a positive experience.
Distilling your goal's true meaning will tell you exactly what to measure.
Vague (weak) vs. Specific (strong) Goals
You have no way to measure your website redesign's success if you lack clear business goals and your website redesign project plan won't be effective.
In the next chapter, you'll create goals and make them S.M.A.R.T. This guide's worksheet has exercises to help you clarify your goals. Download it to get started.
Reason for Failure #3: Inadequate Budget
If your total budget is lower than $60,000, then you’re setting yourself up for a disappointing end result.
Why so much? Think about the costs associated with each of these services for a website redesign:
- Mobile Friendly Design
- Full-stack Web Development
- A Content Management System
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Visual asset creation
- Project management
- QA (quality assurance)
- Photography (spaces, models, props, editing, etc.)
- Video production
It's rare to find a single agency that has all the expertise you need. Most of the time, you'll need to find a few different partners.
If your budget is too low, you'll make mistakes. You'll hire someone who isn't the best fit for your brand...or you'll run out of money and cut corners.
It might seem like you sank a lot of money into something you don't want.
...You see how easy it is to land in that 75% of business owners who are unhappy with their redesign.
(Jump to this guide's section about crafting a budget to start talking numbers.)
Determine your Website Redesign Goals
Want to know how to be really unhappy with a project you sank thousands of dollars into?
Go in without clear goals.
In this chapter, you'll formulate a single win condition to measure your website redesign's success.
Knowing your business goals lets you set expectations for your website redesign project plan.
A redesign should do more than make your site look better—it should help grow your business and make your entire operation more efficient.
Your redesigned website will help you...
You have no way to measure your website redesign's success if you lack clear business goals.
You're leaving a LOT of money on the table if you forget to think about how your redesign will improve your marketing.
Do you want to...
Your marketing success directly affects your business goals and bottom line. Take the time to think about some marketing goals you want a new website to accomplish.
Spend a few minutes thinking about what marketing goals you have for your redesign. Keep track of them with our handy worksheet.
A website redesign is much more than a makeover.
In fact, you should view a redesign as the opportunity to get an entirely new site.
...that means changing any of the tech problems on the backend that make you want to pull your hair out.
(And we know you have a few in mind.)
Some of our clients' technology goals...
If you're struggling to come up with some ideas, think about all the marketing you want to do but haven't done because of technical restrictions.
(Like setting up conversion events and tracking snippets. Or creating landing pages for lead generation campaigns.)
Now is the time to set those up.
This guide's companion worksheet has exercises to help you get clear on your technology goals (and the other goals in this chapter). Download it to get started!
Aligning Your Goals
Now you have some goals—great! But a smörgåsbord of unrelated objectives means your redesign might feel like it's being run by a multitasking alien with one too many tentacles.
In other words: stuff is bound to get messy if your objectives aren't aligned.
Your goals should flow into each other. Technology goals should lead to marketing goals. Marketing goals should lead to business goals.
Here's an example:
I want to create + customize user friendly landing pages with ease.
I want to increase conversion rate from Facebook ads by 25%.
I want 33% more leads on my website compared to 2018.
Make them S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are measurable goals.
If you don’t have specific KPIs (key performance indicators) yet, now’s the time to think of them.
A vague goal like “I want more conversions” is a good place to start but not where you want to end up. It's a bad goal because it's not quantifiable.
This worksheet has dozens of exercises to ensure you get crystal clear on what you want from your website revamp.
Your Win Condition
A win condition is how you’ll measure the success of your redesign.
...but what is a win condition?
A win condition is the single most important business goal on your list.
The take-it-or-leave-it item on the agenda. The yardstick you’ll use to measure your success. The cake itself.
Ready for the win condition formula?
Win Condition = #1 Most Important Business Goal supported by Marketing + Tech goals.
Need help identifying your win condition...or want to start at the beginning and hammer out some solid goals? The worksheet for this guidebook has space for all of that.
How to Budget for a Website Redesign
The last thing you want is to get slapped in the face with a price tag that's way above what you imagined.
That's why you take stock of your resources so you can direct your spending where it counts.
In this chapter, you'll learn what a website makeover costs and put together a realistic budget for your website redesign project plan.
This shouldn't be surprising...
But different websites and industries have different needs.
So you might need to calculate your budget differently than someone else.
If you're an ecommerce venture, jump to the ecommerce budget formula section of this chapter.
Otherwise, keep reading.
Pricing for B2B Websites
There's no one-size-fits-all for web design pricing.
We prefer to price website redesigns by the value of an improved web presence instead of at standard tiers.
Because some companies and industries value a strong web presence more than others. A single sticker price ignores that nuance.
...so how can you figure out the value of your business's web presence?
You'll need to gather/calculate some numbers first:
1. Total Website Traffic
In other words, how many people visited your site last year?
If you have Google Analytics installed, you can quickly grab this number.
2. Total Number of Customers
Really simple—the total number of customers you served over the past year.
You shouldn't have to dig too hard to get this number.
3. Top Line Revenue
How much did your business earn last year? (You shouldn't have to dig too much to get this number, either.)
Now you have 2 choices.
You could try to crunch the numbers by hand...
...or you can plug them into our website budget calculator and let that do the math.
The Ecommerce Budget Formula
We use an ROI-focused formula in lieu of a fixed number to determine the cost of an ecommerce website redesign project plan.
We’ve used this formula internally at Huemor for years. We call it the “Ecommerce Budget Formula" (EBF).
Let's hop to it.
You'll use the following numbers in your calculations:
- Annual ecommerce revenue
- Average product value
- Total number of products
- Total number of customers
- Total number of orders
Additionally, you should list out any necessary 3rd party integrations or other logistical complications you foresee.
This will help you get an accurate idea of what you'll need to budget for a successful redesign.
If learning about the formula and running the numbers by hand sounds like your idea of a good time, check out our article about ecommerce website costs.
Our ecommerce budget calculator will do the math for you.
Find Your Dream Partner
Finding the right fit for a redesign can be the toughest part of the process.
With the thousands of professionals out there, how do you find the right fit for your needs?
We’ll show you exactly how in this chapter.
3 Evaluation Factors
You might already have a partner (or two) in mind.
But a web redesign is a long project. It’s important to find someone who feels like a fit in terms of personality, expertise, and humility.
You’ll work with this vendor for a long time. It’s important that you like them.
An ideal partner will understand and emulate your values. Many agencies list their values on their website; double check that they align with yours.
It's also important to pay attention to how they treat you—do they show up late? How do they respond to your questions and concerns? Trust your intuition.
There are a lot of web design agencies. If someone gives you a weird vibe, back away and look for someone else.
Plenty of agencies with impressive portfolios might not be the best fit for you.
Your ideal partner should have some success (re)designing websites in your field.
One company might build an awesome travel agency website but lack the acumen to build a stellar ecommerce website.
Another might not have the A-list clientele you'd like to see but their ecommerce work might speak for itself.
That's why it's important to evaluate each potential partner on their own merits and not in competition with each other.
Be adamant about getting the best possible product.
The best agencies to partner with will be humble. They understand that, as the client, your needs come first.
Beware the agency whose ego conflicts with your business interests.
If a vendor immediately talks about their technical prowess or accolades instead of asking you questions about your goals, challenges, or overall strategy, run away. Far away.
That is not the agency you want to manage your website redesign process.
Need some more help figuring out what you want in a dream partner? Our companion worksheet has several activities to help you get clear on who you want to work with.
How do you choose the best type of partner for you? Here are our recommendations:
Less than $1 million/year in revenue
$2 - $10 million/year in revenue
You should partner with a small agency instead of a freelancer to manage the project and ensure a cohesive end product. Find one at:
Exception: You might be able to get away with several freelancers if your business isn't complex. But you’ll need clear expectations and good project management to succeed.
$10 - $50 million/year in revenue
Consider a small-to-medium-sized agency to tackle your website redesign project plan. We recommend searching through:
At this stage, you probably have sophisticated processes that require some care and thoughtful planning. You’ll need an organized and versatile team.
More than $50 million/year in revenue
Talk to Existing Customers
You know the best way to vet someone?
Talk to their previous customers or clients.
Chances are you’ll talk to someone who had a great experience. Awesome! Ask them about how they worked with this agency you’re considering. Would they recommend them to you?
That should give you a sense of whether this arrangement will work.
Case Study: CoverFx
Want to see an example of the power of a website redesign?
Our client CoverFx knew exactly what they wanted in a new website...and they got some astounding results.
Download the case study to read about how a website redesign project plan helped a business grow its online sales by 27% in the space of a few months.
That’s your ultimate website redesign project planning guide.
After you download the worksheet and complete the activities, you'll have clear goals, a good idea for a budget, and a list of potential vendors to get started with.
Now we want to turn it over to you: what did you think about this guide? What questions do you still have? Do you have additional advice for redesigning your website? Let us know in the comment section below.
BTW, if you've found this guide helpful and you're gearing up for a website redesign, feel free to also check out our website design RFP guide. We outline a number of helpful tips for creating an RFP that will weed out low performing agencies and find your perfect partner.