Redesigning your website can mean different things, but these are the three crucial steps.
If you feel it's time to optimize your online store for mobile devices, does it mean you're redesigning it? If you hire developers to customize a default WordPress theme you've been using for years, is that also considered a redesign? What if you're migrating from WordPress to Drupal?
Clearly, there's more to website redesign than new colors, buttons, menus and forms. However, companies that initiate the website redesign process usually have similar goals – increased online presence, better user experience or higher conversion. Here are some tips that will help you achieve those goals no matter what "redesign" means for you.
1. Develop a well-thought-out redesign strategy.
- Define your brand and target audience. How do your customers feel about your company? What do they expect from you and your website? Make sure to study the user feedback you've received since the website went live.
- Study your Google Analytics data to determine which pages and content should remain intact, what works well and what doesn't. Is the content going to sit well on your new website?
- Identify KPIs – the number of monthly website visitors, bounce rate, average time on a webpage, etc. – that matter to your business.
- Set your goals. For example, you might want to speed up your corporate website, enhance its functionality, improve conversion rates. or simply revamp its look and feel.
- Get down to competitive analysis and find several websites that you like the most. What features do they use? If you're ready to get a bit more technical, you can draw paper-and-pen wireframes or use simple tools like Mockplus or Balsamiq to determine how user interface (UI) elements like sliders, icons and text blocks will appear on a screen and how screens will link to each other.
Once you gather the initial requirements, you should put it all on paper, find a reliable vendor who will translate your business values into tech language, and choose the right development tools for your project.
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2. Decide what you need right now and what you might need in the future.
UI design is just the tip of the iceberg, normally accounting for 30 percent of a web project's lifespan. For this reason, you cannot create a detailed website redesign strategy all by yourself, as you don't know exactly how your website functions under the hood. That's why you need professional help.
The term "website redesign" may refer to any of the following:
- Cosmetic changes affecting the UI part only
- A back-end redesign, which allows you to enhance the functionality of a website without changing its look
- A complete website overhaul, which may involve the migration to a new CMS, incorporation of new modules and extensions, and UI redesign
What approach should your company take?
It really depends on your current KPIs, goals, growth strategy and budget. Suppose you run a WooCommerce website. It's one thing to customize its outdated flat design theme; it's another to add a product recommendation engine to it. Even the smallest changes to your website's functionality may bring up tons of changes to the UI, and vice versa.
Obviously, more coding means higher website redesign costs. How much does it cost to revamp a business website, then? (These estimates are based on a median developer hourly rate of $30 to $35; your cost may vary.)
- The customization of a WordPress, Drupal or Magento theme usually takes two weeks and costs between $3,000 and $3,500.
- The development of a custom design theme involves sketching, wireframing and requirements elicitation, so be prepared to wait for four to five weeks and spend up to $7,000.
- Migrating to a new CMS equals building a website from scratch. Its cost depends on several factors, including your choice of CMS, complexity of your website's business logic and data transfer. If you opt for WordPress, an average business website will cost you $9,000 to $10,500. With Drupal, the price ranges from $12,600 to $15,000.
- Integration with third-party modules and extensions usually takes two days and adds $300 to $400 per module.
As a forward thinker, you should be able to imagine your company five years down the line and provide the basis for future changes. Let's take WordPress, the CMS that powers 29.4 percent of all websites and offers over 40,000 plugins and design themes. If you choose to swap your dated Adobe Catalyst site for a stylish WordPress store, you can add 1,000 pages to your catalog and never worry about the website's scalability and performance.
3. Test and launch.
OK, you decided to redesign your website and handled the process like a pro. Next step? Set a realistic launch date that leaves plenty of time for quality assurance. There are several things to consider at this stage:
- Does the website look like the early mockups you created or approved?
- Does it function the way you expected?
- Can you quickly restore the data in case anything goes wrong?
- Do the old pages redirect to new ones?
Now comes the most exciting part – launching your website and seeing what users think about it. For this purpose, you can create an online survey and ask loyal customers to evaluate the new website. Also, you should keep an eye on your Google Analytics data to ensure you meet your KPIs.
Sometimes website redesign yields results immediately; in some cases, it takes months to achieve solid growth. Either way, most businesses redesign their websites every 2.66 years – which brings us back to making smart long-term decisions regarding your growth strategy. Provided you choose the right technology stack and create a website with scalability in mind, those changes will be merely nominal.