Preparing for a website redesign is no mean feat. It’s a huge undertaking that should be given time and thought and is most certainly not something you want to be rushing into.
I go through a thorough process with my web design clients that involves a number of steps which I will outline and go into below.
Step 1 – Review Your Current Website
First you need to ask yourself why you want to redesign your website. Is it that you don’t like the look? Is it outdated? Is it not user friendly? Perhaps it’s not delivering in terms of enquiries. Maybe it’s all of the above. Once you have determined WHY you want to redesign your website it’s time to move onto the WHAT.
So you know why you want to redesign but now WHAT can we do to improve upon this. Perhaps you are not happy with the photography on your current site. In that case, you may need to hire a photographer to provide you with a fresh portfolio of images for you to use that will match your new branding. Photography can really make or break a website so be sure to take the time to invest in good images.
Another common reason for redesigning a website is that the experience of using the site is not user friendly. In that case, you’ll need to sit down and work out your ideal user experience based on your website audience which we will go into in the next step.
Take Action: Spend time going through your current website and write down what you do and don’t like about it. There may be things you want to keep and there will be things you want to change. If possible ask a family member or friend to do the same thing as a fresh pair of eyes is always helpful.
Step 2 – Consider Your Audience
If you are redesigning your website then it’s likely that you will have a good idea of who your audience is. If not, then it’s time to complete your ideal client profile.
For example, my audience consists of small businesses in the wedding and lifestyle industries who are looking for assistance with branding and marketing their brand. With this in mind, as you will see from the image below I have created a very clear homepage which outlines what I do and how I can help.
Straight away visitors to my website will know who I serve and how I can work with them. It also gives an opportunity for businesses who are not quite ready to invest in branding and/or marketing to get help with their business via free resources such as blog posts, e-courses and downloads.
Take Action: If you haven’t already, put together your ideal client profile. Your ideal client profile should carefully detail the demographics and psychographics of your audience. Demographics cover their gender, their age, their income, their marital status, their location, their occupation and their education level. Psychographics covers aspirations and goals, interests, hobbies and activities, personality and values. Once you have outlined these, it’s time to put together your ideal client persona which is a more detailed description of who your ideal client is and you can also give them a name and include a photo.
Step 3 – Write Out Your Website Content
Your website messaging is so important when it comes to connecting with your ideal audience. Your website content should drive the design of your website and not the other way round. This is why I always ask my web design clients for their website copy before starting a project.
Your website content defines the overall user experience of a website. There’s no point me trying to design a website that you then need to fit the content into. This will not provide a good user experience.
If you are interested in reading more about this, check out my blog post ‘Why Website Content is More Important Than Looks’.
Take Action: Spend a considerable amount of time thinking about your website copy. It may be that you wish to hire a copywriter for this stage. If you are unsure on what to include, download my ‘Website Content Checklist’ to help.
Step 4 – Collate Your Images
Good imagery is essential when it comes to building a website. As mentioned above, photos can make or break a design and ensuring you have imagery that speaks to your ideal audience is so important as this is what website visitors will see first before reading any copy. Collate your images and think about what images you would like seen on which page.
Take action: Review your current images and decide on whether you need to hire a photographer to take photos for your new website. If you are a wedding planner looking to target a specific type of client then you may want to put together a style photo shoot. If you are a business coach then you might hire a personal branding photographer to take new headshots.
I hope this article has been useful when it comes to thinking about your website redesign. It’s definitely an intensive process and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.