Website redesigns are what those of us growing up speaking the King's English might call a tricky business. "Complicated," "intensive," and "profitable" are all words that come to mind.
The website redesign process is a great digital juggle based heavily on cooperation between the designer and client, and there are lots of moving parts.
If you're like me, you hate surprises. You live for agendas, blueprints, and step-by-step guides. If you're wondering what to anticipate with a website redesign, I wrote this article specifically for you.
Media Junction has designed hundreds of websites since the late 1990s, winning numerous HubSpot awards by staying one step ahead of the digital curve.
In this article, I'll walk you through the basic building block principles of a website redesign:
- Post Launch
A website redesign can breathe new life into your online presence, enhancing user experience, improving functionality, and boosting your brand's online visibility.
Phase 1: Strategy
If stick with the analogy that building a website is like building a house, then this is the blueprint phase.
The first step in every website redesign process is to develop a game plan — strategize. Strategy kicks off with a deep dive into your business needs and goals, as well as current and historical website analytics. This typically entails providing access of your analytical tools to your website developer:
We use the data we collect to create sitemaps and wireframes, giving structure to the tools we're building.
The idea is to know what your users have done in the past and how they travel through the site.
Phase 2: Content
Content is the narrative framework of your website. It involves website copy, images, videos, icons, and marketing automation tool like forms. In short, it's a big lift.
If the content is not delivered on time, it can derail the entire website timeline.
But most websites don't need to be rewritten from scratch; often, the best approach is to work with and build on the content you have.
That said, there's no hands-off approach to content — whether you start from a blank page or bring over your current copy with minor updates, be sure to account for the significant amount of time and effort required as well as which subject matter experts should be a part of the creation process.
Phase 3: Design
Design is similar to choosing kitchen and bathroom features in your home — the backsplash, faucets, and other elements that define the aesthetic and feel of the place.
The layout and structure of the house come from strategy and content: what your customers are looking for and how you want to present it to them to accomplish your own goals.
Design makes sure that visitors have a comfortable, cohesive experience that looks and feel like your brand and reduces any friction that could prevent them from working with you.
This is where you begin to visualize and actualize your vision and user experience. Your web design company walks you through a mood board (think Pinterest) where you're presented with a collage of different ideas.
In other words, what do you like? What do you not like? It's imperative to cement your preferences with your designer. Don't be afraid to speak your mind, even on small things. If you hate rounded corners, say so!
Your designer will build out page designs based on this input, and then you'll review design mockups and give feedback.
Once you've decided on the look and feel of the website and approved your designs, it's time for the development stage — which, luckily, requires little time or energy from your company.
Phase 4: Development
Development is when the floors go down and the drywall goes up: the construction crew is hard at work.
Once we have design approval, your website moves into the development phase.
This is when the developers disappear into their coding caves and don't come back out until they've coded the building blocks of your website.
This stage usually takes place while you're getting your content together, so you'll be focused on gathering the text, images, icons, links, and forms that make up a website.
But while you do that, the developers will be knee-deep in lines of code to translate the strategy and design work we've done together into a functional framework for a website.
Phase 5: Implementation
The implementation phase is where the rubber hits the road during a website redesign. We move in the furniture, stock the kitchen, and add the houseplants to make things feel like home.
More literally, implementation is when we create individual pages, add the modules the developers have been working on, and actually place your content on the pages.
At this stage, we're focused on solving for both your team and the end user. Marketers should be able to easily add and edit pages and modules, and visitors should easily find the information they're looking for.
Once we've built out and "staged" your pages, you get to review and approve interactive versions. We'll make any final updates and fix any bugs, and you have a final chance to make any content updates before the site is launched.
Phase 6: Launch
Congratulations, it’s move-in day! Well, almost — first, our team will go through a quality-assurance process to check for any missing of broken elements.
Before we cut the ribbon, we'll work with you to access and update your DNS records so we can launch your website at your company domain and make sure it's easy for everyone (including Google) to find.
Phase 7: Post Launch
You know what it’s like to move into a new place; you're excited to invite your friends and you're planning all of the dinner parties and game nights you want to host. But just like with a real home, you need to settle in.
Your website is a marketing and sales machine optimized for SEO and customer conversions, but you still need a post-launch game plan.
Websites are living, breathing, forever-evolving organisms. The question is, what are you planning to do to keep your website moving forward?
Questions to help shape your post-launch plan:
- Were there any pages or sections you wanted to launch with the new site, but didn't have time or budget for?
- Are there new gated content offers you could create to make the most of the traffic coming to the new site?
- What are your blogging and social media strategies, and how do they tie back to your site pages and business goals?
- Are there email campaigns you need to create?
Post-launch is when the magic happens, and that's why we offer content training services to help clients develop content-driven inbound marketing strategies.
In short, even though a website redesign is an "outsourced project," you should be heavily involved from day one.
Do You Need a Website Redesign?
In this article, you learned what to expect during a website redesign from the initial strategy through post-launch.
Media Junction has been designing websites for over 25 years, and we're here to help you with your next website redesign.
MJ builds websites, trains marketing teams, and offers a vast array of other services, including website redesign.
If you'd like to learn more about website redesigns, check out these articles:
- 7 Signs You Need a Website Redesign ASAP
- How Much Does a Website Redesign Cost in 2022
- Website Redesign VS Migration: Which is Right for Your Business?
Or if you're ready to lookin into a website redesign, schedule a consultation today!