Are you thinking about a website redesign? Make sure you follow these do's and don'ts to ensure that your project goes smoothly from day one.

Website Redesign Tips: What To Do...And What Not To Do

Do: redesign your website in order to improve website performance.

Is your website currently underperforming? Do you need to increase the number of leads you receive? Is your conversion rate lower than you'd like it to be?

Or perhaps your business is expanding, and your online marketing needs to evolve. Have you entered new markets, and now you need to rethink how your website addresses prospects on a national or international level? Have you launched new products or services, and they're not getting the visibility you would like online?

A website redesign affords the perfect opportunity to evaluate your online marketing and outline an action plan.

Start with a thorough website assessment. Through an assessment, you can:

  • Define online marketing goals,
  • Analyze the gaps between your business goals and current state, and
  • Determine how to align your website and its content and its functionality with business goals.

A quick business analysis can tell you if your website needs to generate more leads, get more traffic, or if there's a disconnect in the sales process.

Don't: redesign your website for the sake of a redesign.

Data tells us that artwork and appearance matters more to marketers than to your customer.

Website aesthetics do play a role in how your company will be perceived. A good-looking website can be an asset, conveying your levels of professionalism, trustworthiness and expertise.

Your website could look outdated and could use a fresh design. However, aesthetics are not the end-all, be-all of a website redesign. A new look may have some impact, but it will not be the sole factor in determining the success or failure of your online marketing efforts.

Do integrate aesthetic enhancements into your redesign process. But, remember: don't lose sight of your bigger goals!

Do: extensive research.

When you embark on a redesign, you want to do your homework first. In order to make informed decisions, you need to have data to back you up.

Plus, you'll want to have clear benchmarks that you can use later, to gauge the performance of your new website.

Look at your website analytics, sales figures and other research, and make sure you know the answers to questions like:

  • How many monthly website visits do you currently get?
  • Where do website visits originate from? Social media? Organic search? Pay-per-click campaigns? Email campaigns?
  • What percentage of visitors turn into leads?
  • What percentage of leads turn into customers?
  • What is the lifetime value of a customer?

Don't: obsess over vanity metrics or other minutia.

It's easy to zero in vanity metrics like website visits, which don't paint the full picture of your website's performance or where there's room to improve. Take stock of this information, but make sure that you also relate these numbers to bigger, more meaningful data.

Also, be sure to look at trends that emerge over time. If you notice slight dips in traffic during weekends or holidays, don't panic. For most industries, this is normal as folks are often unplugged and away during these times. The real problem is when your traffic continues to drop, week after week, month after month.

Do: have a budget in mind.

You have a business to run, and you need to make sure that you're operating efficiently. Before you start a website redesign, it's critical that you have a budget in place. A budget can help you define a realistic scope and timeline for the redesign.

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Your budget is helpful, too, when it comes to prioritizing online marketing tasks. Your long-range goal may be to launch a full inbound marketing strategy, but you don't have the funds to do everything you want up front. Your first step may be creating a new website. That way, you'll have a solid foundation in place for your full marketing plan. Then, in a year, you can pursue the full inbound marketing plan when you have the funds.

Don't: be unrealistic about the cost of a website.

The cost of a website will certainly vary, depending on the size of the site, functionality and other requirements (e.g., do you need to account for fees for buying a domain and hosting?). And, different online marketing firms charge different rates.

But while you want to be a careful and budget-conscious shopper, you don't want to fall for pricing claims that are simply too good to be true. That designer who's offering up a cutting-edge website for only $2,000 on Craigslist is most likely a designer you need to avoid. Maybe they do create sharp designs...but will they bring the strategic thinking you need? Will they bring lead-generation know-how to the table? Do they understand how your bottom-line business revenue relates to website performance?

A website is an investment, and needs to be treated as such. The adage "you get what you pay for" rings true.

Some survey data from HubSpot suggests that the median cost of a website redesign is $10,000 to $13,000, depending on whether the redesign is managed in-house or by a marketing agency. The point, though, is that cost can vary, and you're likely to get quotes from agencies that very widely as well. Know what you're getting before you make a decision.

Do: get feedback from key stakeholders.

A website redesign will likely involve many people within your organization, from Sales to Marketing to Customer Service to IT to Management.

Involve key staff members or stakeholders in the redesign process. They bring key insights and feedback to the table that you might not otherwise discover or think of.

And, as the project progresses, keeping everyone "in the loop" helps maintain transparency.

Plus, if all team members feel like they are involved and valued, that can help foster goodwill and buy-in, making for a smooth transition to a new website.

Don't: let too many cooks in the kitchen.

Getting too many people involved can delay or derail a website redesign significantly. Don't let your website turn into a "design by committee" project.

If a large number of people will be involved, make sure a main project manager/point of contact is defined. This will help streamline communications among your team, as well as communications with your online marketing firm.

You may also want to designate one person to "make the call" on crucial decisions when there's dissent within your project team.

Do: get involved.

When you're working on your new website, get excited! Dive in, and take an active role in the redesign. Your expertise and passion, combined with the expertise and passion of your online marketing company, creates an awesome dynamic and, ultimately, a better end product.

Your enthusiasm and commitment will also help keep your project on task, on time and on budget. When you "flake out" on your website, you're only doing harm to yourself and your business.

Don't: micromanage the project.

An engaged client must strike a delicate balance between being involved and being too involved. You hired your online marketing partner for a reason. Obviously, you value and trust their expertise.

They should welcome your input; however, you should also question when you really need to give them input. Have a little faith, and let the firm do their job. After all, would you want them telling you how to do your job?

How much should your company pay for a new website? Click to read.