Complete the redesign of your website – Complete Guide
Do you want to redesign your website? Are you looking for methodological advice to structure your project? This article has been designed for you.
In this comprehensive guide, we will see how to structure your project step by step, from the formulation of objectives to the recruitment of the web agency.
Before you begin, why do you want to redesign your website? [Set goals]
If you have this idea in mind, it is that you have identified specific things on your site that did not satisfy you or that did not work: an appearance that needs a serious facelift, a fairly limited technology, content that need to be reorganized, etc. We do not embark on a redesign project for fun. This is a fairly time-consuming and rather expensive project. Before recruiting a web agency, you must make sure you have taken into consideration all the elements you need. This is the purpose of this guide.
If there are many reasons to redesign your website, there are also some bad ones …
“It’s just that I do not like our website anymore …” & other bad reasons
One of the main reasons put forward by companies that want to redesign their website is a simple one: “I do not like the site anymore as it has”. Designers and developers are people whose job is to solve concrete problems. It’s not just telling you that you no longer like your current site that you’re going to refer them.
Especially, what counts is less what you think of your website than what your customers think.
Another (bad) reason invoked: “It is not to be overtaken by our competitors”. Your analytics tools (Google Analytics) should be the only judge of the effectiveness of your website. If you embark on a redesign project only because one of your competitors has just started cutting back the facade of its website, your only goal is to save appearances and not improve your conversion rates or put update your technology. You will never be objective, lucid and strategic thinking about your own website if you are in a purely reactionary attitude towards a competitor.
It must also be remembered that any significant change to a website does not necessarily require a complete overhaul. Adding a new feature like a blog or member area is not something that requires a redesign of the site, clearly. You can also change technology, change CMS (for example from Joomla to WordPress) without having to go through the process of redesign that we will present. You have to be aware that a redesign project takes at least two or three months.
Why redesign your website? [The good reasons]
There are several good reasons to redesign your website. Here are three of the main ones:
- Your current site does not deliver value to your visitors.
- Your website is not showing on mobile devices, is not responsive.
- Your site is not up to date, it is old fashioned.
- Another good reason: you have a new strategy and new business goals that involve functional pre-requisites and specific goals for your website.
Whatever the reason, there are three things you need to evaluate at the beginning:
- The number of leads you are generating now.
- Feedback from users of your current site.
- Security risks related to your current technology.
Your redesign will be user-centric or will not be
It’s sometimes difficult to hear, but your opinion about redesigning your website is actually quite small. Your website must be designed and designed for your users, based on their habits, their preferences, their course … If you succeed in really putting yourself in the minds of your users, you will see that your redesign project will go much faster.
Now that you know what state of mind you need to have, it’s time to contact web agencies, right? Well, not so fast. There is a lot of work to be done to prepare the project and to describe it will occupy a good part of this guide. Before contacting a web agency, you have 4 main steps to go:
- Define your budget and your schedule.
- Evaluate your technological need and access requirements.
- Align all stakeholders and build a project team.
- Collect and analyze key data from your website.
Let’s detail each of these steps now.
Step # 1 – Set your budget and schedule
You can not go to a restaurant with 2 euros in your pocket … You have to have an honest and realistic conversation internally about what you expect from the redesign and how much you are willing to invest. The worst thing you could do would be to recruit a webdesign agency with luxury tastes but a small budget. Websites cost money and time, but that does not necessarily deter you from investing. Your website is the only business in your business that works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: it sells your products, answers questions and makes contacts even when you sleep.
The more you invest in your site, the more value you can derive from it. It is not absurd to really invest in your website. The objective, at this stage, is to find the right balance points between your objectives, to agree on the resources (monetary and human) that you are ready to devote to the redesign of the site.
How much does a real website overhaul cost?
This is the key question. If you do not have the budget to make a redesign of your website, you run into serious disappointments. But, as you surely know, the answer to this question depends on each company, each project. Nevertheless, here are the main factors to consider when estimating the necessary budget for redesigning your website:
Why do you want to redesign your website? What do you expect from the project? There are several possible answers: a simple graphic redesign, a new platform or a new technology, a new content organization, the implementation of a brand new SEO strategy. The answer you will make will affect the necessary budget.
How much of your current website will be reused on the new site? How many new content will you create?
What are your expectations vis-à-vis the web agency in terms of support and customer relations? If you have a budget between 800 and 5000 euros, the communication between you and the agency will probably be minimal, as well as the involvement of the agency in your project. If you choose a high-end agency, you will pay more but you can expect to have a dedicated account manager and constantly involved in your project.
You must also take into account the forecast ROI of the redesign, it is very important. Also, make sure you save space in your budget to deal with any unforeseen events.
How long to complete a redesign project?
If you contact an agency in October and want your new website ready by the end of the year, your expectations are not realistic. It takes on average one month between the first exchange with the web agency and the signing of the agreement. This period can be extended if you need to approve the budget or if one of the project stakeholders is not available. During this time, you must be honest and open with the agency person regarding your situation. A good agency will take the time to understand your business, your goals, your competitors and how it can help you.
The duration of the project also depends a lot on your company, your teams, their involvement, their availability. You will have to organize internal meetings, analyze the site, make feedbacks, spend time creating new content (or managing the relationship with the editors).
At a minimum, you must plan to spend two to three hours each week. The more complex your redesign, the more complicated the logistics, the more time you will need to spend there.
Step # 2 – Have control over your technology
Your web host is the company that provides hosting to the files on your website. Your domain name is the address of your website. It is acquired from a domain name service (registrar). No matter which agency you choose, it will need to be able to point the domain name to where your files are hosted when your new site is ready to launch.
In many cases, the web host and the hosting service of the domain name are two separate companies. For example, you can very well with purchased a domain name on GoDaddy but host your files on WP Engine. It is important to be well aware of these things. Before recruiting a web agency, do some research to be clear on the technologies and services used to manage your website.
If you internally have an IT team that knows how to edit things like CNAME and MX records (if your IT asks you what it is, it’s not a good thing), you do not have to send this information to agency because you can manage the launch of the site internally. But if you do not have these skills internally, you will need to share your access to the agency.
Step # 3 – Constitute the team and align the actors of the project
Once you have set your needs, your expectations, your budget, your schedule and identified your technological constraints, it’s time to make sure your team is in perfect alignment.
The alignment process consists of two distinct steps:
- First you need to identify a project manager.
- Then you have to build the team.
Identify the project manager
You must first designate a project leader – someone who is responsible for leading the project, making key decisions, and coordinating internal and external stakeholders. It may be the CEO of the company or the Marketing Director, for example. It is best to avoid appointing more than one person for this role, to avoid slowing decision-making.
It is good to have several people involved in the project (we will talk about it in a moment), but having several people at the top of the decision-making chain will only delay the project and increase the risk of conflict. internal.
Constitute the project team
You will have to form a team. Ideally, it is advisable to form a transdisciplinary and trans-function team, involving various profiles, and not exceeding 5 or 7 people. People must be volunteers, contribute to the process by participating in the kick-off meeting and giving feedback on the main milestones of the project – at a minimum! To get the best feedback, it is good to gather profiles with different backgrounds and opinions.
Here are some examples of profiles that can be integrated into a redesign project for a website:
- Employees in direct contact with customers: field sales staff, customer service members. It’s often the people who know best what the prospects and customers of the company want. They are also the ones who, in many cases, will know how to answer the questions of the web agency.
- A member of the marketing team. It is she who makes live the current website, who knows it best, it makes sense to include one of its members in the project (but choose it well!).
- An executive manager: CEO, COO … He does not have to participate in all the stages of the project, but it is very advisable to integrate a manager at certain key moments of the mission to make sure that the new site is well in line with the objectives and vision of the company. Especially if the redesign of the website is part of a project more general turn of the company or the website is the key revenue channel.
- Experts. If your site puts forward a range of products and or complex services, it is advisable to integrate one or more people knowing at your fingertips your offer. This is particularly the case if you plan to write or write content.
- Long-time employees of your company They know the company’s history, values and story-telling by heart. Because they know very well where she comes from, they also know where she is going.
You do not have to have finalized team building before contacting a web agency, but you still need to have some idea of the types of people to integrate.
Identify an IT point of contact
Finally, it is important to select a point of contact in your company that will act as the contact point for the agency for all technical topics. Which point of contact?
It depends on the organization of your business. If you are a startup of 5 people outsourcing IT, it will not be the same as if you are a large company with an IT department with dozens of employees.
Choose a person ready and available to answer the technical questions of the agency. This person should be prepared to deal with any urgent issues that need to be addressed and be very available during the launch phase of the new website.
Step # 4 – Gather customer data from your current website
Once you have your team in place, the last piece of the puzzle is to gather the main data relating to your website. If you decide to contact an agency, you have made a number of assumptions. You think for example that your website is bad because of its design, its technology, its content … By collecting data on your site upstream of the redesign, their analysis will allow you to validate your assumptions or otherwise highlight some contradictions. It is for this reason that analyzing your web data is so important.
It would be stupid to initiate a long and costly redesign project to realize in the end that you have solved the wrong problem. Your users may not have the same perception of what is wrong with your website. What shocks you on your site may not be of concern to your users. Companies often take great pride in the design of their website before realizing that the home page generates an abnormally high bounce rate.
You must be listening to your site’s data. When you contact web agencies, you will probably be asked questions about the current performance of your site, such as:
- How many pages are there on your site?
- What is the traffic of your site: unique visitors, sessions, page views …?
- What is the bounce rate on your homepage?
- Does Google index all pages of the site?
- Is your site well referenced on key queries?
- Are there any broken links on your site?
… / …
How to get answers to these kinds of questions? There are several possible ways. But we will in two introduce you three free tools very practical to understand the performances of your site and the behavior of your visitors. To use these tools, all you have to do is install a tracking code (or a plugin if you use WordPress) to collect data from your site.
Hotjar is a heat-mapping tool that allows you to see where your visitors are clicking on the page, how far they scroll each page, which parts of the page they are looking at the most. It is even possible to track the mouse movements of your visitors on your pages! You can use this information about how people respond to your site’s design to better understand the shopping journey of your visitors and identify areas for improvement for the new site. Free, Hotjar makes it easy to visualize how your visitors use your website.
Chances are you already have Google Analytics on your website. Otherwise, you absolutely must do it. Just because most web agencies need to understand the activity on your site in the last 30 days Google Analytics is free and easy to install. It lets you know how many people visit each page, what is the overall traffic on your website, how visitors behave on your site, which pages the bounce rate is the most important, and so on. GA is a gold mine.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another free and useful tool to use to identify broken links and analyze the position of your pages in Google’s search results. Because manually repairing broken links can take a long time, it’s useful to use Search Console to find out how many broken links you have and allow the agency to estimate the time needed to repair them.
That’s it, this article is coming to an end. We described the main steps to follow before contacting several agencies. We will not dwell on the problem of choosing the agency. These are topics we have already talked about a lot about La Fabrique du Net. We invite you to browse them.
A website redesign project requires a lot of work and therefore a lot of thinking upstream. Take the time to analyze your need and goals so you do not get into an adventure you’d regret.
Preparing your redesign project before contacting the agency saves a considerable amount of time, helps to clarify the issues and identify the main milestones of the project. It is, more generally, a factor of success of the project. The choice of the web agency is a key question. You must take the time to contact several agencies, analyze the quotes, ask questions, ask for reference examples, etc. All these tips are detailed in the articles linked above. We hope that this article has allowed you to see more clearly and will help you in the preparation of your redesign project!