Redesigning a website is no small job and it takes a lot of preparation and detailed work to ensure it looks great and performs well on search engines. If this is something you are currently considering, below we cover what to think about when redesigning a website.
The preparation stage is a fundamentally important step that will determine everything that comes later. From understanding why you are redesigning (new leads/rebranding etc.) and getting direct feedback from users (Google Analytics can help with this), to carrying out competitor analysis and conducting a thorough audit of your existing site, good preparation will lay the ground for a much better design.
Carrying out a website redesign
The research and preparation will allow you to put together a plan of what needs to happen next. This includes the full scale of the job, a schedule and list of deliverables and a timeline you can work to. You then have a framework for the active work that will take place and something to measure it against.
You’ll have a list of the pages you want, the structure of the sitemap, the different types of pages you want to include (like redesigning your service pages, area pages and articles/blog pages).
Back up the website
Make sure you back up the website, even though you’ll initially be working on a subdomain or staging server. This ensures all your current data is safely protected and it cannot get lost when it’s time to transfer it across. Make sure at this point your hosting service has everything you need – read through our section on website hosting here for more insights.
Set up the wireframe pages
The wireframe pages will lay out a framework for the design and content that will follow. If you have the original wireframe these can be repurposed and is much quicker than starting from scratch.
Don’t forget to think through the content you want to include so it is focused to achieve your goals. For example a full SEO setup includes writing targeted content for each page, contact us if you would be interested in finding out more.
Redesigning a website can be made a lot easier using a page builder like Elementor where you can visually layout your designs, find out more here.
Once the prototypes for the design are in place, the entire site will need to go through an in-depth QA review. If you are doing that part too, take a good break from the site so you have a clear head during this part of the assessment. Once you think everything is in order, the site can be sent across to the client for them to review. There may be some changes that need to be made, depending on the feedback and the client’s assessment of the design.
Once the project has been signed off the staged site can now be transferred over to go live. Run through a pre-launch checklist to ensure everything is in place, and then it can go online for customers to use.
Monitor the site
Once live you should keep an eye on the site to ensure everything is running smoothly. Monitor the performance levels on Google Analytics to ensure it is generating the results the redesign was supposed to achieve. If not, you may need to make additional tweaks to improve results.
More advanced developers will also be looking out for 404 and 401 errors. These errors occur when pages or URIs from your website get lost, search engines like Google have indexed them or another website links to that URL but you don’t have a page or resource there anymore. Simple plugins like Broken Link Checker can help or you can use a more sophisticated monitoring application like Ryte.
Redesigning a website?
If you are looking at redesigning a website then have a look through our Useful Tools section. It has great links to everything from hosting your website to how to build it and what tools to use. Click here.