Guide to Website Redesign: How to Redesign an Existing Website
Website redesign can boost your conversion rates and sales when done correctly. Read this extensive guide and learn what it takes to conduct an effective website redesign process.
Before we dive deep into a website redesign, let's begin with a story about Singapore. In recent years, Singapore has been on a mission to redesign its city and make it both sustainable and livable. New city developments included green roofs, cascading vertical gardens, and verdant walls. The city is now a merger of both culture and modernity, old and new.
And as a result of its redevelopments, it has been attracting millions of visitors every year. In 2018, the Singapore Tourist Board reported approximately 18.5 million visitors.
Singapore is an example of a good redesign plan.
And apart from physical cities, websites also need a good redesign from time to time. Why? Because a great redesign can attract more visitors, convert more visitors into paying customers and make your business more competitive.
A website redesign can be the best thing you have invested in, or it can be a disaster. To avoid being faced with a negative scenario, we've put together this comprehensive guide that will walk you through every step of the process and answer all the most essential questions about a website redesign.
How Much Does a Website Redesign Cost?
There's not a pre-set price range for how much website redesign is going to cost you. The price depends on a number of factors, including:
- The scope of the project. Will you be making small changes or a complete redesign?
- The company you'll be working with. Different website design companies have different rates.
- Your budget. If you have a specific budget for the project, then that budget will be how much the project will cost you.
Our pricing starts at $1,010 for small websites with up to 20 pages if your site is already hosted at our platform. The price for medium websites with up to 40 pages is $1,410. For a larger website, you have to request a custom quote.
It's also possible for us to migrate your site from your current CMS to our platform. The price for migrating your site to our platform, plus website redesign services, is $1,360 for small websites with up to 20 pages. The price for medium websites is $1,820, with up to 40 pages. For larger websites, you have to request a custom quote.
Why Do Websites Redesign?
A person judges other people by interacting with them. When you're interacting with a person, you get a feeling of their character, their positive and negative sides. That interaction determines whether you'll create a relationship with a person.
Similarly, your visitors are judging your business by interacting with your website:
- Is everything nicely structured?
- Can they find their way around the site?
- Is the content relevant?
- Do they find the images appealing to the eye?
- Are there any website errors that prevent them from freely navigating the site?
A wise man once said: “Websites promote you 24/7: No employee will do that.”
A website is a window to your business. It conveys the story of your brand, informs visitors what's unique about your service or product, and convinces them to become customers.
If you have an older website that you haven't updated in more than 4-5 years, it's probably time to invest in website redesign services. Because failing to do so might result in a drop in traffic and revenue.
Here are statistics to consider:
- Around 89% of businesses compete primarily on customer experience.
- 46% of users don't revisit a low-performing website.
- Website owners have 5 seconds to engage users before they start thinking about leaving the site.
- 74% of users say they will leave after waiting for 5 seconds for a mobile site to load.
- 79% of web users visit online retailers that deliver high-performance and user-friendly experiences.
- 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad shopping experience.
In a nutshell, a nicely designed website will help you attract the right kinds of visitors, guide them to your main services or product, and convert them to paying customers. In addition, it will help you develop an ongoing relationship with your customers.
How Often Should You Redesign Your Website?
In general, a good rule of thumb is to invest in a website redesign every 2-3 years. The number also depends on your industry. If you're in a highly competitive industry that's constantly changing and advancing, then you may want to redesign your site every 1-2 years. Some industries, like the finance and construction industry, tend to change their website design every 3-5 years.
Largely, how often you will redesign your site will depend on your preferences and the state of your business.
Have you recently redesigned your site but believe it would be profitable to make some other changes? Then you can make those changes regardless if it's been 6 months or less since you last redesigned your site.
Starting Your Website Redesign Project
Redesigning a website is a complex process that requires a well-thought-of strategy. There are several things you'll want to cover:
Establish Your Goals
Every business has a reason why it will be undergoing a website redesign. Some businesses do it to offer visitors improved navigation, while others are doing it to be more aligned with their brand.
Are your goals to:
- Lower your bounce rate?
- Add more informative pages?
- Improve your on-site SEO?
- Improve the way visitors navigate your site?
- Make the site more visually appealing?
Determine Who Your Visitors Are
You don't need psychic abilities. Google Analytics can easily tell you who visits your site. You'll find detailed information about where your visitors come from, their age, from what device they're accessing your site, and more.
Knowing who your visitors are will help you give them what they want. For example, if your visitors are young people who are following a vegan diet, your website will have to give them the services they're looking for. Your target personas are also crucial when writing your website content.
Set a Budget
Having a predetermined budget will prevent you from going overboard with costs. Especially if your budget is limited, you'll be careful with your spending. You can focus on building the core functionalities of your site, and then scale up as your business grows.
Determine the Project Scope
Determining the project scope will help you avoid a lot of difficulties and frustrations along the way. Before starting your website redesign process, here are a few things to decide:
- How many pages will your site have? Apart from your most critical pages such as the homepage, about us page, and contact page, keep in mind that you'll have to create web pages for each one of your products or services. Consider adding a blog page where you'll publish content that's relevant to your readers.
- What functionalities do you want to add to your site? Your site can have multiple payment options, password-protected membership areas, reporting tools, and other integrations.
Research Other Websites You Like
Do you have specific websites that you have visited and liked their design? Don't be scared to use other companies' website design as an inspiration for how you want your website to look. These websites don't have to be your direct competition. It can be any website that you like the feel and look of.
Decide When You Want to Launch Your Website
Release dates are important as they can tell the team working on your project how fast they'll have to move to complete the project on time. Sometimes, if your launch date is only a few weeks away, but you want to build several functionalities, the website company might instruct you to scale down and build only the primary features.
Choose a Company to Work With
There are many eCommerce content management systems for designing visually pleasing websites. Apart from Shopify and Magento, Exai is another content management system (CMS) that's most suitable for small businesses.
Whether you’re an artist who needs a portfolio for their artwork, or a bakery that wants to communicate its delicacy, Exai has got your back!
Our CMS is ideal for people who don't have vast technical knowledge. Our software development team will do everything for you, as you have envisioned it.
If you already have a website that's hosted on another CMS like WordPress or Joomla, we can easily migrate your site to our platform.
Overall, the company you'll choose to work with depends on your budget and preferences. Make sure you choose one that has positive online reviews from business owners like yourself.
Website Redesign Steps
The Content Phase
Redesigning a site doesn't mean that you have to delete all of your old content and start from scratch. First, you have to analyze your older content and see what needs to be saved and what can go to the trash can.
The first step is to create a sitemap of your old website. You can use a tool like Google Sheets so that you have a clear view of every page on the site and corresponding URLs.
The second step is to go to Google Analytics and see what your visitors are doing on your site. Are there any pages that get more traffic than others? What are your most visited pages? Your site's analytics can tell you a great deal of what's good and what's wrong with your site.
For example, by analyzing a few of your least performing pages, you can determine what's driving visitors away. With this data in mind, you can work towards designing a more refined website that will attract and retain visitors.
Getting data about your old website can serve as a baseline or benchmark to compare to after launch.
The third step involves creating a new sitemap for your site. See which pages from your older site can be reused and how many new pages you'll need to create. There are many tools you can use to create a sitemap of your site, such as SlickPlan, Write Maps, and PowerMapper.
The fourth step involves taking the useful content from your old website and transferring it into separate Google docs. For example, the content from your Home page goes to one document, while the content from your About Us page goes to another.
This is the step where you create the new content for your site. If you have new pages that need content and are planning on having an active blog, then you should hire a content writer.
Apart from written content, your new website will also need visual content. Humans are visual creatures and can be engaged by an image that conveys a message. Attention-catching images can reduce your bounce rate and increase your time on page.
You can save any images you have from your old site in Google Drive and share them with the website company. Anything that's high-quality can be reused for your new site, and if needed, new images can be purchased or produced. You can either use copyright-free images, buy images, or have a graphic designer create eye-catching visuals.
The Importance of SEO in Website Redesign
It's also useful to mention the importance of creating content with SEO in mind. Apart from customers, there are other things that are visiting your site. They're called website crawlers, and they look for key bits of information that tell Google the value of your site. These crawlers analyze your site's keyword optimization, structure and organization, and site errors. In a nutshell, they can rank your site on the first page of Google, or they can destroy your business.
For example, if a bot crawls your website and finds poorly done redirects, duplicate pages, and error pages, your SEO ranking will significantly decrease. If your competitor has a site with unique content, nicely designed pages, and no errors, then your competitor will rank higher on Google than you. Driving traffic to your website it’s the lifeline for your business, so making sure everything is rightly optimized is a must.
Before moving on with redesigning your site, you should conduct a website audit. A website audit is an examination of your site's overall performance.
A detailed website audit will help you understand:
- if your site is generating enough traffic;
- which pages perform the best;
- which pages get the least traffic and have the highest bounce rate;
- what technical issues exist;
- what's preventing visitors from converting to paying customers;
- what keywords you're ranking for;
A good tip is to keep the pages that are ranking well. For example, if some of your blog posts get plenty of traffic, make sure you keep those pages for your new website and don't make drastic changes to the content.
To check which keywords you're ranking for, you can use a tool like SemRush or Ahrefs. Using these tools and help from SEO experts, work towards on-site optimization. This includes proactively optimizing each page on your site for the specific elements that help with relevance, including URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, body copy, alt text, etc.
Moreover, keep an inventory of your current URL structure. You want to keep your old URLs for the pages that rank well on Google. Use a 301 redirect for the pages that will be getting new URLs. You want to avoid serving your visitors 404 errors as they can negatively hurt your online rankings. In the inventory of your current URL structure, mark each page that needs a new URL so that you don’t miss any redirects.
The Design Phase
Once you create the sitemap, you want to start by designing the most important page on the site, and that's the homepage. The homepage is the window to your business and your brand. It should be professionally written with engaging copywriting, contain visually appealing images, and explain why your business is better than the competition.
These are the most crucial elements of the design process that apply to the entire website:
Mockups are visual representations of a product. In this case, they're representing the structure of the site and its basic functionalities in a static way. Mockups show the order of the components, as well as the specific colors on your site, shapes, and placement of all the elements.
Every project should contain mockups so that the developers could have a clear picture of the product. It'll also be easier for the engineering team to determine the costs of the project. The mockup of your site can be done using a tool like Photoshop.
People of the 21st century have short attention spans. One study from researchers at the Technical University of Denmark suggests the collective global attention span is shrinking as online content is continuously increasing in volume.
To hold your visitors' attention, you have to incorporate visual elements. This can include images, infographics, or animations. As we mentioned above, you can hire a photographer to create high-quality photos of your product, use stock imagery, or have a graphic designer design something for the site.
There are some design trends to avoid, such as auto-playing videos or having more than one animation moving on people's screens.
The correct choice of fonts can be vital for attracting your target audience. As 70%-80% of websites are text, using readable fonts is crucial. Make sure you don't use more than three different fonts for your site. This will make your site look unstructured and unprofessional. If you have to use more than one font, ensure the font families complement each other based on their character width.
The safe bet is to use a standard font such as Arial, Calibri, and Trebuchet that people are used to and can read faster. A bonus tip is to choose a font that is readable in various sizes as people will be accessing your site from different devices.
Did you know that 85% of people base their product purchasing decisions on color? The colors on your site will become associated with your brand. The first step is to choose a color scheme. Choose two or three main colors for your main palette, and then you can add a few more muted colors for your secondary palette. Stick to these colors, or otherwise, your site will look messy.
Avoid using the same or similar colors for text and background. The text must be visible so that your visitors can quickly scan through it.
Another web design tip is to have plenty of white space on your site. White spaces will make your content more effective and easier to read.
Templates are a great way to stay on the right track when designing your site. Templates are designed by designers, and follow the best UI/UX design practices. If you have a limited budget, using templates for some of your pages can lower your costs. Keep in mind that if you want each one of your pages to be unique, the project will be more expensive and it'll take more time to complete.
The Development Phase
Developing Your Site
The development phase of your redesign process involves coding the site cleanly by following industry best practices. The team, internal or external, will transfer the mockups that were created during the design phase into HTML, CSS, or another language.
After the front-end development is completed, the next step is to work on the backend of your site. In this stage, your site will be integrated into a CMS. Through the CMS, the backend of your site will be easily edited.
As people will be accessing your site from different devices, you want to make sure you have a mobile version of your site. By doing so, your visitors won't have to zoom in and out to read your content.
In 2018, 52% of web traffic came from mobile devices, compared to 0.7% in 2009. In other words, optimizing the site for mobile users can have multiple benefits. Some of the top benefits include lower bounce rates, higher ranking on Google, and improved user experience.
In this phase, there's also a decent amount of testing involved. You and the team will have to ensure that all design elements are present and designed according to spec.
Another thing to check is to see that the website is easy to navigate and accessible. You want to ensure that your visitors will navigate the site with ease and will be geared towards the desired outcomes.
Analyzing the content is also a must. You want to make certain that the content on your site is informative, easy to understand, and structured logically. Double-check for any grammar and spelling mistakes, and see if the font text is easy to read.
Other things to check include:
- See if your contact forms are operational.
- Check every internal and external link contained within your site to ensure that it links to the desired web page.
- Test the website’s functionality and appearance of different devices.
- If you have added any custom functionality to the site, perform tests to see how the end-user will experience those functionalities.
- See if the site is fully optimized for search engines.
It's important to note that eCommerce websites require more extensive QA than regular websites as they have a large number of pages and more functionalities. You want to ensure that your product pages have no errors, that coupons and discounts are working properly, shipping costs are calculated properly, and more.
Website Redesign Launch Checklist
Once every aspect of the site is tested for quality, it's time to launch. Here are the most crucial steps to take when launching your site:
Backup Your Previous Website
Before you launch your site, take a few moments to backup your website, just in case something unpredictable happens.
Connect Your Site to Google Analytics
Don't forget to connect your new site with Google Analytics. The platform can inform you of your audience' demographics, how much time they spend on the site, and which pages they're visiting. You can then use this information to improve your site in the future.
Submit Your Website to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another useful tool to use for making sure your site is high performant. With the Console, you'll be able to see how often your site is shown in Google search results, which keywords are driving traffic to the site, and how many people are clicking on your site in the search results.
Get an SSL Certificate for the Website
Having an SSL certificate on your site is like having an ID card that says, 'this website is safe and secure from outside threats." When you get an SSL certificate, your site's URL will become "https." The "s" stands for secure encryption.
Customers want to do business with websites that are secure and trustworthy. Especially if you collect people's private information, purchasing an SSL certificate is critical. Once you purchase your SSL license, people will know that your website is reliably protected.
Perform a Speed Test
Did you know that 47% of people expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less? Pages that load in 2.4 seconds have a 1.9% conversion rate, compared to pages that load in 5.7+ seconds that have a 0.6% conversion rate.
To ensure your website visitors enjoy a great user experience, check your site for speed. A speed test will help you determine if there's anything on the site that slows it down.
You can use a tool like Google Page Speed that will give your site a ranking out of 100, along with suggestions on how to improve its performance.
If you don't have a blog, now it's a great way to start one. Here are two statistics to consider:
- Businesses that have a blog section on their website have a 434% higher chance of ranking highly on search engines (Tech Client).
- Businesses that use blogs in their marketing strategy get 67% more leads than businesses that don’t (Hubspot).
Overall, a blog is the most critical content marketing tactic that you can use to attract website visitors and convert them into customers. You can use the blog to talk about the issues your target audience faces and offer tips for how to solve them. Especially if you want to be present on social media, having a blog is essential.
Tell Your Email Subscribers About Your New Website
If you have a subscribers list, send them an email informing them of the launch of your new website. If you're offering any discounts or special offers, make sure you include that in the email.
Sending emails to your subscribers is surely a great way to build an ongoing relationship with them and ensure trust.
Promote Your New Website Across All Social Media Platforms
Promoting your website across social media platforms means raising awareness about your brand and enticing more people to visit.
Share a link to your new site on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or anywhere your target audience may be. Consider posting paid ads to reach specific groups of people, like people who live in a specific region or age group. Paid ads are a great way to reach your target audience and drive relevant traffic to your site.
Motivate People to Use Your Site
Contests and discounts are a tempting way to attract more visitors. For example, have a promo code for people who come to your site and sign up to receive emails. Or, you can organize a contest where the first 200 website visitors will have the chance to enter a competition to win a gift. Don't hesitate to get creative!
Continue Improving Your Website With the Help of A/B Testing
Now that your website is launched, all you can do is sit back and watch, right? Well, not really!
The key to a successful website is ongoing optimization. One way to optimize your website is through A/B testing.
A/B testing is a website design practice where two versions of the same page are shown to different groups of visitors at the same time. This type of testing can help you determine which version drives more conversions so that you can apply it to the rest of your pages.
Some elements you can test include:
- Design and layout
- Headlines and subheadlines
Here are some tools you can use to help you with your A/B testing:
- Heatmap tools
- Visual Website Optimizer
Invest in Website Maintenance Services
To ensure your website is always in a healthy and relevant condition, you need to perform regular check-ups. Not once a year, not twice a year. We’re talking about investing in regular website maintenance services that will help you keep your business running smoothly and customers enjoying their user experience.
We've reached the end of this extensive guide. We hope you took the time to go through all the points above and are now confident to proceed with upgrading your site.
To sum up:
- Redesigning a website can boost your conversion rates and sales when done correctly.
- There's not a pre-set price range for how much website redesign is going to cost you. The price depends on a number of factors, including your budget and the project scope.
- A good rule of thumb is to invest in a website redesign every 2-3 years.
- Before engaging in website redesign, make sure you know your goals, budget, and visitors.
- The website redesign process has three phases: The Content phase, the Design phase, and the Development phase.
After your website is finally launched, don't forget to conduct A/B testing to optimize the site further.