Website Redesign Project Plan

Below are the essential steps to consider when rebranding or redesigning an existing one.

Step 1: Define Business Goals

The best place to start is to clearly define why you want to redesign or rebrand your website. Does your website not accurately describe your business? Is it off-brand? Does it look outdated and unprofessional? Or are you trying to increase sales and brand awareness through content marketing?

List out standard website metrics of your current state. For example, average monthly visitors, top 20 pages, traffic sources, and any customer comments you received. Then define how you would like these numbers to change? What would a successful redesign look like?

Step 2: Research & Planning

Now that you have a clear list of business goals, the next step is to perform research and collect as much data as you can that may help you achieve your goals. If you are in the market for a new content management system, this would also be the time to schedule demos and talk to any current customers of platforms you are considering.

Step 3: Messaging & Design

The next step is to work with a design and content writing team to scope out the messaging for your site. Before doing any visual design, it is imperative to plot out your site architecture, navigation naming, URLs, and basic functionality. This work up-front will prevent you from designing a website using placeholder text like “lorem ipsum.” Placeholder text often puts the cart before the horse and forces a writer to write content that may not be effective in communicating. Ideally, a designer and a writer should work together on building a page that meets the business objectives. If you hear a writer tell a designer, “here, make this look pretty,” this is a red flag you are going down the wrong path.

Step 3: Development & Testing

I recommend designing only a few pages before looping in web developers. Often functionality may not be possible, so initially, you want to show developers the visual styles, colors, fonts, and imagery used. From now on, it will be a collaborative effort and meeting the goals of the page and site overall. If you hear a designer tell a developer, “just match the PSD or design,” this is a huge warning sign of lack of collaboration. A developer is not a robot and often has excellent insight into how things work in a digital format.

I recommend designing and developing 3-4 pages and then doing browser testing. Testing a subset of the entire website redesign will help identify issues early before embarking on the whole site. Once this phase is approved, you can begin building out the remaining site using these initial pages as a reference point.

Step 3: Performance Review and Continuous Improvement

It is crucial to think of a website as your house. Very rarely would someone tear down their entire house and rebuild from scratch. You often do a kitchen remodel, landscaping, or painting a bedroom. Your home is a mixture of some old and some new things, which embodies the importance of continuous improvement on your website.

I recommend looking at website analytics against your initial goals once a quarter to see if you are on track and if any improvements are required.

business website planning guide checklist

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