FAQ Friday: Your Questions about the Website Redesign Process Answered

Posted by Jessica Jones Sep 16, 2016 6:00:00 AM

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It may have been the case in the past that simply having an online presence was enough to give you a fair shot against your competitors. Now, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Now that everything is web-centric, you can’t expect a sub-par website to do you any service at all. If your site isn’t getting the traffic you want, has an outdated look, or supports outdated or obsolete technology (we’re looking at you, Flash), it may be time for a website redesign. If you’re wondering where to start, you’re not alone. Be prepared for your next website redesign with the help of today’s Q&A.

By solving our own most difficult problems, we’re potentially creating immense value for everyone else.—Jason Amunwa

How much does it cost to redesign a website?

Since all websites are so different, the cost for website development varies enormously.Everyone has a different amount of content in-hand. Some businesses start their redesign, ready to throw out all their old content and replace it.

Other businesses may have content in their back pocket that they can use for their site revamp. Some may have a solid design sense, and inspiration in mind, while others may be completely new to design concepts and need more guidance. All these (and more) factors will make a huge impact on the cost of a website redesign.

Key tip to determining website cost: Establish the goal of your website redesign first before you start ripping out old content. Goals define the direction your audience should experience your website as well as how that content will lead to conversion and ultimately the sale.

What is responsive website design? Is it the same as adaptive website design?

Responsive design is a way of making your site content fluid. Although this is a relatively new web design technique and growing in popularity due to the rise of smartphones and other mobile devices, you’ve probably already seen this before.

Take a moment and think about a site that changes in front of your eyes as you expand or reduce the size of your browser window. Responsive and adaptive design similarly support this same concept, but they are distinctly different. In adaptive design, the designer will prepare several (usually 3 to 6) site designs for different screen sizes. Whereas, responsive web design will morph to fit any size device. With responsive design, all of your content, including videos, photos, and graphics, will display properly on any screen. This way you don’t have to create separate websites for each device.

There are some tradeoffs between these types of design—responsive design is more universally adaptable, but it is also more difficult to create. Adaptive design is likely to load faster, but may look awkward on unusually-sized screens. Here's a graphic that explains the concept of adaptive design:

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During the design process, you will need to think about how you want your content to appear on differently sized screens. For further insight into responsive web design, take a look into how you can create a mobile friendly website in this video:

 
 
 
 
 
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Key to responsive website design: It’s worth the investment. Why? Because, if you spend precious time creating and perfecting valuable content, it needs to display properly. Don’t give cause for your visitors to leave your website. Allow your audience to experience the full gambit of your website—whether they are accessing your site on their desktops or on a mobile device. With responsive design, you can meet your audience wherever they are on every device.

What is involved in the website redesign process?

The website redesign process has several steps. Even before you’re thinking of themes, or site organization, you need to think about your current site. I’m sure you’re not seeking a redesign because you absolutely love everything about your site. Take note of what needs to go, and what you think works well as-is. You should incorporate as much concrete data on this as possible—anything you have gathered from A/B testing, user surveys, or the like, will be incredibly helpful in the redesign process.

If you don’t talk to your customers, how will you know how to talk to your customers?—Will Evans

Next, take into account your buyer personas and target audience. If you don’t have this information already, you’ll want to get it sorted out before starting your redesign. This will take time, but it will save you both time and money in the long run. You’ll also need to do a content audit around this time. A content audit consists of:

  • all the content you want on your site,
  • what you’d like to keep and cut,
  • and how you’d like to organize this content on your new site.

Around this point, you should end up with a sitemap that will be useful for the remainder of the process. In fact, as you are organizing your content, keep your audience in mind and map out every stage of the buyer’s journey throughout your website. That way, as your visitors experience your website, they end up following the path that you’ve carved for them based on the current pain points they are looking to have resolved.

After this, you’ll want to take stock of your brand and style guidelines. Do you want your brand to come off as family-friendly? Strong and powerful? Cutting-edge and trendy? Whatever you decide, stick to your brand and don’t supplement trends for the sake of usability. Because even though something might look good, it’s value is solely based on your visitor’s experience navigating your website.

Usability answers the question, “Can the user accomplish their goal?—Joyce Lee

Next, cull inspiration from sites you like. You can either create a Pinterest board of your favorite web designs or screenshot your favorites and organize those images into a file to send to your design team.

After all of this is sorted, you need to set goals and a realistic timeline for your redesign so that you can track whether or not your redesign was successful. Signs of a successful redesign are:

  • Clean navigation: You’ve created a clear user experience that takes the guesswork on how to navigate your website.
  • Impactful and relevant content: From the copy on your homepage to the copy within your blog posts, your content hits home runs with your audience due its relatability and value.
  • Actionable calls-to action: Your calls-to-action or CTAs make your audience want to download your eBook, sign up for your webinars, etc. Your CTAs call out what your audience needs—creating a trust and value system early on between you and your potential customers.

Once you have reached this point, the actual design can start. This will include wireframes, prototypes, and—you guessed it—revisions.

All of these steps may have your head spinning, but the entire process should get smoother each time you do it. To see this in action, the New York Times has provided the following video that includes the intuitive choices they made around their newly designed website:

Will I be able to see my site, migrated to the new design, before it goes live?

Yes. In most cases, there’s a possibility to create a staging site, or a site that’s live but not linked to anything (and not accessible by anyone who doesn’t already know where it is). Website comps are a great guide in the early stages of a redesign, but you can’t interact with a static image in the way your visitors will interact with your site. Having the opportunity to see your site exactly how it will appear to them is an invaluable opportunity.

How can I increase website traffic?

If you start out with a solid site based on the inbound methodology, you should see satisfying ROI as far as website traffic. But if you want to jumpstart your site traffic at any time, there are some relatively easy ways to do so. Make sure you are socially sharing new content in a timely manner. It’s also crucial to take advantage of SEO opportunities, such as inbound link-building.

It’s about catching customers in the act, and providing highly relevant and highly contextual information.—Paul Maritz

How can I reduce the time and cost of a website redesign with Growth Driven Design?

Growth Driven Design is a continuous website redesign process that is centered around the user’s experience. When building a website with Growth Driven Design, you design a launch pad website, i.e. a website that includes the essentials and that’s it. That way, you can get your website into the hands of your audience faster—allowing you to learn from their user experience. For example, especially when it comes to website redesign, instead of redesigning your website all at one time, try implementing the following steps:

  1. Revisit your buyer personas: Have their needs changed? Are their pain points still the same? Use questions like these to see if this journey is mapped out visually on your website.
  2. Gather user data quantitatively and qualitatively: Use your user and website data to determine what needs improvement and what is currently successful.
  3. Create one goal with your audience in mind: Whether it’s to increase user engagement, increase leads, or to increase sales in a new product or service, choose a goal that your audience can accomplish for you. They can accomplish your goals if you target it to their pain points and needs.
  4. Create three doable action items around your one goal: What can you create to achieve your goal? Maybe it’s create a video series to increase your user engagement on your website. Or maybe you create a free webinar series that is based on a problem that your audience really needs solved—allowing you to increase leads. Or finally, you redesign your product or service page as well as create a banner that you can put in your website’s sidebar in order to promote your new product or service.
  5. Design those action items into your website: Implement those action items onto your website.
  6. Track your progress: Finally, see how your site visitors respond to those changes. Regardless of whether or not your changes allowed you to achieve your goal, you can repeat this process for a continuous redesign that is spread out over time—creating a less stressful process, a living website that doesn’t remain static for two years or more, and a website that meets the needs of your audience on a continuous basis.

We need to stop worrying about proving the value of design and just focus on outcomes that provide value.—Denis Weil

Hopefully, some of this information has eased your redesign fears. If you have questions you would like to see featured in our weekly FAQ Friday, please submit them in the comments below or mention us @DirectImages on Twitter.

Until next FAQ Friday, keep your communication lines open. Don’t know the answer—just ASK.

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Topics: Online Design, Website Development

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