The Ultimate Guide to Planning for a Website Redesign

3 out of 4 of brands aren't happy with their website redesign. We think that sucks.

There are a lot of website redesign considerations: cost, time, functionality, business goals, performance…

But there's a secret to landing in that 25% of brands that are over the moon with their redesign.

(Spoiler: It's all about your plan.)

In this guide, you'll get clear on what you want from a redesign and create a step-by-step plan full of best practices to get it done.

Sound interesting? Keep reading.

approach-header-compressor
PROTIP

Our companion "Your Ultimate Ecommerce Website Redesign Project Plan" worksheet has exercises, additional tips, and expert insights to help you shoot for the moon.

Shows the cover image for this website redesign's companion workbook, "The Ultimate Website Redesign Worksheet"

Chapter 1 The 6 Essential Elements of an Effective Website

Performance is at the heart of every website.

 

Every effective website contains these 6 elements. Knowing what they are is a great way to set yourself up for success before you head into your redesign.

 

Let's dive in.

A black woman with blonde hair sits in a brown chair in a coworking space and stares at a document on computer that says "IDEAS"

Messaging

What do you do? Who is your business for? What's the benefit/result you get people?Your messaging should answer those questions at a glance.

Messaging should be benefit-driven

A website with the text "we're award-winning web designers."
VS
A website with the text "We help you create something memorable."

Your target customer should be able to land on your home page and immediately know what you do and whether they are or aren't the perfect fit for your brand.

Remember: your website is supposed to convert visitors into customers. Your messaging can make or break that goal.

...this means you should invest in a marketer or copywriter to help you nail your messaging. This is one of the most important changes you'll make during your website redesign. Don't skip it.

PROTIP

Need help with your messaging? This guide's website redesign planning guide has an exercise that'll tell you how clear your messaging really is...and how to fix it.

Structure

A website with a good site structure is easy to navigate.

Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes: if you were landing on your site for the first time, would you want to stay? Click around? Read a blog?

Your site structure should encourage people to view your products and click “Add to Cart.”

If your traffic numbers are high but you aren't making as much money as you think you should—if your visits aren't converting—your structure could be the problem.

PROTIP

Not sure where to start to improve your website structure? (Not sure if you even need to?) This guide's companion worksheet contains two exercises to help you get clear on your site's structure.

Identity/Design

Great web design does more than look good—it also tells your prospective customers about you.

If your site is difficult to navigate, confusing, or disorganized, then that’s how you’ll appear: difficult, confusing, and disorganized.

(Probably not what you're aiming for.)

Here's an example:

Your site's design gives prospective customers a key insight into your brand personality.

...What's a brand personality?

Your brand personality is your ‘it’ factor. It’s the thing that will tell someone, with no more than a glance, that your brand is a fit for them.

It's kind of like your messaging...except it's visual instead of verbal.

Check out this website redesign we did for a client—we focused on clarifying their brand personality to appeal to their target market.

Spoiler: Their sales tripled.

A brand identity-focused redesign helped Ironside Computers TRIPLE their sales and increase the average order value by 40%. 

Funnels

A funnel is a sequence of steps designed to turn a prospect into a customer. Funnels are the reason many online businesses work today.

Funnels rely on strategic messaging and customer touchpoints. A typical funnel looks like this:

Funnels remove a lot of uncertainty from your business.

For example, say that 1 in 10 people in your funnel makes a purchase of about $50. If it costs $2 to get 1 person in your funnel...that's a $30 profit for every $20 you spend. We'd do that all day.

You can (and should) automate your entire funnel. Once someone finds you from your online content or your ads, you don't need to make any more manual actions. That liberates a lot of time to focus on your business.

If you don’t already have any funnels—or if this talk of funnels makes your head spin—check out this post we think does a good job of explaining funnels.

PROTIP

Funnels can get overwhelming...but they're so effective. This guide's companion worksheet has a couple of exercises to help you conquer funnel overwhelm and start making a LOT more money from your website.

Trust

You have to earn your customer’s trust before they’ll buy from you. A strong design makes you look legitimate, but there’s more to it.

Here's the truth—

Developing trust online is hard.

While testimonials and reviews show you're trustworthy, being accessible is also important.

On average, product page visitors who interact with review content show...

+58%
conversion rates
+62%
revenue per visit
+3%
Average Order Value

In other words, show up. Show up in Google search. Show up on whichever social media network your ideal customer uses. Show up in their email inboxes.

You build trust online by making the effort to create a connection.

Encourage your customers to write positive reviews and comments. Then respond to them...even the bad ones.

Testimonials and success stories are the most important pieces of social proof on your website. Collect as many as you possibly can.

Conversions

A conversion is an action you want someone to take.

Signing up for your email list. Following you on social. Buying a product. These are all conversions.

Conversions are based on trust and messaging. When a prospective customer converts, they move down the funnel and progress along the journey to become a customer.

Messaging, a strong brand, a logical funnel, and social proof will net you more conversions...but it’s ultimately about what you offer and what your customer wants.

...so how does a redesign help?

Low conversion rates are often a symptom of some issue with your messaging, structure, identity, funnel, or ability to build trust. A website redesign that improves all of those aspects will improve your conversion rates.

A 1250% conversion rate increase from a redesign? We didn't believe it either, but the numbers on HeForShe's new site don't lie.

Chapter 2 Houston, We Have a Problem

Remember we told you that 75% of redesigns fail?

 

The biggest reason a redesign doesn't take off is because of poor planning.

 

In this chapter, you'll learn the 3 biggest reasons behind redesign failure...and how you can avoid them.

 

Keep reading.

A blonde woman stares at a white laptop in a well-lit room.

Reason for Failure #1: Focusing on Technology before Strategy

Your website exists to grow your business. Every choice you make should serve that goal.

We get a lot of questions from business owners who ask about the tech before they’ve considered their business goals. It’s absolutely the wrong approach.

Don’t start your process worrying about WordPress vs. Magento vs. Shopify.

Instead, focus on things like:

  • What is this website's purpose?
  • How can a redesigned website accelerate my business's growth?
  • How can we (the people at your organization) ensure the website stays successful?

Business goals and strategy come first. Then pick the best tech for the job.

WARNING!

If you talk to a web development company for a redesign and they don’t focus on your business and project goals in the early conversations, run far, far away.

PROTIP

Haven't thought about your goals for a website redesign yet? Don't worry—this guide's companion worksheet has exercises to help you get clear on and refine your goals.

Reason for Failure #2: Vague Goals

A goal is a measurable outcome that defines success.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to approach a redesign with vague goals like “I want my site to look better” or “I want to get more leads”.

Those are fine goals to work towards...

But you need to examine what they mean and how you can measure them.

For example, when you say “I want my website to look better,” you mean:

  • I want my brand to look appealing.
  • I want my brand to be recognizable.
  • I want to give my customers a positive experience.

Distilling your goal's true meaning will tell you exactly what to measure.

Vague (weak) vs Specific (strong) Goals

A small robot that looks like a human child...if humans had antennae.
I want to grow my business.
VS
A large robot that looks like a strong adult man.
I want to increase my average order value by 22% in Q2 of this year compared to Q1.

You have no way to measure your website redesign's success if you lack clear business goals.

PROTIP

In the next chapter, you'll create goals and make them S.M.A.R.T. This guide's companion worksheet contains exercises to help you record and clarify your goals. Download it to get started.

Reason for Failure #3: Inadequate Budget

If your total budget is lower than $60,000, then you’re setting yourself up for a disappointing end result.

Why so much? Think about the costs associated with a website redesign:

  • Strategy
  • Design
  • Development
  • SEO
  • Licenses
  • Copywriting
  • Visual asset creation
  • Project management
  • QA (quality assurance)
  • Photography (spaces, models, props, editing, etc.)
  • Video production

It's rare to find a single agency that has all the expertise you need. Most of the time, you'll need to find a few different partners.

If your budget is too low, you'll make mistakes. You'll hire someone who isn't the best fit for your brand...or you'll run out of money and cut corners.

It might seem like you sank a lot of money into something you don't want.

...You see how easy it is to land in that 75% of business owners who are unhappy with their redesign.

(Jump to this guide's section about crafting a budget to start talking numbers.)

Chapter 3 Set Goals to Find Your #WinCondition

Want to know how to be really unhappy with a project you sank thousands of dollars into?

 

Go in without clear goals.

 

In this chapter, you'll formulate a single win condition to measure your website redesign's success.

Research & Discovery-min

Business Goals

Knowing your business goals lets you set expectations for your website redesign.

A redesign should do more than make your site look better—it should help grow your business and make your entire operation more efficient.

Your redesigned website will help you...

An up-and-to-the-right constellation
Increase
Sales
A trio of aliens
Earn New Customers
An up-and-to-the-right collection of linked crop circles with dollar signs in the middle
Increase
Spending
An astronaut helmet with an antenna
Reduce Customer Service Requests

You have no way to measure your website redesign's success if you lack clear business goals.

PROTIP

Record your business goals on this guide's companion worksheet. Don't worry about getting them perfect just yet—we'll refine them in a future step.

Marketing Goals

You're leaving a LOT of money on the table if you forget to think about how your redesign will improve your marketing.

Do You Want To...

A spaceship/rocket flying up and to the right
Get More Leads?
A comet bounces off a planet
Decrease Your Bounce Rate?
Circles---probably moons---orbit a planet, influenced by its gravitational pull
Improve Average Time On Site?
A constellation forms a G (which is supposed to represent Google)
Improve Your Website's SEO?

Your marketing success directly affects your business goals and bottom line. Take the time to think about some marketing goals you want a new website to accomplish.

PROTIP

Spend a few minutes thinking about what marketing goals you have for your redesign. Keep track of them with our handy worksheet.

Technology Goals

A website redesign is much more than a makeover.

In fact, you should view a redesign as the opportunity to get an entirely new site.

...that means changing any of the tech problems on the backend that make you want to pull your hair out.

(And we know you have a few in mind.)

Some of our clients' technology goals...

A drawing of a space-themed lock. On its side, it looks like an alien.
Make The Website
More Secure
An icon of a mechanical arm and a test tube filled with a purple liquid.
Improve Back-end
Usability
A web browser shows an orbital chart.
Easily Create
Landing Pages
An alien holds a wireless communication device...some kind of alien customer support tech?
Switch
Platforms

If you're struggling to come up with some ideas, think about all the marketing you want to do but haven't done because of technical restrictions.

(Like setting up conversion events and tracking snippets. Or creating landing pages for lead generation campaigns.)

Now is the time to set those up.

PROTIP

This guide's companion worksheet has exercises to help you get clear on your technology goals (and the other goals in this chapter). Download it to get started!

Aligning Your Goals

Now you have some goals—great! But a smörgåsbord of unrelated objectives means your redesign might feel like it's being run by a multitasking alien with one too many tentacles.

In other words: stuff is bound to get messy if your objectives aren't aligned.

Your goals should flow into each other. Technology goals should lead to marketing goals. Marketing goals should lead to business goals.

A venn diagram that shows the reader that they need to exist at the intersection between business, technology, and marketing. This images appears on Huemor's post about getting a website redesign; it's a visual representation of how your goals for a website redesign should all overlap and be aligned with one another.

Here's an example:

Technology

I want to create + customize landing pages with ease.

Marketing

I want to drive 25% more conversions from FB ads.

Business

I want 33% more leads on my websites compared to 2018.

Make them S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are measurable goals.

If you don’t have specific KPIs (key performance indicators) yet, now’s the time to think of them.

A vague goal like “I want more conversions” is a good place to start but not where you want to end up. It's a bad goal because it's not quantifiable.

PROTIP

Our website redesign planning worksheet has space for you to brainstorm your goals, align them, make them S.M.A.R.T., and dozens of other exercises to ensure you get crystal clear on what you want from your redesign.

Your Win Condition

A win condition is how you’ll measure the success of your redesign.

...but what is a win condition?

A win condition is the single most important business goal on your list.

The take-it-or-leave-it item on the agenda. The yardstick you’ll use to measure your success. The cake itself.

Ready for the win condition formula?

Win Condition = #1 Most Important Business Goal supported by Marketing + Tech goals.

That's it.

PROTIP

Need help identifying your win condition...or want to start at the beginning and hammer out some solid goals? The worksheet for this guidebook has space for all of that.

Chapter 4 Craft an Accurate Budget

The last thing you want is to get slapped in the face with a price tag that's way above what you imagined.

That's why you take stock of your resources so you can direct your spending where it counts.

In this chapter, you'll learn what a website redesign costs and put together a realistic budget for your website redesign.

A woman sits at a desk and punches numbers into a calculator.

This shouldn't be surprising...

But different websites and industries have different needs.

So you might need to calculate your budget differently than someone else.

If you're an ecommerce venture, jump to the ecommerce budget formula section of this chapter.

Otherwise, keep reading.

Pricing for B2B Websites

There's no one-size-fits-all for web design pricing.

We prefer to price website redesigns by the value of an improved web presence instead of at standard tiers.

Why?

Because some companies and industries value a strong web presence more than others. A single sticker price ignores that nuance.

...so how can you figure out the value of your business's web presence?

You'll need to gather/calculate some numbers first:

1. Total Website Traffic

In other words, how many people visited your site last year?

If you have Google Analytics installed, you can quickly grab this number.

A screenshot of Google analytics (with numbers and the graph blurred out) that shows how to find the number of vsitors to a website from the previous year

If not, sign up for a free trial of SimilarWeb and grab that number.

(Only want to run this analysis with search engine traffic? Sign up for a free trial of Ahrefs.)

2. Total Number of Customers

Really simple—the total number of customers you served over the past year.

You shouldn't have to dig too hard to get this number.

3. Top Line Revenue

How much did your business earn last year? (You shouldn't have to dig too much to get this number, either.)

Now you have 2 choices.

You could try to crunch the numbers by hand...

(Ew.)

...or you can plug them into our website budget calculator and let that do the math.

The Ecommerce Budget Formula

We use an ROI-focused formula in lieu of a fixed number to determine the cost of an ecommerce website redesign.

We’ve used this formula internally at Huemor for years. We call it the “Ecommerce Budget Formula" (EBF).

Let's hop to it.

You'll use the following numbers in your calculations:

  1. Annual ecommerce revenue
  2. Average product value
  3. Total number of products
  4. Total number of customers
  5. Total number of orders

Additionally, you should list out any necessary 3rd party integrations or other logistical complications you foresee.

This will help you get an accurate idea of what you'll need to budget for a successful redesign.

If learning about the formula and running the numbers by hand sounds like your idea of a good time, check out our ecommerce cost article.

Want a more in-depth look on how to set your ecommerce budget? We created the guide that'll help you calculate your ecommerce website redesign budget. Click the link to go there.

But if you'd rather jump in and get to work, our ecommerce budget calculator will do the math for you.

We're calculator people ourselves...but you do you.

Chapter 5 Find Your Dream Partner

Finding the right fit for a redesign can be the toughest part of the process.

With the thousands of professionals out there, how do you find the right fit for your needs?

We’ll show you exactly how in this chapter.

A woman and a man at work smile at a ipad screen on a staircase

3 Evaluation Factors

You might already have a partner (or two) in mind.

But a web redesign is a long project. It’s important to find someone who feels like a fit in terms of personality, expertise, and humility.

1. Personality

You’ll work with this vendor for a long time. It’s important that you like them.

An ideal partner will understand and emulate your values. Many agencies list their values on their website; double check that they align with yours.

It's also important to pay attention to how they treat you—do they show up late? How do they respond to your questions and concerns? Trust your intuition.

There are a lot of web design agencies. If someone gives you a weird vibe, back away and look for someone else.

2. Expertise

Plenty of agencies with impressive portfolios might not be the best fit for you.

Your ideal partner should have some success (re)designing websites in your field.

One company might build an awesome travel agency website but lack the acumen to build a stellar ecommerce website.

Another might not have the A-list clientele you'd like to see but their ecommerce work might speak for itself.

That's why it's important to evaluate each potential partner on their own merits and not in competition with each other.

3. Humility

Be adamant about getting the best possible product.

The best agencies to partner with will be humble. They understand that, as the client, your needs come first.

Beware the agency whose ego conflicts with your business interests.

If a vendor immediately talks about their technical prowess or accolades instead of asking you questions about your goals, challenges, or overall strategy, run away. Far away.

That is not the agency you want to manage your website redesign.

PROTIP

Need some more help figuring out what you want in a dream partner? Our companion worksheet has several activities to help you get clear on who you want to work with.

Size Matters

How do you choose the best type of partner for you? Here are our recommendations:

Bootstrapped Startups

Less than $1 million/year in revenue

1-5 Employees

A small robot that looks like a human child...if humans had antennae.

You should partner with a freelancer to redesign your website. You can find one at:

Exception: If you have a very high-value product/service or a highly unique business, you should consider a specialized agency.

Small Business

$2 - $10 million/year in revenue

5-30 Employees

A large robot that looks like a strong adult man.

You should partner with a small agency instead of a freelancer to manage the project and ensure a cohesive end product. Find one at:

Exception: You might be able to get away with several freelancers if your business isn't complex. But you’ll need clear expectations and good project management to succeed.

Small-to-Medium Business

$10 - $50 million/year in revenue

30-150 Employees

A trio of aliens

Consider a small-to-medium-sized agency to tackle your website redesign. We recommend searching through:

At this stage, you probably have sophisticated processes that require some care and thoughtful planning. You’ll need an organized and versatile team.

Mid-Market+

More than $50 million/year in revenue

150+ Employees

Circles---probably moons---orbit a planet, influenced by its gravitational pull

Consider a large agency that specializes in strategy, design, and development. Look at:

Exception: A small-to-medium sized agency can still be a strong candidate if their personality, expertise, and values match your needs. Don't rule them out!

Talk to Existing Customers

You know the best way to vet someone?

Talk to their previous customers or clients.

Chances are you’ll talk to someone who had a great experience. Awesome! Ask them about how they worked with this agency you’re considering. Would they recommend them to you?

That should give you a sense of whether this arrangement will work.

PROTIP

Don’t know which questions to ask? Don’t worry—we prepared a few on your worksheet.

Bonus Case Study: CoverFx

Want to see an example of the power of a website redesign?

Our client CoverFx knew exactly what they wanted in a new website...and they got some astounding results. 

Download the case study to read about how a website redesign helped a business grow its online sales by 27% in the space of a few months.

A cellphone with the new CoverFx website from our website redesign. There's a girl's face behind the phone.

Wrapping Up

That’s your ultimate website redesign project plan.

After you download the worksheet and complete the activities, you'll have clear goals, a good idea for a budget, and a list of potential vendors to get started with. 

Now we want to turn it over to you: what did you think about this guide? What questions do you still have? Let us know in the comment section below.

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siddharth

thanks for sharing this blog……it is helpful to us

Jake

Thanks, Siddharth! We’re glad it helped. 🙂

Albert David

Exceptional article. Seriously good. From the tips on messaging to finding the right article, this was a great read and not to mention the pleasant visual. Great job!

Jake

Thank you so much, Albert! 🙂 That means a lot to us.