BlogDesign and Development

Redesign a Website: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Written by Siddhita Upare
Published on August 20th, 2022

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There can be a number of reasons why you want to redesign a website; maybe attract new users, get higher conversions, improve user experience, or boost revenue. Whatever your reasons are, redesigning your website is always a good way to keep up with the latest design trends and technological advancements.

In fact, 75% of users correlate your company's website with your web design. However, a website redesign is a massive undertaking; if you cut corners or skip steps, it can easily go off the rails and become a disaster.

So, the trick is to follow the correct process and use the right tools.

The following step-by-step process has helped us redesign 50+ websites in the last year alone.

So, let's get started.

What is a website redesign?

If you have an existing website, then website redesign refers to updating and refreshing its code, graphics, and content structure to better match the expectations of your target customers.

A website redesign can also mean adding new features or completely revamping it on a new platform. For instance, converting your HTML website to Wordpress would require a complete website redesign.

No matter how well your website seemed when you first launched it, there always comes a time when it could benefit from a redesign. Given the constantly changing algorithms, design process, and consumer behavior, it's almost impossible for an outdated website to deliver extraordinary results.

Here is how Amazon looked back in 1999.

Amazon Website Design in 1999

And this is how it looks now.

Amazon new website design

Do you think Amazon would have survived without a website redesign? Obviously not.

User behavior changes, technology upgrades, and competitors' increases require you to be up-to-date with your design game.

If done right, a successful website redesign can help you get

  1. More qualified leads
  2. Higher conversions
  3. Lower bounce rate
  4. Higher SEO rankings in the SERPs
  5. Improved performance and faster page loading
  6. An edge over your competitors
  7. More accurate representation of your brand

Like Amazon, many successful companies, like Slack, Mailchimp, Instagram, Dropbox, and Reddit, have benefited from website redesigns to launch new features and provide a better user experience for their target customers.

Website redesign vs. Website refresh

A website redesign is often used interchangeably with a website refresh, which is far from the truth.

A website refresh does not change the overall structure of the website; maybe the look and feel of the website gets updated. such as changing the color palette, adding graphic elements or using a new font.

In a website redesign, you revamp your entire website, upgrade to a new content management system, or add new functionalities. Website redesigns are also larger in scope since you'll have to consider how your website looks and its technical performance, like speed, indexability, and third-party integrations.

Why redesign your website?

Website redesigning is tricky. You may think it's your only solution to nail conversation and attract users.

However, most website redesigns fail when you don't have a valid reason for why you are doing it.

The reason for a website redesign is often rooted in our gut feelings and wants. There are no numbers involved in the process; it's about why we think website redesigning is important. It's possible your team or boss is doing a website redesign because

  • They are bored of the current interface and want to build a new website
  • They have seen some of the latest online trends and now want to replicate it
  • Your competitors just redesigned their websites.

These reasons are emotionally-driven and not based on facts. Leaders need to spend enough time evaluating the impact of website redesigns on their business to decide if they want to go forward with it.

According to GoodFirms's survey, the top reasons for redesigning a website are:

  • low conversion rates (80.8 percent)
  • high bounce rates (65 percent)
  • needs better UX (61 percent)
  • not responsive on all devices (53.8 percent)
  • outdated website (38.5 percent)
  • not SEO-friendly (23.1 percent)

why people leave websites- ruttl infographic

So, if your current website is facing similar issues, you might consider website redesigning.

The best way to decide if you should redesign your website or not is to analyze your website from the point of view of your existing customers. Instead of solely relying on subjective opinions, let your analytics speak the truth.

Hop on to your website and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my website represent my brand?
  • Is my website easy to navigate?
  • Are your pages optimized for different resolutions and screens?
  • Does our website look outdated compared to our competitors and market standards?
  • What is your site's performance in terms of bounce rate, loading time and conversion?
  • Are our website pages frequently updated according to user research?

Analyze your answers and decide if your entire website needs a revamp or if making changes to certain website pages would do the trick. If your answer is the latter, choose website refresh; otherwise, it's time for a full website redesign.

How long does the website redesign process take?

A design phase in the website redesign process takes anywhere from 45–90 days or more, depending upon your industry, the complexity of the project, and the scope of work.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all website redesign strategy, web designers usually take their sweet time revamping a website. The development phase is usually divided into three stages:

Stage 1: Discovery

Understanding the target audience, defining strategy, creating milestones, and evaluating the scope of work help determine the project's timeline. A brainstorming session with your team where you define how your website is performing at present and what your expectations are after the redesign.

Stage 2: Design

Follow the blueprint and kick off this website redesign strategy. Create mockups for individual pages and, in the end, select the one that suits your business goals. Get approval for the design and start revamping your business website.

Stage 3: Launch

A website launch isn't the end of the process. You must monitor website design elements, web traffic, technical search engine optimization, and heatmaps. Conduct regular A/B testing to determine what's working best for the website.

Many smaller steps go between these stages, which influences the time taken to accomplish your website redesign plan.

What is a website redesign service?

A website redesign isn't just about improving the look and feel of your business website. Yes, it is partly, but you can also niche down on your problems and focus on bettering them one thing at a time. So, before you estimate your redesign cost, evaluate the scope of work and whether you want to redecorate web design, improve websites' backends, add more visuals, or completely revamp them. Knowing what you want will help you save money and time. The key website redesign services are:

Redecoration

Redecorating the Website means making minor changes to the web page's structure and layout. It involves adding more images, changing brand colors, or including new graphics, carousels, or videos. Most of the changes here are at the surface level, so there are no major changes from the marketing standpoint. Since there isn't much scope for work, the cost of redecoration is the lowest.

Rewire

Rewiring refers to updating codes and improving your current website's backend performance. It ensures that your website's performance is the best using the latest technologies. An example of rewiring could be moving your data from on-premise to the cloud or upgrading your content management system to avail the latest features. The cost of rewiring is higher than redecorating since you must invest in updating UX design, subscription plans, migrations, and other technical stuff.

Remodel

Remodeling is a combination of redecorating and rewiring. Its main aim is to improve the user interface with decoration and support your website's backend. Remodeling takes more time and resources, so it's expensive. However, you can expect good results, like increased website visitors, improved graphics, and high conversions. Remodeling is a balance of creative and technical work. You require a backend developer, tech expert, and web designer to help successfully remodel your website.

Rebuild

Rebuilding your website refers to recreating every element. It's like you are building a new website with new codes and visual elements. This website redesign project is best for businesses who want to rebrand their entire site from scratch. The cost of rebuilding is the highest since it's building a new website. Your design, CMS, code, servers, and database will all be replaced.

How much does it cost to redesign a website?

The cost of website design has grown exponentially over the past decade. Businesses now understand the importance of inbound marketing and are ready to pay hefty amounts of money to improve their websites. Increased demand isn't the only factor that influences the redesign cost; there are a few more, like-

Size

Estimate how many pages you plan to redesign. Small business website usually has 1–50 pages, a medium-sized website has 50–150 pages, and a large website has 150+ web pages. With more pages, the cost of redesigning your current site will be higher. Also, analyze if the website content needs to be changed. The cost of copywriting can range between USD 2000–4000 (small websites), USD 4000–5000 (medium websites), and USD 6000 for large websites.

Complexity

The cost of redesigning your website depends on many factors contributing to its complexity, like several features, integrations, the responsiveness of the design, an updated content management system (CMS), and data compliance. A simple redesign website project can cost USD 3000-5000 for small websites, USD 9000–15000 for medium websites, and USD 15000–25000 for large websites. For visual and backend updates, there is an additional charge of USD 7000–15,000 for small websites; USD 1600–28,001 for medium websites; and USD 24000–50,000 for large websites.

Marketing

Most businesses spend good money marketing their websites to their target customers. This means running paid ads, launching campaigns, updating site content like blog articles or doing PRs and doing regular user research. This can cost around USD 3000-5000 for small websites, USD 4000-6000 for medium websites, and USD 6000-8000 for larger sites.

The prices for each service can fluctuate depending upon your requirements and whether you are doing it on your own, hiring a freelancer or assigning it to an agency.

Cost of a website redesign project when building it on your own

The cheapest way to redesign a website is by doing it yourself. Here, you have to spend more time than money. You need to evaluate the changes you want to implement on your website with the skills you possess. Most website redesign projects fail because people think their capable of doing a lot of things when they are not.

However, if you have a smaller website with a low budget, doing it yourself can cost you nothing to a few hundred dollars.

Cost of a website redesign project when hiring a freelancer

The next best option could be to hire a freelancer. This will at least save you a lot of time and let you focus on other business operations. Depending on their experience, a freelance web designer can charge between USD 2000 and USD 3000 for a simple redesign and USD 10000 to USD 20000 or more for a bigger website with complex needs.

The only con of working with a freelancer is a delay in project completion since they work on multiple projects. However, their collective experience in the industry allows them to help you suggest ways for improvement. Freelancers are a great option for small-to-medium-sized websites with an average budget.

Cost of a website redesign project when hiring an agency

The last option is to hire an agency for a website redesign. So, if you have a good budget and want to save up your time, this is your ultimate option. Agencies give you access to a team of seasoned professionals that will help from brainstorming ( creating redesign examples) to implementing and monitoring website changes after the launch.

Hiring an agency can cost you anywhere between USD 15000 and USD 75000 or more, depending on the size, functionalities, and web design of the website. An agency will offer more than just a website redesign; it will spend time improving user experience, marketing strategy, conversion rate, and business goals.

How do I redesign an existing website? Follow these 6 easy steps.

The website redesign process is often comprehensive and time-consuming. Without a plan, it might derail from the objective and leave you with an unoptimized website that doesn't produce much output. These steps follow a data-driven approach to improve website traffic and boost ROI.

1. Evaluate your current site's performance

Start by evaluating your current website's performance to understand where you stand. This will help you set achievable goals and benchmarks for your redesigned site.

Conduct complete quality assurance or QA testing on your website to check for issues across design, documentation, coding, and user experience. The importance of each metric may vary depending upon your business goals, but it's important to review the entire site for complete information.

Performance testing

Performance testing checks your website for high traffic spikes, scalability, user load and stability under high pressure. This helps identify potential performance bottlenecks that affect the user experience. You can use free tools like Google's Lighthouse, GTmetrix, or Google PageSpeed Insights to get valuable information on your website's performance.

Usability testing

Today, consumers want a beautiful and flawless website with an excellent user interface and a modern design. Usability testing checks your website's quality in conveying an excellent user experience by allowing them to easily see, use, and navigate web pages. The easiest way to conduct usability testing is by inviting random users and understanding how they interact with your website. identify if there are any frustrating points, cluttered web pages, or complicated navigation processes.

Responsive testing

Responsive testing ensures that your website is conveniently accessible on all types of devices and operating systems. You can easily check this through Google Analytics, where you'll learn about the devices your customers use to consume your website. It shows the number of users, sessions, and bounce rate of all mobile devices.

Functionality testing

Functionality testing checks if all website elements perform as intended. The web team performs specific functions or inputs data to analyze the deviation between actual and expected output. This testing is about white and black box testing. White-list testing verifies code, design elements, and data structure to evaluate the website's quality level. Block-box testing checks software functionality without giving much importance to codes.

SEO testing

Ranking your website on search engines isn't an easy task. It requires extensive search engine optimization efforts to check if your website is optimized for SERP rankings with premium backlinks, meta descriptions, fast loading speed, and keyword optimization. Your content should be relevant, comfortable to read, and answer the user's search intent. Your website's landing page should have a call to action, social proof, no broken links, and SEO-friendly content for higher conversions.

2. Research your competitor's Website

Next, you should evaluate your competitor's website on the same page metrics to understand where your website is lagging. By paying close attention to what your competitors are doing better, you can develop a list of ideas you want to include in your new site.

Here, you can perform a quantitative and qualitative analysis of your competitor's website.

Quantitative analysis

A qualitative analysis is all about numbers. Just as your website has some valuable pages, so does your competitor's website. Since we don't have access to internal numbers, we have to use marketing tool like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and SemRush to spy on our competitors.

ubersuggest ui

Using them, you can get access to a lot of information, like

  • Organic traffic
  • Backlinks
  • Referring domains
  • Top pages
  • PPC keywords

This can be your go-to guide to understanding how your competitor's website is performing. You get all this information from their traffic sources to the paid ads they are running on a single dashboard.

Qualitative analysis

Qualitative analysis has less to do with numbers and more with how visitors use your competitor's website. The goal is to understand how potential customers consume content and monitor user behavior across the website.

You can do the following for qualitative analysis:

  • Surveys
  • User Interviews
  • Usability Testing
  • Focus Groups
  • Heat Maps
  • Session Recordings

Check your competitor's website like a user. Test it for loading speed, design consistency, browsers, design fields, screen resolutions, and intuitive navigation. See how the website process flows. For instance, a typical user journey would look like this: home page> product>pricing> payment page. The task is to see if all the links are working correctly and if you have smoothly reached your intended location.

Combine these insights to create a board of ideas on what you want to incorporate into your new website. You can expand your inspiration and look for ideas outside your niche. This inspiration need not be a replica of your new website but adapted according to your product.

3. Determine changes for your new website

Now that we have enough information on our current site's performance and the websites performing well in the niche, it's time to determine the changes you want to incorporate into your new site.

First, evaluate the motive behind redesigning; maybe you want to sell more products, get more traffic, attract a new audience, or get your messaging right.

Setting key performance indicators, or KPIs, will help quantify business objectives. For instance, if you want to sell more through your online store, then your KPI could be

  • Traffic (especially on checkout and landing pages)
  • Conversion rates
  • Average customer lifetime value
  • Average order value

So, if redesigning can boost your KPIs, you will know that it was successful.

Another important thing to consider is making changes step-by-step. For instance, if you completely revamp the checkout page and see an increase of 10%, then you still know nothing about what contributed to this positive result. Maybe the headline was attractive, the checkout process was smooth, or your SEO efforts paid off.

Redesign your website by focusing on the primary goals and then redesigning the design elements with every step.

4. Adopt a content-first information infrastructure

The content-first approach implies that your designs should only be created to support your ideas and messages to your audience. That means, instead of developing a super-stylish website to cramp your content into, you create a simple responsive design based on your information to include.

Content-first infrastructure implies your website's information in the most user-friendly and intuitive manner. This structure is based on the user research data collected in the previous step, like Google Analytics, heatmaps, scroll-depth tracking etc.

Make sure you understand the customer journey and sitemap when creating your designs.

Customer journey

Customer journey refers to the illustration of all the touchpoints your ideal customer makes within your website. For instance, if a person comes to your website to purchase your product, what are the possible channels they could take before they complete the final task? This will help you understand if your current content supports your goals.

amazon linear path to service

See, here is anything that needs to be re-written, removed, or redesigned. Your job should be to compel users to complete the final task. Check Amazon's customer journey to claim its services. This exactly shows the steps a user takes before they complete the final task.

Sitemap

sitemap example

Sitemap defines your site structure from pages, videos, and content on your site and their relations between them. Creating a sitemap helps search crawlers find similar content pages that are not readily accessible through links on the web page. Sitemaps are organized hierarchically, mimicking the customer journey and providing the right information to users.

5. Create sketches or mockups

After sitemaps, we move on to creating mockups. The design team can first start by building wireframes or blueprints of what they want the new web site to look like. These are made to understand how the content would be laid out on the page for a better user experience.

wireframe example

Now that you have nailed the UX, it's time to work on the UI. The best way to do this is by creating mockups using tools like Adobe XD and Figma. You'll apply colors, logos, and images to your created wireframe.

These mockups should explain changes in design, special functionality, and interactions with your development team. Mockups aren't a one-person job; you need your UX expert, marketers, graphic designers, and other experts to complete your redesign project.

6. Design testing and launch

Once the design is completed, it's time for testing. In the testing process, designers should create a duplicate of your current website with the latest designs. This duplicate website will have a different URL, which is not accessible to anyone without proper credentials.

You can ask your employees or beta testers to evaluate this duplicate website. This will allow your team members to find bugs and solve errors publicly before launching.

After all the testing, it's time to launch your redesigned website. You can either do a soft launch where a limited number of people interact with it. This can be another form of testing where you monitor the user's interaction with the website and fix bugs if any.

After a week of your soft launch, you can roll this new service out to your customers. Guide them through the changes you have made to the website and its benefits. Make sure to gather feedback and solve bugs to continue improving your website.

Final thoughts: How often should you redesign your website?

Redesigning your website isn't a simple task. We would say that it is more difficult than building a website from scratch. However, when done right, it yields over-the-top results that help your business thrive in this competitive world.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to when you should redesign your website. It all depends on how fast the digital world has grown. If you think your website is getting outdated and isn't delivering results, then opting for a redesign could be an option.

However, as a rule of thumb, you can think of a redesign once every two-three years. This will give you ample time to think of design changes or features you would like to add to your website in the coming year. Website redesign is an ongoing process since there will always be something to include or revamp to match users' expectations.

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