When redesigning your site, it’s easy to get caught up in the new colors, images and feel of your site. However, there’s a lot to a redesign project besides the new design itself. This is why it’s important to stay organized and communicate regularly with your team. That being said, here are seven things you need to keep in mind when redesigning your website:
1) Know your website goals
At the end of the day, why are you doing this redesign? What is the purpose of your website? Keeping your website goals at the heart of all your decisions when completing your redesign will help resolve any disputes that come up.
2) Know your user personas
Along with your goals, you’ll need to remember who you’re redesigning your site for. This will help you make decisions on everything from color to layout and content. By knowing you your user personas are and what they need from your site, you can design a site that is not only visually appealing, but useful as well.
3) Know the stakeholders and keep all parties informed
Redesign projects are definitely one of the more sexy IT projects many companies take on - this is because you can actually see the results of the work (unlike some IT projects that happen completely behind the scenes). Because of this, redesign projects tend to have a large team of stakeholders who all want to have a say in what happens. Make sure you know who the stakeholders are in your company and come up with a way to keep everyone informed of the latest decisions and updates that works for your team (for some, this may be emails, for others you may need an internal Wiki to post updates).
4) Create an inventory of all website content
You don’t want to just throw away everything on your old site and start over. You’ve invested a lot of time and energy into creating great content for your site. This, however, is a great opportunity to prune your content and make sure you only keep the best of what you have. This is where creating a detailed content inventory is key. You should make note of everything in your site and whether you want to keep it, rewrite it, or toss it.
5) Take note of your current SEO
SEO is a great column to add into your content inventory as a way to track how your redesign is helping (or hurting) your SEO rankings. Make note of the content, how many visits it gets, what keywords it has, how many links are on the page, etc. to help you track your SEO during your redesign. If not monitored properly, you can stand to really damage the SEO you’ve built for your site through careless things like forgetting a 301 redirect or deleting a page that ranked well for your top keywords.
6) Plan out your content migration
Ok, so you have your content inventory and you know how you’re going to handle your SEO, but how are you going to actually move your content into your new design? There are several options available and depending on the size and complexity of your site, you may end up using several different methods. For smaller, less complex sites, a simple copy and paste will most likely work well. However, if your site is more than a couple hundred pages, manual migration not only ends up being a time suck, but the rate of errors increases. This is where some companies will create their own custom scripts to automate the migration. While faster than manual, creating scripts and testing them can also take a significant amount of time and money. Tools like Siteport work well for sites that are large and complex as it automates your migration without the need for manual migration or script development from your team.
7) Test, test and test again
Your new design looks great, but does everything work? Before you reveal your design to the world, make sure you test that everything is working as you’d like it to. This includes forms, videos, downloads and more. Testing is key to any good redesign and shouldn’t be left out or cut down to save on your timeline.
Redesign projects are no small feat, but done correctly, they can make a world of difference for your website. Make sure you properly plan for all aspects of your redesign and that all members of your team are on the same page to ensure a smooth project with optimal results.