So you’ve decided that a website redesign is what your business truly needs, but you’re not ready to hire a designer yet?
Or maybe you’re on the fence about redesigning your site and wanna know what you’re getting yourself into.
I hear you.
And I commend you for realizing the importance that your website plays in your business and brand’s reputation.
So you finally giving it the time and attention it deserves is FANTASTIC..
No judgement here.
I’ve moved the same tasks from one to-do list to another multiple times before (*cough cough* batch processing Instagram posts).
You’re here for help with redesigning your website so let’s get it. This post is a BIG ONE.
It’s long, but filled with tips and tricks that I hope you can find useful and use them on your own site.
You don’t have to be a designer to build a site that makes you look professional and keeps you afloat until it’s time to outsource.
You can’t shameless plug on your own site 🙂
Let’s get into it.
How important is my website really?
We all hear about those special unicorns that build six figure businesses with only a facebook page or only an Instagram profile. Could you be one of those people? Sure.
Should you want to be one of those people? Probably not.
Here’s why: when those platforms decide to change their algorithms on you with no warning (*cough* Instagram) and your reach and community take a dive, you’re going to spend more of your time trying to adapt to the algorithm.
Sounds like not a good use of your time.
But Ash, I heard from a little bird that Google just changed their algorithm!
Yup, they did. But guess what? Google isn’t going anywhere. It’s just…..not. So taking time to build a website that all of your marketing to can lead back to and where search engines can point people to can keep you soaring forward when/if IG decides to close their doors.
Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.
Why bother with a website redesign?
Don’t think that just because I’m a web designer, that I want everybody and their mama to redesign their website. Besides great design, another thing I value is not wasting my time.
Some of you don’t need to redesign your website. Here’s why: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
If you’re increasing your traffic, meeting your goals, and pushing your business forward, then leave your website alone.
If you find new strategies that you want to try, then I suggest making little tweaks to your website to see if you can push your growth forward.
However, if you answer yes to any of these questions below, then a website redesign should definitely be in your future:
1) Is your design outdated?
2) Are people landing on your site but not converting? (aka are people not/no longer purchasing or signing up?)
3) Has someone(s) mentioned to you that your website is hard to use?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, then it’s time for a website redesign my friend.
Should I hire somebody or do it myself?
Ahh a great question and one where my answer might surprise you.
In a nutshell, my answer is this: if you’re just getting started/you’ve been in business for about 2 years or less – redesign your website yourself.
Here’s why: hiring a designer (a good one with a good process) will work with you through a “discovery” or an “onboarding” phase, where we’ll ask you all sorts of deep and maybe even uncomfortable questions about your business.
We want to get to know you and what makes your business tick. We want to know what success and failure looks like for you in regards to your business and the redesign project yall are about to do.
The answers to those questions are super important. If you’re not clear and firm on those answers, the result you get may be a bandaid solution.
So it won’t matter that you’re $4k in the hole – if you don’t have a strong enough brand and business foundation to actually capitalize on your new website.
You’ll be looking for another designer soon.
I say go through the website redesign process yourself (with the help of this post and the resources sprinkled in it) and do it yourself.
Build that confidence that comes with doing your own research, turning that into something visual and strategic, and making a run with it.
If the actual design part of it is giving you the cringe face, then toss around the idea of purchasing a template for your site.
Check Station Seven out if you’re looking for Squarespace templates, or I have a few templates in the Fourth House Co. shop that you can easily customize to fit your brand no matter the industry (#confidentplug)
However, here is when you should hire a designer:
If you’ve been in business for a while and you’re looking to scale, expand your offerings, or have simply outgrown your current website, working with a designer is great option for you.
What’s the best way to start?
I’ve seen and gone through many website redesigns in my time, and I can tell you this: The more time you spend on everything but the design, the easier the design will be.
The actual designing of your website comes last. The assessment, strategy, content gathering, marketing plan come first.
Your design will be so much smoother to flesh out when you have all of the right elements in play.
Cool? Let’s do it.
Preparing for your Website Redesign the Right Way
Step One: Take Notes on Your Current Website
The name of the game for a smart website redesign is to plan something strategically stable and visually appealing.
We don’t want to have to touch your website for the next few milestones in your business.
Grab a pen and paper or open up a fresh Google doc and go through each page of your website; writing down everything that you don’t like about your site.
I want to say be ruthless with this step (I critique my own work pretty hard so don’t be like me).
Truly look at every element, block of text, what you think of the fonts, colors, images, etc.
Any thoughts that come to your head, write it down.
Here are some questions to think about as you’re going through this:
Put yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor:
1) Is the goal of this page clear?
2) If this is the homepage, how quickly does someone find out what I do?
3) Do people know who I work with primarily?
4) Where do I talk about the benefits of my service/product?
5) Is there a clear call to action on every page (and if so how many are there?)
Keep all of your notes near your computer and wherever you work. We’ll use it as a checklist at the end of the design process to make sure that you turned those negatives into positives.
Step Two: Research your competition
There’s a difference between researching your competition and straight up copying them.
One, if you straight up copy – your website won’t sound or look like your brand.
Two, their strategies might not work for your business. So you’re back at square one with a website that doesn’t work for you.
Here’s how you do this research right:
Pick about 5 people in your industry that you like. And I mean you really like. You think they have a strong brand, give valuable content, and are overall good at what they do.
Pull up their website ask yourself these questions:
- What am I missing in regards to functionality?
- What are the call to actions on each page?
- Can I easily see the goals of each page?
- What do I like about the written content on each page? Is it full or personality? Super informative? Stuffy and boring?
- How do they talk about themselves on their about page?
- What don’t I like about their site? What do I think I could do better on mine?
Don’t look at their services or their portfolio if that’s going to give you anxiety. No judgment here – there’s no need to start comparing yourself.
Get what you came for and get off.
Step Three: Define your goals and prioritize them
This is a section a lot of people skip over (this step and step four).
You’re really doing yourself a disservice by skipping them.
If I had to put money on it, it’s probably the number one reason why you’re going through this website redesign process in the first place:
You hopped, skipped, and jumped over defining your website goals.
It’s a part that’s often skipped, but yet is really one of the easiest steps.
Here’s how you do it:
Think of your top three goals that you want your website to achieve for your business.
Then, think of the top three ACTIONS that you want people to take that will help you achieve those goals.
(see those are two different things!)
Write those things down, then think about which of those actions makes the most sense for each of your pages.
For example, if one of your GOALS is to get more leads, then the ACTION that you want people to take on your services page should probably be to fill out your inquiry form or schedule a call with you (however you get people in the door).
Pretty easy stuff fam. Do that for every page. I honestly suggest having 1-2 actions on each page. I whittled the actions on each page of the Fourth House down to about 1.
Bonus tip: Call to actions should be placed throughout the page, but put the action you want people to take the most at the very bottom. Not everyone that lands on your site is gonna read everything you right, and many will scroll to the bottom. Give them something to do since they wanna skip over the good stuff.
Step Four: Define Your Target Audience & Their Customer Journey
Ohh yeah people love to skip over this step – and too be completely honest I did too. I did a million client avatar exercises and I was tired of it.
Those exercises do have a purpose, and I say do one and that’s it. But I like to think of my target audience in a different way.
The word audience means more than one person, so I’m not gonna sit here and say that everyone in my target audience reads Kinfolk or Southern Weddings magazine.
That’s not the most important thing.
What’s important is where they are in their journey when they need you the most.
It’s with that mindset that you should write your website content and blog posts with: at what moment in her business and her life would she be in when she needs my services and is in the position to say “Yes! I’m ready to work with her. Let’s do it chief.”
Depending on your service or product, that may be early on in their business (maybe social media strategy or SEO), or midway in their business (this is where I like to position my services at the moment).
Or when they’ve been in the groove for a while and want to upgrade their digs (course launching copywriting, membership site help, etc.)
It’s all about positioning yourself and creating content that is going to hit home for the pain points they’re feeling right now; so they can avoid those icky feelings later that are gonna hold them back.
Tip: You know those feelings that they’re going to feel if they don’t work with you. Talk about them. Turn them into a positive reason to work with you.
Step Five: Gather Inspiration on Pinterest
Just like gathering inspiration from your competitors, Pinterest is a great place if you’re wanting to seriously change up the layout of your site.
When it comes to gathering Pinterest inspiration for your website redesign, I suggest that you actually pin things from a bunch of places. Color palettes, interiors, food, plants, etc.
Pin things that have your brand colors in them and that fit your mood, pin typography that has the style in it that you want, pin office spaces that you think your ideal client would work in, etc.
I think a lot about my ideal client when I’m gathering Pinterest inspiration. Ask yourself with each pin: what would she think about this? Would she like it? Would she buy it? Read it? Sit in it?
If the answer is yes, then you’re on the right track.
Also, take a look around some website inspiration and some layouts. This is to get your brain flowing and to think of how to set up your own layouts on your website.
Like this post? Pin it!
I think you’ll also like:
The Website Redesign Ultimate Guide
BRANDING + web design studio for creative entrepreneurs
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