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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.

If you want to go through a website redesign by yourself, then you have to have a strategically intentional plan to get it done. Here are your first steps. #websitedesign #websiteredesign #showit #showitdesign #websiteinspiration #diywebdesign
Think of this post as a list of ways to add some creative finishing touches to your site – like adding in that last art print on your gallery wall or picking the perfect couch pillow. #websitedesign #websiteredesign #showit #showitdesign #websiteinspiration #diywebdesign
Open this post for 7 easy ways anyone can boost their website's creativity without a fancy design degree (or wasting a bunch of hours). #websitedesign #websiteredesign #showit #showitdesign #websiteinspiration #diywebdesign
Creative web design isn't always about colors and typography - finding strategic ways to use icons and images to show instead of tell is a powerful tool. Open this post for 7 easy ways anyone can boost their website's creativity without a fancy design degree (or wasting a bunch of hours). #websitedesign #websiteredesign #showit #showitdesign #websiteinspiration #diywebdesign
If you have any symbols or graphic elements in your branding, strategically (or randomly) placing them throughout your website incorporates your branding and will easily boost your website creativity. Open this post for 7 easy ways anyone can boost their website's creativity without a fancy design degree (or wasting a bunch of hours). #websitedesign #websiteredesign #showit #showitdesign #websiteinspiration #diywebdesign
No one likes to do a lot of reading on the internet (crazy I know) and they for sure don’t want to stare at a big block of text. Break that text up (logically) and find different ways to arrange the paragraphs on that page. Open this post for 7 easy ways anyone can boost their website's creativity without a fancy design degree (or wasting a bunch of hours). #websitedesign #websiteredesign #showit #showitdesign #websiteinspiration #diywebdesign

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.

(and when you’re ready for that, click here to see if we would be a good fit.)

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.

website-redesign-process

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. 

No bueno. 

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: 

  1. What am I missing in regards to functionality?
  2. What are the call to actions on each page?
  3. Can I easily see the goals of each page?
  4. What do I like about the written content on each page? Is it full or personality? Super informative? Stuffy and boring?
  5. How do they talk about themselves on their about page?
  6. 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 easiests 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.

website-redesign-pain-points-tips

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.

Later in this post, we’re gonna go through the essentials on each page and how you can actually physically layout your website using that info.

FREE RESOURCE - Website Revamp Roadmap: ready to redesign your website yourself but aren't sure where to start? Download this roadmap and get started TODAY. #websitedesign #smallbusiness #smallbusinessbranding #smallbusinessmarketing

The Basic Building Blocks of Every Successful Website

And who doesn’t wanna be successful?

A website that takes their visitors on a curated journey through their brand story, their content, and leads them to their offerings is a website that was crafted strategically.

So let’s get into how you can garner that magic: 

What the behind the scenes basics of every page needs, no matter the content:

Each page needs these three things no matter if they’re your homepage, about, services, etc. 

They’re so universal that you’re setting yourself up for some pretty slow growth if you don’t take care of them: 

  1. A clearly defined purpose: each page has to have a reason and that reason has to tie back to at least one of your three website goals. Preferably, each page should serve either your primary goal or secondary goal exclusively. For example, the purpose of your services page is to educate visitors about your offerings and their benefits. This page serves your primary goal of booking more qualified leads. 
  2. Call to action: these CTA’s are super important and every single page has to have one. You have to physically tell people where to go. On your about page you could send them to your portfolio or product shop list, and your portfolio should logically send them to your services page. 
  3. Think logically about your CTA’s and where you’re leading people. 
  4. The Right Keywords: SEO is your friend so make sure that each of your pages mentions your primary keywords so you can get found on our good friend Google. 

Now that you know the basic MUST HAVES of any page on your site, here are some ideas when it comes to elements and content on the most important pages on your site: Your homepage, about, and contact, services page. 

Essential Homepage Elements:

Images: you can have all or some of these. Do what works for your biz. 

  1. Your headshot
  2. Photos of your team
  3. Images of your product (preferably being used if possible!)
  4. Snapshots from your portfolio

Basic Questions to answer: 

  1. Who you are
  2. What your business does/makes
  3. Who your business does/makes things for
  4. Why do these things/services matter to them
  5. What pain does are you solving 

Dip into the “why behind the why” on your homepage:

On your homepage is one of the best places to dip into the why behind the why behind your customer’s reason for being in business. 

Here’s an example: say you’re a wedding photographer. 

  1. I’m a wedding photographer for modern brides that are terrified of stiff and boring photos. 
    1. Why? Because they want something genuine and authentic to represent their the love and laughter on their special day.
      1. Why do they want that? Because they want their children and future generations to have something to cherish for years to come that truly represents who their family is.
        1. Why? Because at the end of the day, family means everything to my brides, and they love their families, spouses, and children intensely and want reminders of that love. 

See what I did there? It was very rough, but I hope it makes sense.

You want to find a way to tap into those last two layers of those why’s on your homepage so you can make an emotional connection. 

A not so about you about page

Your about page isn’t about you and if that hurts I’m sorry, but you’re gonna have to live with that. Your about page is about how you’re the best fit for the job. Or how your product is the best product for the job. 

It’s about showcasing your credentials, social proof (aka testimonials and stats), and talking about why they should truly care about what you’re offering.

You want to show them why it matters in the grand scheme of their life/business.

You’ll also need a photo of yourself. Or two. 

Your services page: 

Your services page can mirror your homepage a bit when it comes to content. You’re going to answer the same questions: the who, what, when, where, all of the whys, and these two extras: 

  1. Your process: nobody knows your process better than you, and that’s where the disconnect and the anxiety can come from when a lead lands on your services page. To them, what you do is a big scary thing, and they need you to guide them through it all. Use some space on this page to walk them through your process (don’t give too much detail we don’t wanna overwhelm anybody) so they can see how they’re going to get the results that you promise.
  2. Next Steps: Don’t confuse this with your CTA. They’re related, but not the same. The CTA for this page is to fill out your inquiry form. Talking about the next steps is more like: “After you fill out that form, I’ll get back to you to schedule your discovery call”. The action you want them to take is first, then what’s gonna happen next. 

Your contact page: 

The contact page is a special beast for me.

I generally don’t have a call to action on that page that takes them to another page, I just encourage them to actually fill out the page and submit.

I heavily suggest you put your hours of operation and how long it’ll take for you to get back to them once they send in that form.

Remember, the name of the game is managing expectations from the very beginning and staying a few steps ahead. 

A cool idea (if you wanna give it a shot) is to automatically send them to a special thank you page that can lead somewhere else.

That other page could have blog posts about your process, or encourage them to connect with you on social media.  Give it a thought. 

FREE RESOURCE - Website Revamp Roadmap: ready to redesign your website yourself but aren't sure where to start? Download this roadmap and get started TODAY. #websitedesign #smallbusiness #smallbusinessbranding #smallbusinessmarketing

Whew girl! That was a lot. I hope that you were able to find even one nugget of information from all of that. At the end of it all, I want you to have fun with this website redesign process. It can be a pretty eye-opening experience.

I know from going through my own website redesign and from client work that going through this process can teach you a lot; you’ll learn about finding your voice, discovering and honing in your style, and building your confidence.

I never thought that I was a good writer, especially for my business. But once I started to develop my voice and make tweaks to my own copy, I’ve noticed that I’m kind of good at it. 

Give it a shot. Give yourself some grace and some time to get it done. Have fun, man. 

Love ya, Ash.

I think you’ll also like:

The Website Redesign Ultimate Guide

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