Redesigning your website can be fun, especially if you’ve kept the same design and appearance for more than 3 – 4 years, but a website redesign can be quite risky, especially if you’re an established website or blog. However, redesigning your website might be indispensable for more than one reasons, and something you must consider after 2 – 3 years.
Just like an offline store, redesigning a website can be quite a pain, but if done right, it can turn out to be quite beneficial. Following is a step by step guide for webmasters or bloggers looking to redesign their website.
Step 1 – Evaluating
Do you really need a website redesign? Will it be adding to the usability, accessibility, or readability of the website, or you are simply bored of your old design? Are you looking for a particular feature or some change that can be achieved with minor tweaks or additions in the coding? Do you want a redesign simply because one of your competitors has launched a new website with stellar design? Do you really need to change the looks and feel of your website?
Answering to all of these questions is important because website redesign can be quite costly and time consuming. Going for a redesign just because you are getting consumed with envy of your competitor’s website is not the right approach, unless their websites offer some new features or technology that will add to the users’ experience. Going for a redesign solely for aesthetic reasons, or simply because you are bored of the old looks might not be a good idea.
Step 2 – Planning
Once you are done with the evaluation, and you have got solid reasons to go for redesigning your website. It’s now time to do your homework. To start with, you need to have a clear set of goals and objectives. You might be looking to take advantage of some new technology, or trying to evolve with the changing trends? You might be looking to improve the users’ experience, or to create a more responsive website? Whatever the reasons, you need to have a clear idea of your objectives to make sure all of your efforts and investment wouldn’t go in vain. The planning part also includes putting yourself in the user’s shoes and making sure you are not annoying them with drastic changes that serve no real purpose.
A website redesign is the ideal time to get a hang of new technologies, or the ever changing “best practices”, for example Schema, which is a markup language search engines use to improve their search results. Last but not the least; create a wire-frame or mock ups while keeping the budget in mind.
Step 3 – Designing:
You might manage launching a new website while using one of those easily available CMS, themes, and templates, but in case you are looking to redesign an established website, you should probably leave it to the professionals. In most cases, redesigning a website, and retaining the good stuff while improving upon the obsolete or bad stuff will require a lot more skills than simply designing a website from scratch. But while you should leave the technical aspects to professionals, you should be involved in the entire process to make sure you will be getting a final product that you were looking for, and that too in time.
Step 4 – Follow up:
Doesn’t matter how good is the redesign; but your users or stakeholders will take some time in getting accustomed to the new website. So, the job is not done as soon as the redesign project is completed. You will need to spend some time on conveying the main purposes and advantages of the redesign to users and stakeholders. If possible, you should observe the users behavior after the redesign, or conduct a simple survey to know their thoughts on the new design.