Are you thinking about a brand new design for your website or blog? Well, if you are, the first thing you’re going to need is an effective plan of action.
Why a plan of action is so important
For one very simple reason, a plan of action will help you take the necessary steps required to complete your web design project successfully.
Without an action plan, you will most likely struggle to start and worst still, you’ll struggle to finish your redesign project.
Luckily for you, below I have outlined 12 steps you need to take to help you get your new website design project executed and completed successfully.
So, are you ready? Let’s do this.
#1. Defining your target audience
Before you start anything, the first thing you want to do is define your website’s, or your blog’s target audience.
Here’s what you need to know if you don’t already –
- Who is using your website?
- Who is reading your blog?
- What device or web browser are folks using to visit your website or blog?
- Are the folks visiting your site or blog actually doing what you want them to do, i.e. buy, signing up, reading your content, hiring you, etc?
You can use Google Analytics to help you find answers to some of those questions.
#2. Defining your website or blog’s goals and objectives
Next, you’ll need to define your website or blog’s goals, objectives, mission, etc. Ask yourself the following –
- What do you want people to do when they arrive at your blog or website, if they are not already doing it? For example, do you want them to go straight to your blog, or do you want them to check out your products or services, or communicate with you directly, etc?
- What pages/content do you want them to land/visit mostly on your website or blog?
Once you’ve identified what, next take a look at how. For instance –
- How easy is it for your visitors to currently find the content they’re looking for, or products and services, or to make contact with you?
- How effective are your current call-to-actions?
#3. Creating a wireframe or two
Once you have learned more about your target audience and decided on what your website’s goals and objectives are, you can start to go to work on a prototype design and layout for your new website or blog.
Take into consideration all of the information you gathered in defining your target audience, website goals, and objectives.
Come up with a wireframe design that makes it easier for your target visitors to do what you want them to do on your site, i.e navigate around your content, signup, etc.
The tools I love to use to create wireframe designs are –
- Affinity Designer for the Mac.
- Macaw for the Mac.
#4. Preparing content for your website
Next thing to think about is website content, or copywriting.
Well, actually, I would highly recommend that you create your copy to fit around your wireframe design, and not the other way around.
Your website’s copywriting is such a huge critical element of your web design project.
As well as providing important information to your visitors, your copy will also help to reinforce your brand’s message clearly.
Unfortunately, many web designers use copy as an afterthought, when it clearly should be part of the design.
Here’s what you need to ask yourself –
- Are you going to use the existing copy on your old site, or create new copy?
- If you’re going to create new copy, are you going to create it yourself, or are you going to outsource it? Click here to learn more.
#5. Setting your budget
OK, so now we get onto the subject of budgeting for your website design project.
Here’s what you need to ask yourself –
- How much do you want to spend on your entire web design project?
- How much can you afford to spend right now?
Of course, the more things you add to your web design list of requirements, the more expensive the job is going to end up costing.
Some people like to invest in the main design and layout, and later on think about upgrading other aspects such as images, graphics, icons, and copywriting even.
#6. Hiring a web designer or DIY job?
Right, next up is finding a reliable web designer or developer to help you take your design project from initial idea and planning, to execution.
If you’re going to hire someone, here’s what you need to get from your designer after researching them –
- Estimated cost.
We’ll take a look at timeframes and deadlines next.
Or, maybe your web design project is something you’d rather undertake yourself.
Once again, if you’re thinking about hiring a designer for your project, make sure you do your research well to start with. You can also check out sites like UpWork to help you find the right designer/developer for the job.
#7. Setting a time-frame or deadline
One of the most critical elements of a web design project is the timeframe.
How long will it take to complete your new website design?
Now, talking purely from experience here, of course, many of the clients that I’ve worked with in the past have always stipulated that they wanted their website to be up and running within a week or so.
So, whilst you are thinking of a deadline for your own website or blog project, just make sure you are realistic about it.
Here’s what you need to ask yourself –
- What is the ‘realistic’ deadline that I can accept for my project?
- If you don’t have a deadline, when would you like the project to be completed by?
If you are outsourcing a web designer, make sure that you make it clear to them that you have a deadline in mind for your project, straight from the word go.
This is super important because it will cut through any confusion later on.
#8. Working on your web design project
So, now that you have everything in place set to go, it’s time to actually begin working on your web design project.
Of course, if you are hiring someone to do the work for you, you’ll be relying on them to actually do the work and report back to you with a progress update every week or so.
If you’re designing your website or blog yourself, then you are in control of progress. In fact, you’re in control of pretty much everything.
#9. Evaluating progress
Whether you set small milestone deadlines or not for your website design project, it’s important, from time to time, to stop and look back at the progress you’ve made.
If something needs changing or fixing, its best that you know about it straight away, so that you can do something about it quickly.
If you are using a designer, make sure he or she communicates with you with timely ‘progress report’ so that you can evaluate things properly.
#10. Optimizng your website (SEO, readability, page speed, AMP, etc)
Once 90% or more of your website design project is complete, including layout, content, images, videos, and all the rest of it, it’s time to start optimizing for things like SEO, AMP, Social, page speed, mobile responsiveness, etc.
Here is a list of tools I recommend using for doing all of those things above (if you have designed your site yourself) –
#11. Finalizng your design
This stage is critical because it’s the last stage before launching your new site or blog for the world to see.
You need to ask yourself the following questions –
- Is everything on your web design checklist complete?
- Am I 110% satisfied with everything I set out to achieve with my new website design project?
- Asides your website looking fantastic, does everything function as it should be, i.e contact forms, order forms, eCommerce, buttons, plugins (WordPress), etc.
#12. Launching your website
Go ahead and launch your brand new redesigned website or blog for your audience to see.
Optimizing for better conversions
Designing a new website for better conversion rates can be a challenge in itself.
However, once your new site has been up live for a few weeks or so, you’ll be able to gather sufficient data and information to help you make those all-important design tweaks to help increase your conversion rate even more.
If you require help with website conversion rate optimization, check out my free mini-course here.
Redesigning your website or your blog can be frustrating, testing, taxing on your resources and everything in between. It can also be fun and exciting too.
And, if you follow the simple steps above to create your plan of action the best you can, you will have your brand new site or blog up and running in no time at all, and, with minimal delay.
Best of luck to you.
Do you need help with your website redesign and branding? Click here to see how I can help you.