How to Redesign a Website: Actionable Advice with No Fluff

You may turn a website redesign from a tiresome process into an exciting project if you properly prepare for this undertaking and take the necessary actions.

Natalia Borysko

You’re here because you realized - you aren’t happy with your website. Whether your brand concept changed, conversions dropped, or you simply decided to make your digital “home” fancy and trendy, you should tackle a website redesign with all seriousness to achieve truly outstanding results. It’s easy to mess things up without a defined website redesign strategy behind your actions. 

If you want your website redesign to go smoothly and ultimately bring you closer to your business goals, keep reading this article. We’ll discuss what you should do before starting your website redesign process and what steps to take to ensure your redesign endeavor’s effectiveness.

What is a website redesign?

To start with, let’s make it clear what “redesign” means. If you just want to slightly change a website layout, does it mean you need to redesign or ...?Our designers always tell clients that before investing time and resources into the project, it’s better to decide what level of changes they expect a website would undergo. A website redesign implies significant changes of the “inner” and “outer” site elements like code, structure, visuals, navigation, and content. Done properly, the website redesign leads to bounce rate decrease, conversion growth, and user experience enhancement. 

Redesign vs. refresh

You can compare a website redesign to a complete overhaul of a house when you leave only the basement and walls and build the rest of the construction from zero. And if you just want to repaint the bedroom walls, you will more likely only need to purchase paint and brushes, won’t you?

Whereas a website redesign can entail considerable alterations of architecture, functionality, visuals, and content, a website refresh focuses on minor renovations. For example, if you want to change how the site looks and feels, you can try a different color palette or typography, and that will refresh the UI. Or, let’s say, you conducted a UX audit and then decided to change CTA buttons’ shape and color, and increase the contrast between text and background to improve accessibility in UX. These modifications will also fall under the website refresh. 

And now you may have a logical question - how can you understand if the redesign moment has come?

Is it time for a redesign? Let’s check!

You have two options - rely on your subjective feeling or refer to analytics. I would do both. If your site brings you leads who regularly convert into customers, there should be no need for total transformation. In case you feel (and the data proves) that things are not like you suppose them to be, that’s a time to think about giving your website a second chance.

Also, try answering the following questions:

  • Does the current website version convert leads?
  • Are there any technical issues with the website?
  • Are you generally satisfied with the website’s performance?
  • Is the site mobile-friendly?
  • Is it accessible?

I imagine your answers “yes” and “no” made up a certain proportion. If you have more negative than positive answers - chances are the website redesign is what you need. Then, let’s talk about how to prepare for a website redesign.

Things to consider when redesigning a website

To make the redesign as effective as possible, you should make clear questions before starting a process.

  1. Define the most important pages

You can do this by finding how traffic and conversions are interrelated. It will be a sort of BCG matrix in terms of website pages.

You should be very careful when redesigning high traffic and high conversion pages. Pages with low traffic and low conversion you can redesign more freely.
Image credit: Hotjar

High conversion, high traffic pages are your bread and butter. Any unsuccessful changes can lead to terrific consequences ending up in traffic and conversions decline. That’s why you should be very careful when implementing any adjustments, as they may do you a disservice. 

High conversion, low traffic pages require the same caution. Even though the traffic is not high, these pages show good results from the conversion point of view.

There is something that doesn’t work for conversions in case of high traffic, low conversion pages. You can experiment with these pages as you don’t risk conversions anyway. And the pages with low traffic and low conversion have nothing to lose, so you’re welcome to make any modifications. 

This exercise will help you understand which pages are “cows,” bringing you traffic and conversions that you don’t want to break.

  1. Identify bottlenecks in user experience

Any frictions in the user journey hinder customers from reaching their goals. Before starting redesign, it’s crucial to detect the obstacles users face when interacting with your website.

Here is what you should investigate:

  • Where are those gaps in user experience?
  • What do customers like or dislike about your product?
  • Is there any significant difference between web and mobile website performance?
  • Do people have difficulties performing desired actions? (for example, CTA buttons don’t work as expected)
  • What are those FUDs (fears, uncertainties, doubts) that stop leads from converting?

You can get valuable insights from website analytics (like, for example, Google Analytics or Mixpanel) and from the applications that analyze customers’ on-page behavior and interactions with website elements (like Hotjar and Crazy Egg). 

A heat map showing the webpage areas users more frequently interact with
Image credit: crazyegg.com

We have an extensive overview of UX audit tools in the dedicated article; please check it out. 

Besides analytical software, users’ session recordings and on-site surveys, which enable users to send you instant feedback about what’s going wrong on the website, will also assist you in gathering customer data.

  1. Determine website performance indicators

Whatever design changes you implement, they should be tied to business objectives. Therefore, to check how redesign impacts your business, set key metrics that will indicate any improvements in business performance after the website overhaul.

If you sell from your website (and I assume, you do), then your key metrics might be:

  • Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
  • Average order value (AOL)
  • Conversion rate
  • Churn rate
  • Customer lifetime value (LTV)

In addition to quantitative data, customer satisfaction metrics will hint if your redesign works.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) - you can send a survey to your loyal customers asking if they find the upgraded website more user-friendly, attractive, and functional than its previous version.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) - if more users than before are going to advise your website to their friends or colleagues, it’s already a pretty good sign. 

Customer Effort Score (CES) - the fewer efforts customers make to reach their goals on your website, the better interaction experience they will have, and the more likely they will thank you by making a purchase.


Customer effort score shows how many effors users put to complete an online order starting from high to low effort
CES survey example from retently.com
  1. Test the elements you want to alter

Before implementing the global changes in website structure and user interface, try A/B testing separate elements and check if they entail any performance improvements compared to the current website version.

For example, you can test:

  • Logo, colors, and fonts
  • Product pages design and content
  • Home page eye flow
  • Images, icons, and infographics
  • Contact forms and checkout
  • Design of links and buttons

Once you’re finished with the above, you’re halfway done preparing for a successful website revamp and ready to move to the next stage of the redesign process.

7 steps to make a website redesign happen

Since I promised in the title of this article there’ll be no fluff here, let’s move to the website redesign steps straight away. Depending on your ultimate business goals, you can add or omit some steps; they’re not set in stone. Just use them as a reference to remind yourself what else you can do to ensure your website redesign project will be successful.

Step 1: Analyze website performance

Your goal is to check current monthly performance and compare it later to the redesigned website indicators. Below are some metrics you can choose from depending on the relevance of each for your case.

  • Number of website visitors
  • Dwell (or on-page) time
  • Bounce rate
  • Best-performing and lead-generating keywords 
  • Number of leads
  • SEO rankings for main keywords
  • Domain authority

Once you’ve selected essential metrics you will refer to, I recommend coming to the next important step.

Step 2: Document current metrics

You can do it in a spreadsheet devoting one separate sheet to one web page of your site. It may look something like this table. 

The spreadsheet example showing what metrics you can write down before starting the redesign process
Image credit: Crazy Egg

Also, to be on the safe side, it would be better to back up the recent version of the website before starting a redesign. This way, you won’t lose existing SEO content in case you decide to leverage it later on the updated pages. 

Step 3: Set redesign goals

For this step, you can use the metrics you selected at Step 1 and concentrate on those you want to improve. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the essence of the redesign is not only giving your site a new look and feel but also enhancing your business performance. To understand if you achieve your goals, you should connect them to the measurable results and make your involved team aware of what you’re working on. It can be:

  • Number of website visitors growth
  • Bounce rate decrease
  • Number of total leads increase
  • Domain authority improvement
  • SEO rankings enhancement

Step 4: Know your buyer personas

Understanding who your customers are and what they are looking for on your website helps you provide people with relevant and timely information. What is also important is that you won’t bother users with offerings they don’t really need at the moment. Thus, they will feel cared for and more likely to return when ready to purchase. 

The typical way of getting your target audience’s portrait is by creating so-called customer (or buyer) personas based on psychographic data and jobs these ideal customers need to be done.

According to the research Google conducted some years ago, people have four main intents when surfing the internet: “I want to know,” “I want to go,” “I want to do,” and “I want to buy.”

Google thinks that when users are surfing the internent they pursue one of the four intents: I want to know, I want to go, I want to do, and I want to buy
Buyer personas according to Google research

If the design and content on your landing page push visitors to the purchase whereas they just want to read about product characteristics, chances are high they’ll exit soon. Customer personas give you an idea of how to design and what content to focus on to improve business results when making a website redesign.

Step 5: Be cautious with your SEO pages

You already know your most important pages. The next task is to protect them with a 301 redirect. Redirects are crucial to retain the traffic and link value of the current pages during the redesign process. Create a simple spreadsheet to map your old and new URLs and then pass the document to your tech-savvy staff to implement necessary changes.

What else you can do with your new pages is to natively embed essential keywords into the content to cover topics that probably didn’t have much attention on the previous website version.

Step 6: Check your competitors

Unless you entered a blue ocean, it’s worth checking your competitors’ websites and conducting competitive analysis. It may bring you lots of insights on what you can do better than your market rivals. 

Being a SaaS design partner, we at Eleken believe that a business should not necessarily be the best in its league or produce something unique to operate successfully. In most cases, it’s enough to craft your value proposition according to your target audience’s needs and perform a bit better than the competition in terms of product and service. 

Step 7: Start building a website redesign plan

It is next to impossible to effectively arrange the redesign process without a detailed plan and strict timelines. Whether you involve in-house designers or decide to collaborate with a website redesign agency, appoint a person accountable for approving all the changes. 

Also, make sure you clearly expressed all your design expectations and the other party comprehended them. We’re talking more about a website redesign project plan in a separate article; please check it out.

Design tips to improve website UX

As a design agency, we can’t leave you without the design tips that undoubtedly help to improve user experience and increase your redesign effectiveness.

So, working on your website redesign, try:

  • Using fair contrast between text and background
  • Optimizing your website from an SEO perspective
  • Adding visuals and unique brand elements to make your website recognizable
  • Considering voice website search option
  • Making all pages mobile-friendly

Think, that’s it? Not really

Even though your fresh design may work pretty well for some time, keep an eye on changes in market trends, design practices, and customer preferences. As we all live in a fast-paced environment, chances are you’ll have to start your redesign process again in a year or so. Contact us if you need any help in your website redesign, and see you in our next articles. 

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