Preparing ahead yields the best results in your website redesign
So you want to redesign your website. Good for you! If your website is outdated, embarrassing, looks unprofessional, or represents an older version of your business, you’ve made a good choice. If you’re getting fewer leads, it’s definitely time for a website redesign.
If you don’t have a website yet, you can use this checklist too! Wondering why you need a website?
Small business owners and their employees wear many hats, and most of my clients don’t know where to start with a redesign. They just know their website is old, it’s not getting results, or their business has changed a lot since their website was designed. They also need to focus on their work and not so much on the new website.
Preparing for your redesign can shorten the design process by making everything clear from the beginning. Surprises during the design process can alter timelines and create delays. Delays and gaps in the process make it difficult for your web design team to focus on your project. Going back to revisit your goals can also add costs to your website redesign.
How prepared do I need to be before I hire a web designer?
There are several things your website design team will want to know to give you an accurate quote. Other questions can wait until after your contract is signed.
The checklist I use asks my clients “what is working on your current website and what is not?” as well as who they see as their target audience. When these questions are difficult for people to answer, I can offer my clients pre-design services that help them find the answers. Wherever you are in the process, It’s best to let your designer know that, so you can get the results you want from your new website.
If you need services before you start the redesign process, ask your web design company whether they can offer the services, or refer you to a trusted professional. This way, you know the pre-design work you’re doing will work well with your website designer’s process.
Some services you may need before starting a website redesign can include:
- Headshots or branding photos
- Website audit
- Content marketing plan
Simple Website Redesign Checklist Download
I created this Simple Website Redesign Checklist to help my customers and their teams get the most out of collaborating on their website redesign. I don’t expect my customers to understand all of this. That’s why they’re working with an expert! Keep in mind that this is a simple list. There will be many more items you need for an e-commerce or membership website.
Download your checklist here, then read on to understand what it all means.
1. About your business
Do you know your customer? Your website design team will want to know who your customers are and what makes them tick. Tell us their age, income level, interests and everything that you know. We also want to know what drove them to look for your website. What problem do they need to solve? Do they have any deep-down desires? Tell us what sets you apart and how you are better at solving these problems than someone else.
If you’re attracting a lot of visitors but they aren’t your ideal customers, your website redesign might focus on connecting with the customers you really want to serve. We’ll also want to know about your competitors, and will count on you to be most familiar with them.
2. Your Website’s Goals
If you’re having your website redesigned, it’s likely that your current website isn’t accomplishing your goals. For example, you may be getting too many incompatible inquiries or not enough sales. Create a list of the exact goals you want your website to accomplish and then prioritize them.
Decide exactly what you want your customers to do. You can have multiple goals; just let us know which are the most important. Some common goals are:
- Hire me for services
- Sign up for an event
- Buy a product
- Schedule a consultation
- Buy a membership
- Sign up for my mailing list
- Share my blog posts
- Sign up for a webinar
Let us know what’s working on your current website and what’s not. Here are some questions you can ask yourself or your team about things your website can address:
- Are you repeating the same information constantly on sales calls? Would it make more sense to make that information available online?
- Do you need to show more credibility in order to make your customers comfortable enough to hire you?
- Does your website explain or illustrate your process for buyers who need more information to make their purchase decisions?
- What is the ideal way you want customers to contact you?
- What questions are asked most often by your customers?
- Is it easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for on your website?
- Have you been wanting to start a blog?
Whether you are writing your website content or hiring a copywriter, your web design team will benefit from any marketing or internal documents you have about your organization. This can include newsletters, advertisements, annual reports, mission and vision statements, even service agreements, if they help the team understand your process and philosophy.
If you plan to feature bios of your staff or board members, get those in order as part of your preparation. I recommend reviewing them so that they all have a similar tone and length.
Selling products or services? You’ll need full descriptions of everything you offer.
Gather testimonials and great reviews. Show your credibility. It may be time to ask more of your customers to post a google review or send you a written comment you can publish.
If you have specific branding guidelines developed, send those to your website team. If you don’t have brand guidelines, your website designer should be able to help you choose your website colors. If they’ve left that up to you, check out my post on choosing website colors.
Send your logo,, in every approved color or layout, to your website developer, preferably in the native Adobe Illustrator or .eps files. At a minimum, we will need high resolution .png or .jpg files.
If there are other company’s websites that you like, be sure to share them with your web design team.
If you’re planning to get new professional photos, get in touch with your photographer. Ideally, discuss your photo ideas with your web design team. Here are some photos you might want to gather or have retaken:
- Branding photos
- Services photos
Don’t forget videos! Video is a great way to engage your audience. Gather your videos or make new ones before your website redesign. I love this video from Video Prosperity on why and how you should be using video for your business.
Depending on your business and compliance requirements, you may also need Terms & Conditions, a return policy, and other disclosures. Website accessibility is also becoming more and more important and some industries may require higher levels of accessibility than others. As a small business owner myself, I find tremendous value in my LegalShield Membership (affiliate link). For a small monthly fee, LegalShield’s lawyers will help you figure out what policies you need to protect your business and personal assets.
7. Technical Website Needs
There are several pieces of your current website that your web developer will need access to. You may not understand or even remember you have them. Now is the time to look up those passwords. In most cases, adding your developer to your account is the best option. If you need to give them your user name and password, never send passwords over email. Use a service like LastPass or another encryption service, or provide the information in person.
Here are some of the accounts your web developer will need to access:
- Domain – A domain is your website’s address. Domain names used to start with www, but current practice doesn’t always require that. Common domain registrars are GoDaddy, domain.com, Network Solutions, or Name Cheap. Some people buy their domain name at the same place they buy hosting. GoDaddy, for example, makes it easy for you to give your web developer “delegate access.”
- Hosting – Hosting is the server that holds all of your website files. Some of the above domain registrars also offer hosting; check with your developer, as their recommendations could lead to better quality in performance and security. Other hosting providers include Siteground, Bluehost, and Dreamhost. If you want to change hosting providers, let your web developer know and they can help you choose the best option.
- Email provider – Sometimes web developers need access to your email account, so you’ll want to know what service you’re using.
- Email marketing service provider – Do you have an email newsletter in MailChimp, Constant Contact, or one of the many other providers? At some point your developer will need to connect that to your website if you’re collecting email addresses.
- Social media accounts – Provide links to all of your social media accounts. If you want your social media posts to appear on your website, we’ll also need to access tthe accounts.
- Credit card processing service
- Scheduling links
I hope this gets you on your way to a great website redesign!
An important skill to have as a website designer is to be able to take large amounts of information and make it easier for website visitors to follow and understand. I hope I did that for you by creating this list and article.
Your website is unique to your company, so you may need more than the information I’ve shared on this checklist. If you’re creating a membership website, have a lot of documents or pre-written blog posts, or sell products, you can avoid big delays in website development by gathering these in advance.
Don’t fret if you still don’t understand the technical jargon or how to go about getting this information. This is meant to be a starting point and take advantage of what you do know! Building a website is a big process and your development team should be able to help you along the way.
Often, web agencies will be booked for a couple of months before starting your redesign. The waiting period is a great time to gather the details and documents we just covered.
If you’re still looking for a website design company and would like a team that will guide you through the process of strategy, design and development, please tell us more about your project here.