For many small businesses, updating their website’s look, feel, and functionality is at the top of their to-do lists for this year. But as the chaos of the new year sinks in, a website redesign seems far-fetched.
For many small businesses, updating their website’s look, feel, and functionality is at the top of their to-do lists for this year. But as the chaos of the new year sinks in, a website redesign seems far-fetched. We don’t even want to think about spending any more money, let alone, taking on a massive, new project. But one question remains at the back of every small business owner’s mind: how much will a website redesign cost me?
While it’s a valid question, it’s incredibly broad. It’s similar to asking how much it costs for a car, or for a house. There are several factors that influence costs, and ultimately, it comes down to what you’re looking for, what you value most, and understanding the product or process in its entirety. We may not be able to give you a definitive cost of your website redesign, but we can help you understand the variables that affect cost, the process of website design, and where you can save a little on time and money.
[Tweet "Determining the cost of your website redesign project starts with these things."]
In order to ensure that a redesign for your website is going to be effective, you need to evaluate what’s working today, and what’s not. If you’ve got Google Analytics installed on your current website, you’ll be able to use this free tool to evaluate the effectiveness of your website.
First, you’ll need to login to your Google Analytics account. Immediately, you should see the following data displayed:
By default, Google Analytics displays the past month’s data. (You can view previous months data or compare previous time periods by simply changing the date ranges in the top right hand corner.) The default metrics that are displayed are important to gaining a high-level overview of the health of your website.
Let’s dive into what each of these metrics mean:
The next question is: how do you interpret this data? While there are a variety of factors that affect these metrics, here are some of the common culprits:
Sessions, Users, and % New Sessions are typically influenced by your online marketing efforts and search engine rankings. If the number of sessions are low, it’s possible that your website simply isn’t being ranked well in search results,or your online marketing efforts need a boost to drive targeted website traffic. If you’re unsure of where your website ranks in search, we recommend this free tool to check.
Pageviews, Pages/Session, Average Session Duration, Bounce Rate are usually attributed to the quality and relevancy of your website to your visitors. If the design is scattered or disorganized, your users are more likely to immediately bounce out if they can’t find what they’re looking for.
Another good data point to look into is your website’s pages. Take a deeper look by seeing which pages are gaining the most traffic, how long people are staying on them, and how many people completed the Google Analytics goals.
Here’s how to see which landing pages are performing best in Google Analytics:
Before jumping into the visual concepts of your website, it’s important to realize that your website is a marketing vehicle. It needs to be approached strategically in order for it to be effective at producing the results you’re looking for. It’s simple, really. You need to create a site that drives your business goals, and your users are looking for your product or service. You need these users to take the desired action, but your site must be something that meets their expectations, is easy to use, and beautiful. In order to create a site that users love, you must understand who your users are.
Web design personas are profiles of your target customers that are used to identify features and functions of your website. They include details about their personal and professional lives, pain points and challenges, needs, and each of these elements help define the architectural structure, features, and functions of your website.
By creating your web design personas, you’ll save a lot of time (and money!) on adjustments and updates down the road based on user feedback.
There are six steps in the process of website redesign projects you need to know:
Step 1. Discovery.
You meet with your selected web partner to discuss the ideas, requirements, and needs of the project. Reveal any existing data about the current website and feel free to bring along your web design personas. This will help save time and money in the long run.
Step 2. Planning.
Through a series of in-depth meetings, your website partner will gain a deeper understanding of your brand’s look and feel, target customers, and start mapping out the core features, functions, and navigational items. In this stage, you’ll need to have an idea of the type of content you want on your website so that it fits within your design.
Step 3. Initial Designs.
Your designer will present initial design concepts that reflect your branding, business, and customer needs to drive your business goals. When you and your web designer have agreed upon a design layout, they’ll build out the rest of your website using the same look and feel.
Step 4. Testing & Changes.
At this point, your site is ready for testing to make sure that all integrations, links, and features are working properly. Any required fixes will be done in this stage, and minor adjustments or tweaks can be made.
Step 5. Go Live.
Hooray! Show the world how awesome you are.
Step 6. Maintenance.
The digital world is constantly evolving, requiring everyone to frequently adapt and readjust. Your website will need to be scanned for security risks, your plugins will need to be updated, your content should be search engine optimized so people can find you, and your data backed up in the event of a server crash or other unforeseen disaster.
There’s a lot of work involved to create a successful website that drives the results you’re looking for. If any of these elements are lacking in the slightest, it can have a detrimental impact on your entire experience and the quality of your website.
These are the critical components of every website redesign project you should be aware of:
Efficient Project Management
You want an efficient, streamlined communication path in your website redesign project. The project manager is just that. Your project manager serve as the conduit between you and the designers and developers. They keep your web project moving smoothly, are held accountable for meeting deadlines, and communicates and oversees the execution of revisions and actionable feedback. They are there to make sure all the requirements are gathered, everything is delivered on-time, and have a significant impact on the quality of your experience.
If we’re recommending which pieces of your site to splurge on, content is one of them. The website can be gorgeous, but if it lacks any substance, it’s just a pretty design that does nothing to help your business. Every piece of content on your website needs to be high quality, on-brand, and serve a purpose.
If writing isn’t your strong suit, don’t try to write your entire site! Hire a clever, professional wordsmith. They’ll be able to convey your brand’s tone, messaging, and personality to captivate your users.
All photos on your website should look and feel professional. They need to be crisp, high quality, and relevant to your company. That means no pixelated graphics or sketchy images snapped on your phone.
While videos filmed on your smartphone are fine for social media, the videos on your website need to be high quality, clearly communicate the desired message, and support your brand by delivering a compelling story.
Both the visual and architectural design are the critical pillars of your website’s success. A strategic approach to your new design needs to be consistent across all devices and provide a positive experience for your users.
Third-party application integrations are often an overlooked factor in web design. Integrating your website with your inventory management systems, CRM databases (such as Salesforce), or accounting software, eCommerce solutions, along with others, add to the complexity of the project and must be considered.
Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engines should be able to find your fresh, new website easily so they can display it in relevant search results. It’s critical to thoroughly understanding which keywords your customers are using to search for your product or service, and strategically place them in your website’s content, metadata, image alt-tags, URLs, product descriptions, etc.
Your website needs a place to live - and in the online world, websites live on a hosting server. The cost to “rent” a space on a hosting server is typically contingent upon the size of your website, how much data you’re storing, how often you want your data backed up, the amount of traffic your website receives, and any extra security precautions your website requires. It’s important to make sure that the hosting server is reliable, protects the data on your website, and is easy to access at any time to avoid disastrous consequences.
Often times, website designers offer their own hosting services, or can provide expert recommendations to you. Make sure to ask if they offer hosting service packages with website projects - there could be great discounts available for you!
If you’re a small business or a startup, you want the best deal possible. Finding the sweet spot between quality and affordability can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be a major compromise.
Here’s some of our money-saving tips for small businesses and startups looking to redesign their website, without breaking the bank:
Do your research. Cheaper options now don’t necessarily mean cheaper in the long run. If you decide to go with an inexperienced web designer, or someone who can’t fulfill everything you need, it can be more costly down the road. Splurging a little more in the beginning for the right expertise and quality work can pay off big time. Trust us, we’ve seen $500 websites end up costing $5,000 in the long run.
We recommend researching potential web partners, viewing their portfolios to make sure their work meets your quality standards, and reading company reviews to gauge client satisfaction.
Be prepared with examples. If you’re looking to redesign your website, we bet that you’ve already scouted competitor sites. Compile a list of websites you love and highlight the elements that you like or don’t like. The more detailed you can be upfront, the more likely you’ll be able to guide the designers in the right direction. Henceforth, saving more time and money.
Bring your web design personas to the first meetings. Earlier we talked about the importance of creating a powerful experience for your users by building and applying web design personas to your website redesign project. When your web partner gains a deeper understanding for your potential customers, they’ll be able to provide recommendations on the navigational structure, functions, and features for your website.
We hope that this article gave you some insights into how much a website redesign costs, what to expect throughout your project, and how to save money. But if you're still not sure if a website redesign will be worth the initial investment, read our next helpful article.