We live in a period of time where everything is available to us instantly. With the tap of a finger, we can order pizza, send an email, and post a photo we took seconds ago. In this digital age, we have some pretty high expectations when it comes down to time.
There are a few things in life that shouldn’t be rushed, however. Redesigning your website is one of them. Your website is your biggest marketing asset as well as the first impression your business gives. Therefore, creating a professional, helpful, and well-designed website is a must. As with most big commitments, the best results are often a product of the amount of time spent. Sure, you can have a website created for your business in as little as a month, but it’s not the same as having a perfectly tailored website.
Websites created in a short amount of time only focus on appearance and functionality. That’s all fine and dandy, but if you really want to stand out amongst the competition, your website needs to be more than just a pretty face. In inbound marketing, a website’s focus is meeting goals and matching strategy.
If you’re looking to redesign your website and want to know how long it will take, here is a rough timeline you can follow. (Note: Timeline will vary based on complexity of site and use of different resources [i.e. internal team, freelancer, agency, outside developers, et cetera].)
- Review of Current Site
What is the key reason for your redesign? What do you not like about it? What do you like about it? What are the statistics looking like? Certain metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, and conversion rate will tell you which parts of your site are failing.
- Goal Setting
Make yourself some SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive) based on the numbers you reviewed in the previous step. Write down your goals. They could be how many visitors you want in a month, how many leads, and what conversion rate you’d like to see.
- Buyer Personas
Your website should easily guide users through the funnel, and the buyer personas you have established will help you create this guide.
- Content Audit
Look through all your site pages and content pieces. See what you can keep, what needs to be revised, and what needs to be discarded. Keep track of new URLs you intend to create and make a plan to redirect any links.
- Information Architecture
The most crucial step in the website design process is the site map. Organize your pages to create a path for your buyer personas. How do you want your visitors to navigate your website? Create links in your navigation for each stage in the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision.
- Writing Content
Take your time when planning the content that will appear on your site. Do it early in the process as well – it’s easier to design around content than it is to write content around design, which means you’ll ultimately save time by doing so.
- Developing Wireframes
This is where the designer steps in to shape up your site. They will sketch out where all of the elements on the page will go. This saves time because rather than waiting until the site is built to move things around, you can do that early on in the process and make sure everything is in the right place before the site is built.
- Design Mock-Ups
This is the step where you’ll start to see your website come to life. Your designer will begin designing your site pages in a design program (i.e. Photoshop). This will take several weeks, as you will have to allow time for your designer to build out the pages. You should also incorporate time for a revision process. You’ll want to hash out all the details before the design goes into development.
Finally, you can sit back and relax for a bit while your developer builds your website. The timeframe for development will vary depending on who is in charge. Plan for at least a month.
- Launch Website
Right before you launch your website, you should do a thorough quality assurance check. Make sure all redirects are working and everything is in the right place. Then you can finally launch your website! (Woohoo!)
Six months may seem like a long time, but in the end it’s worth it to have a website you can be proud of. However, don’t think that the work on your website stops at the end of this timeline. It is important to consistently revise your website as you add new content and optimize for new conversions. For now, though, you can kick back and enjoy the masterpiece you created!