Follow the tips in this blog post to help you have a successful website redesign, from setting goals to choosing the right project team. Read to learn more.

Diary of a Redesign - Part 4

Diary of a Redesign: 5 Tips for Planning a Successful Website Redesign Project

Wed Jul 2, 2014

A website redesign project involves juggling many items, and as a project manager, it’s important to not drop anything. Planning ahead of time will be the most crucial element to your website project’s success by answering important questions early on, setting parameters for the process, and defining the desired outcomes. This guide will provide you with 5 tips to get you started with planning your website redesign.

Tip #1: Define your goals before embarking on a project

To tell you the truth, this is something you should have already, but don’t worry, not everyone does. First, pretend that you aren’t even doing a website redesign, and just focus on what you organizational goals are. Not having goals in place is like trying to build a house without a blueprint, if you don’t know what you are going to build then you really shouldn’t be building it. To ensure that a website redesign is what you actually need, getting those goals outlined is critical.

I would recommend at least 3 goals but no more than 5, if you go past 5 then you are pushing the limits on what your website is supposed to accomplish.

Once your goals are all set, make sure you communicate them to your team and the organization. This will help make people feel involved and allow for feedback from other departments looking to take part in this project as well. These goals will be useful throughout every stage in your website redesign process.

Tip #2: Pick stakeholders for your project dream team

Having a well-rounded team of stakeholders whose input and goals are relevant to this project will be essential to keeping the process focused. Try to keep your core team to fewer than 6 people, because you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to decision making. You also want enough people in the room to carry the progress of the project to their teams.

Your project team should include people from different departments and with different skill sets. For example you want people from these skill buckets: artistic, creative, user experience focused, content management, project planning, marketing, and sprinkle in a few executives. Although it can be challenging to get the executives to come to all these meetings, you can tell them which meetings are business-critical and let them decide additional meetings to attend.

Tip #3: Select your SPOC (Single Point of Contact)

Whether or not you are the project manager, it’s important to name one person for your team and the team doing the website redesign as a single point of contact. Also make sure you explain to your team that they should only communicate to the design team through your SPOC. This will help messages come across clearly between each team and assist with scheduling meetings. Keeping a focused communication channel will ensure efficiency, clear translation, and prevent from project communications from devolving into “the telephone game.”

Tip #4: Remember to review your content

Whether or not you need to break up with your website’s content, reviewing your content to prepare for a redesign can be an arduous task. To get started with a content audit, use a tool like Screaming Frog to scan your pages and provide you with a report of all title tags, alt tags, urls, broken links, etc. From there, build out a spreadsheet and rank your content with a score of A, B, or C. This will help you decide what to re-write, ditch, or clean up. If you want to learn more about this process, stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on how to do a content audit.

Tip #5: Become BFF with your notes & calendar tools

If you don’t live by your calendar, then you probably shouldn’t be project planner. When you have as close to 6 people to schedule meetings for, including meetings for the design firm, tackling this can get difficult. Work with your design team SPOC to plan meetings at least 3 weeks in advanced on both of your calendars. And finally take notes about everything. Even if it’s just a 5 minute conversation with the team, take notes. This will help with transparency and documentation of what everyone is doing when through the project.

Having a detailed project plan allows for flexibility when unexpected events come up, such as sick days or meeting that needs to be rescheduled. Keeping the end date you have in mind at the back of your head helps you know when your project is pushing past that date.

One of the most important aspects to remember is that careful planning and predicting the unexpected is also going to help scope creep from happening. Scope creep can be hazardous to your project and ultimately your website. Effective communication is one way to combat this. And finally remember, when you start pulling your hair out, take a deep breath, relax and re-read these tips, they will help you get back on track.

This post is the part of our weekly Diary of a Redesign series, which covers every stage of the website redesign process, from planning, to design, to implementation, to launch. New posts published every Wednesday.