How to redesign a website: a guide for small business sites

Website redesign can fix a lot of problems but, if not done properly, it can also cause as many as it solves. Read on to learn more about the most common mistakes, and how to avoid them.

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Redesigns involve making significant changes to a website’s architecture, such as its layout, coding, and visuals. They are a great way to turn things around if your site has started to lose visitors – which is why most website overhauls tend to focus on improving user experience and functionality.

You might want full control over something as fundamental as your business’s website, particularly if you have a clear vision and a lot of design experience.

But revamping a website is a long and arduous task. You risk wasting resources on a project that takes longer than expected, and ending up with a result you don’t like. Such scenarios could be costly.

To avoid these pitfalls, many small businesses choose to outsource their redesigns. You can easily find the best provider with our handy online web design comparison service. It matches you to quotes from the top website redesign companies quickly, easily, and for zero charge.

Or, if you’d prefer to weigh up your options before deciding on a strategy, the below guide can help. Read on to find out more about the costs, risks, and top tips for redesigning your small business website.

Get started now with our bespoke web design comparison service. Have you used a web design service before? Find the best deals in just one minute.

What does it mean to redesign a website?

Website redesign is about changing elements of your website to help grow and scale your business. It can bring you greater volumes of traffic, and more accurate sales leads – if it’s done correctly.

Exactly what alterations you make to your pages are entirely up to you. Redesign is generally about making large-scale edits to your web architecture, such as implementing a completely new layout to help with user navigation.

Generally, these changes will be made in the back-end of your site, and so they will require a certain level of experience with software development or website building.

Website design vs website refresh

The difference between a website redesign and a website refresh is scale. Redesigns are about making complete overhauls that affect your whole site. In comparison, a website refresh tends to be about making minor, surface-level tweaks.

Perhaps you’re unhappy with the images on your site, or you want to add a new logo. These edits would constitute a website refresh, because you’re not really changing anything structurally about your site.

When and why should you redesign a website?

Businesses should reconstruct a website if it:

  • Suffers a drop in traffic
  • Is not scalable
  • Is missing key functionality
  • Offers poor user experience
  • Needs to reflect a business rebrand
  • Needs to reflect changes to the business model

But the decision to redesign a website should not be taken lightly. It requires a lot of work, which may or may not be worth it depending on your specific marketing goals.

Thanks to our more than twenty years of experience working with small businesses, we know that using a website redesign company is the best way to achieve a high-quality and enhanced web page.

Our experts have therefore designed a custom service comparison tool that matches your business with personalised website designer quotes. It only takes a minute to complete, so why not get started below?

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How often should you consider a website redesign?

There’s no hard rule for when you should redesign a website, but a good guiding principle is to aim for every two to four years.

Don’t feel there always has to be an issue to fix – the internet is constantly shifting. In the last 10 years alone, users have started accessing websites on the go, and expecting greater ecommerce functionality to boot.

Just like the fashion industry, website design trends come and go as user expectations change and businesses grow and evolve.

How to redesign a website: seven simple steps

Website building

A website redesign isn’t something that should be rushed.

Here are seven straightforward steps you can take to make sure you are considering every aspect of the process. We’ll go into further detail about each action below.

  1. Decide whether to use a web designer or do it yourself
  2. Take note of your current website performance
  3. Come up with a set of website redesign objectives
  4. Carry out market research
  5. Create a mock-up of your new website
  6. Redesign your website using a CMS
  7. Test your redesigned website

1. Decide whether to use a web designer or do it yourself

One of the most important decisions to make before redesigning a website is whether to employ a website designer or take a DIY approach.

I want to do it myself

We’ll make this clear: you should design your own website only if you have experience in software development, and a lot of spare time away from running your company.

You don’t want to get stuck halfway through a website reconstruction and realise you can’t finish – this will have a negative impact on your business and revenue.

I want to use a website designer

When employing a website designer, you can choose between either a website freelancer or a website redesign company. We recommend the latter as they typically have more resources – although they can also be more expensive.

Use a website redesign company if you:

  • Want good communication
  • Want a fast turnaround time
  • Want an SEO and marketing focus
  • Want someone to manage your site long term

Use a website freelancer if you:

  • Want to spend less
  • Want to work with a specific designer

Finding the right website redesign service takes time – something we know small business owners are often short on.

To make things easier, you can use our free online service. It gives our readers a bespoke provider recommendation that’s based on your specific needs.

How do I find a website designer?

As a small business owner, you should conduct proper market research, read customer reviews, and compare rival costs to ensure you are sourcing the highest-quality designer for your website. Learn how to do this in our simple how-to guide for finding a website designer.

2. Take note of your current website performance

You already know that your current website isn’t up to scratch – now you need to know why.

Evaluate your current site to identify the pinch points. Where do you lose users? What doesn’t work? Answering these questions will help you decide what to modify.

It’s not just about the negatives, however. You should also take note of the volume of traffic to your pages. Look at how long visitors spend on your website, and how many sales you generate. Record an inventory of your content and marketing statistics.

That way, you can establish whether the changes you make are positive or negative.

3. Come up with a set of website redesign objectives

Once you have the information on your current website performance, you can combine this with your business and marketing strategies to set a clear goal and vision.

At this stage, your objectives won’t constitute a clear brief, but they should lay out your primary purposes for having the site and what you hope it will achieve for your business.

This clear goal and vision will enable you to steer a web developer in the right direction as they work on your new site.

4. Carry out market research

Market research is a smart way of finding out what your website should look like, as well as how it should function, by taking a quick look around the internet at competitor sites.

Don’t be tempted to rush the process, however. It takes a skilled eye and a bit of detective work to establish exactly why a competitor places ahead of you in search rankings, gets more conversions, or looks more aesthetically pleasing.

Think as well about your customers – what their persona is, and what they would want from your website that you’re not currently providing.

Any research project is worth doing properly. Remember to set clear deadlines from the beginning, so you have a clear idea of timing for everyone to work to.

Ana Abrantes is a senior designer for a large-scale tech company. Abrantes told us: “Knowing the target audience is essential for the designer to create work that fits the user's expectations and needs, this information will determine the navigation, appearance and architecture of the site.”

5. Create a mock-up of your new website

This stage is all about marrying looks and functionality. Start by creating some digital mock-ups. Usually these pages aren’t interactive and are more like a screenshot, but they help you envision what your site will look like and how it might work.

There should be a fair amount of back-and-forth discussion with your website redesign company at this point. This is the time for them to take your mock-ups and refine their look, before the site is fully developed.

Your designer will then turn your mock-ups into beautiful designs, finalising what your new website will be like once developed and implemented.

6. Redesign your website using a CMS

By this point, you will be ready to redesign your website. Now is a good opportunity to look at your content management system (CMS) to evaluate its performance.

Whether you’re a novice digital marketer or a master web developer, a good CMS will be easy for you to use, and will enable you to make effective changes to your website. If your CMS is proving too complex, or is unable to carry out tasks you need completed, swap it for a simpler system that has the features you require.

Your website redesign company will be able to advise on what the best CMS is for them to manage and maintain your site with in the future.

Popular and easy-to-use CRM systems include:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • HubSpot CMS
How can I organise my redesign plan?

Project management software is a great way to organise your website redesign. It works by automating basic and even complex admin tasks, as well as sending you scheduled reminders and updates.

Read our review of the top 6 project management software solutions to learn more.

7. Test your redesigned website

The aim of testing is to identify and fix any problems in the website before it goes live. This is a crucial stage, as you don’t want your new website to cause any problems for your users – or your business.

There are several different elements of the website that should be tested at this stage. They include:

  • Security
  • Functionality
  • User experience
  • Responsiveness
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Performance speed

Get started with your website redesign

Website

This page should help you to understand the six key steps involved in redesigning your website, as well as how they can add value to your business.

But remember, a website isn’t perfect for long. You’ll likely be working with your chosen website redesign company in the future on additional revamps of your site – which is why it’s crucial you find the right partner, for the right price.

We can help you to get in touch with up to four top UK web design companies with our specially designed online quote provider. Simple to use and free of charge, it could also save your business both time and money.

SEO - Website Costs
Need help finding a web designer?

Startups matched 500+ readers with a suitable web design service in 2021 thanks to our free comparison tool

Website redesign FAQs
  • Should I use a website designer to redesign my site?
    We recommend using a third-party website designer instead of a DIY approach. They can give you high-quality, timely redesign services that add value to your site – making them cost effective in the long term.
  • How long does a website redesign take?
    Generally, you should expect a website redesign to take two to three months, although this depends on the scale of the changes you are making to your website.
  • Why should I redesign my website?
    Redesigning your website can help you to welcome more traffic, increase sales opportunities, and add or remove functions that can improve the user experience.
  • How much does a website redesign cost?
    Redesigning a website is more complex than building one from scratch, and can cost anywhere between £2,000–£10,000. Ensure you compare quotes from multiple providers for the best deal.

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Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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