Impact Group Marketing Blog

Let’s face it – creating and launching a new website is overwhelming. Building a successful website is complicated because there are so many things to consider, from broken links to misspelled words.  

That’s why we created a checklist of the top 10 things you need to do before beginning your website design.

Top 10 Things You Should Do Before Beginning Your Website Design

Whether you’re redoing a website design or building a new one, here’s a checklist of things to help you get started.

1. Analyze your existing website (if applicable).

If you have an existing website, ask yourself a few questions before moving forward. Your answers will help you identify any gaps, so you can set achievable goals for the new site.

  • What is the goal or reason for a new design?
  • What hasn’t been successful with the current site?
  • How will a new design better serve your organization?

2. Crawl your existing site (if applicable) to understand its format.

This step is necessary when creating your website development plan because it provides a concrete view of your existing site’s structure – its pages, redirects, and metadata. Crawling tools like Screaming Frog can help you accomplish this step.  

3. Gather benchmark data from your existing website (if applicable) and establish testing procedures.

This step is valuable for two reasons: 1) You’ll want to compare how your new site performs compared to the previous one. 2) It will help you identify gaps and provide data-driven insights to support your new design.

You’ll also want to establish testing procedures. This needs to be in place before you begin testing your website to ensure all the components work correctly, everything flows smoothly, and you have a system to track both glitches and improvements.

Consider using a form such as Google Forms to help streamline the feedback-gathering process. This process is more beneficial than asking people to email their thoughts on the new website design. It also helps to put one person in charge of prioritizing which glitches to focus on and filtering any creative feedback through the form.

4. Determine your goals for the new design – and how you’ll achieve them.

After identifying any gaps in your current website, you can determine your goals for the new design. You may have noticed things about your existing site, like:

  • It’s outdated, so you need to reinvigorate it.
  • It doesn’t perform, so you need a more SEO-friendly design with a better UX.
  • It’s difficult to navigate, and you need something easier to use.

Whatever your goals may be, it’s essential to understand exactly how a new website will help you accomplish them. Once you have this information, you can create a successful design.

5. Make a detailed list of action items, roles, and responsibilities.

Create a project management checklist for the new website. Then build a master list of all the things you need to do – as well as completion deadlines.

Finally, assign each action item to a person or team. To ensure there's no role confusion and everyone is on the same page, you need to establish an extensive plan for what each person or team is responsible for. It takes a village to launch a website! You need marketers to write the content, designers to layout the overall structure and choose compelling images, and a technical team to handle the mechanics and development.

6. Establish a consistent brand.

  • Choose a consistent brand message and tone to make you more memorable and credible.
  • Recognize your value proposition.
  • Create a mission statement, vision statement, and tagline that describes your brand identity as well as your value proposition.
  • Select fonts and colors that represent and reflect your brand identity.
  • Invest in high-quality images that further convey your message. Include a variety of personal and stock photos that enhance your content.

Read More: How to Build a Brand in 10 Simple Steps

7. Develop your technical SEO strategy.

Make sure your website has a solid foundation for SEO success. From XML sitemaps and metadata to content hierarchy and site architecture, consider every aspect of search engine optimization. The more attention you devote to your SEO efforts in the website design stage, the more likely your site will appear on Google’s first page.

  • Complete keyword research and determine what you want to rank for.
  • Plan a content strategy that uses those keywords.
  • Determine how your existing pages need to be adjusted and which pages will need to be recreated.
  • Decide if any pages are no longer necessary.
  • Using a 301 redirect, map out where you need to redirect unnecessary pages.

Read More: SEO and Web Design: How to Build a Website That Ranks at the Top

8. Formulate your conversion paths.

Once you determine your website’s main pages, you need to determine exactly what actions you want users to take. Start by considering these questions:

  • What landing pages and thank you pages need to be created?
  • What forms do you need to create?
  • How will conversions be tracked?
  • What actions will happen after a website visitor converts?
  • What premium top-of-the-funnel offers do you need?
  • What bottom-of-the-funnel actions will be presented on the main pages?

9. Install analytics software.

  • Decide which analytics platforms you want to use on the new site.
  • Determine if you can use any previous Analytics tracking scripts or if you need new accounts/scripts.
  • If applicable, set up new accounts.

10. Determine a launch date.

Once you have a clear understanding of what must be accomplished before the launch, schedule a launch date. To create a successful website, most marketing agencies plan for two to three months of research, development, and design.

Bottom Line

Website design is about more than just the site itself. Investing in your website and expanding its reach will help you build trust with your audience and ultimately turn them into loyal supporters and promoters of your brand.

Our website team has over 35 years of combined experience in online marketing, and we’re passionate about website design. We’d love to help you build an attractive website that converts and is set up for maximum search engine placement. Contact us today for a free quote or to learn more about services.

Read More: Why Building Your Own Free Website Isn’t a Good Idea