Why & How to Update Your Website Design in 17 Steps

Are you ready for a new website design? I just gave my website design a major facelift, and I am excited to share with you my process and the reasons behind the redesign.

First off, it is important to realize that there are many reasons to redesign your website—and many reasons not to.

How & Why to Update Your Website Design

Why You Should Update Your Website Design…Right Now!

  • You have a new brand. This means your mission and focus for your website has changed. You may have a new logo or a completely new brand design.
  • You have a new main call to action. If you are adding services to your page, free content upgrades, a product to buy, a new online course, etc., your design may need a redesign to achieve your new business goals. 
  • You have entered into a new phase in your life. If you are a lifestyle blogger, this could mean you may want to update your website to align with your current goals, messages and lifestyle you are living.
  • Your website is not up to web standards. For example, it may not be responsive to fit different screens and devices. Or its user experience could be outdated, not allowing visitors to easily navigate your site. Or it does not mean basic SEO requirements to show up in search results. This means less visitors and less business.
  • Your website may be affecting your credibility. High-quality websites are must-haves if you are promoting a business, online content, etc. An outdated website could contribute to a lack of trust in your services or what you have to offer. Now, not to judge a book by its cover, but a website nowadays is as important as a resume when it comes to first impressions.

Why You Should NOT Update Your Website Design

  • If you have updated your website design within the past six months to a year, then it may be too soon to go for a completely new look. If we change our designs too often, then our brand may get diluted. A website design and/or a brand should maintain its look to have a long enough lifespan to attract readers or potential clients. We’re not about forgotten brands.
  • It’s not in your budget. While I would say that a website is one of the most important priorities of any business or online endeavor, other things may be higher priorities to make your business function. It may not be the right time to invest in a new design if your website works for you now.
  • You don’t have time. A website redesign takes time. Even if you are hiring a designer, a website update requires a lot of significant thought and actions for the blogger or business owner. Make sure you have an adequate amount of time on your hands so you can give your online home the time and attention it needs. Yes, your website is your dog or cat, who needs the right amount of love from you!

So you decide your website design really needs a makeover? I have a list of items to revamp during this process. Whether you decide to hire a web designer or do it yourself, these aspects are important to make a successful product.

Remember, a website update does not only include the actual design, but it includes the web strategy, the content and copy, the calls to action, the design, the functionality and overall user experience.

We are tackling our website redesign from a holistic perspective — that is, covering every inch of your site to give you beautiful results.

Your Ultimate Planning Guide for Updating Your Website Design

How to Update Your Website Design Like a Boss

Here are 17 steps to redesign your website, tackling every detail.

1. Identify the purpose behind redesigning your website.

Look at the reasons above to see which category you fall under. Do you have a new brand? Do you need more functionality? Are you in a new stage in your business or blog? For me, I decided to maintain my overall vision for my blog, but update my design so that it matches my brand going forward. I was also in a life transition that I believe needed to be reflected in my website, as I consider my maintaining my blog as a personal hobby.

2. Establish the goals and calls to action for your website.

Example Goals:

  • Build an online community: connect with other like-minded people throughout open and honest content.
  • Establish expertise and thought leadership within my field: provide my audience with information they need
  • Promote my service-based business to serve more clients
  • Sell a physical or digital product to make my audience’s lives better
  • Collect donations for a charity or cause

Example Calls to Action:

  • Sign up for an email newsletter
  • Interact in the online community (leave a comment, engage on social media sites, join a Facebook group)
  • Download an e-book
  • Purchase an online course
  • Donate to this cause
  • Share your story
  • Purchase a copywriting package

Make sure your calls to action align with your blog or business goals. For me, one of my priorities is to create a community where like-minded people can connect over important topics in their lives (creative living, adventures, and healthy living).

3. Need a rebrand? Do that first. Get your logo, colors and fonts.

Find inspiration for what you would like your logo and brand to be. If you are a designer, take some time to select colors and fonts for your website. Create a brand board. Ask trusted creatives to give feedback on your visuals. If you need an updated brand, you can also hire a graphic designer.

4. Update your theme, logo, fonts and colors on your website design.

Translate your new brand into your website. This is the next step in order to set the atmosphere on your website. WordPress offers an easy interface to update your header, fonts and colors of your blog as well. Navigate to the Appearance > Customize section. If you want tips on how to customize your design in WordPress, check out the following posts:

5. Determine what your website needs and what should be removed.

This can help you create a plan and a list of to-do’s for your website. For example, I wanted to add a more sophisticated footer, remove items from my sidebar, and add additional pages to my navigation. Make sure to check out these two post on what I recommend your website needs and what it definitely does not need.

Now you are ready to go through each part of your website design! 

6. Start with your navigation.

After fine-tuning your vision and purpose for your website, start to update your site from top to bottom. The most natural place to start is with your navigation.

  1. Establish how many navigation bars you need. Do you need one primary navigation or would you like another to help your readers find certain categories on your blog?
  2. Make sure your navigation has the following pages:
    • About or Mission
    • Blog (if your home page is static)
    • Services or Product page(s) – Courses, Books, Resources, etc.
  3. Other ideas for navigation links:
    • Resources
    • Contact / Connect
    • FAQs
    • Popular
    • Community
    • Subscribe
    • Blog Categories
  4. Only choose the most important navigation links for your blog. It’s okay to have other pages on your blog that are not part of your navigation, but are reached through other places on your website. Four-five navigation links is a sweet spot. 

7. Clean up your categories for your posts and reevaluate popular posts/pages.

I had a variety of categories for my blog posts that needed attention. While this may not be the most important part of your website update, it does help with your organization going forward. It also helps readers find your content that much easier. I also found that updating my post categories allowed me to focus my content as well as pinpointing my favorite and most popular content to be featured in other places on my blog.

8. Edit or delete irrelevant blog posts or website content.

This is a great time to edit or delete (or set to private) your blog posts or other pages on your website. This makes your website much cleaner and makes sure your posts are on brand. I had some really old posts live on my blog that I didn’t need going forward. First of all, people were not reading them (and to be honest, I didn’t want them reading them). You want every post to make a good impression of your website. 

9. Add new pages to your website.

Are you adding a services page or releasing a new product? Do you want a static home page instead of making your homepage a list of your recent blog posts? Gather the sales content, photos or stories for your homepage. Create an outline and a plan for these pages.

10. Write new blog posts for after you launch.

An important part of your website design launch is having new content for your people to read. For bloggers especially, work on your next 4-7 blog posts to schedule after your website launch. This keeps people engaged with your vision as well as keeps them excited about your new website. Need inspiration for new posts? Here you go.

11. Update photos on your website.

That headshot of yours? How old is it? If it is a year or older, you may want to change that. Refreshing the photo of yourself is an important way to make sure your readers can connect with you, as well as to maintain your credibility and trustworthiness. Your people want to know the human behind the website.

Also, take photos for new pages and posts for your blog. Make sure your images incorporate your branding. These photos can also be used for social media, as well.

12. Create photo templates for your blog.

One of my blog secrets I shared with you was my InDesign templates to help automate my blog process. This is a very important aspect of my website redesign because it aided my work in updating the visuals of my blog (I literally went through all of my posts to change the images on my posts – that was fun). These templates are crucial in my website workflow. If I changed my brand, these change as well. Learn how to create your own – or download one of my templates. 

Also, check out these six secrets to easy and awesome blog graphics.

13. Decide on your sidebar content (if applicable).

Strategically place your sidebar content on your website for your blog pages. Your sidebar should always include a photo of yourself and other ways readers and learn about the purpose for your blog. Consider placing the following;

  • Introduction message
  • Newsletter subscription box
  • Social icons
  • Popular posts
  • Search bar
  • Photos to advertise your services/products
  • Instagram feed
  • Pinterest feed

14. Add footer content.

Don’t neglect the footer. A trend for web design is to have a footer with substantial content, but this not just a trend. The footer is a natural place for readers to go to find some of the most important information. This is also where you can add some more personality to your website. Some ideas for your footer:

  • A custom “Return to Top” button
  • Alternate logo
  • Newsletter subscription box
  • An about you section
  • A description of your business or mission
  • Search bar
  • Instagram feed
  • Pinterest feed
  • Social icons
  • Links to your products
  • Logos of media outlets that featured your website
  • Copyright
  • Privacy Policy

15. Update the backend of your website.

Update your plugins, your themes, etc. on your WordPress site. Make sure your WordPress is up-to-date and your posts and pages are SEO-friendly.

16. Create a promotion plan for your launch.

This is one of the most important parts for a successful website update. Make sure you plan how you will get the word out about your new updates. Give yourself an official launch date. A website design is only successful if you are attracting readers and clients to it. Engage your community around your website and your new parts of your online identity. Use your normal promotional outlets – but you should also consider testing out new outlets for your website launch to attract new visitors. Make sure to do your research ahead of time to make sure your people are hanging out on the social media outlets you choose. Here are some ideas for your website launch promotion:

  • Write a blog post about the new design
  • Create a series of Instagram posts
  • Update your Instagram story
  • Email your subscribers
  • Use video – on Snapchat or Instagram
  • Facebook posts and/or ads if in your budget
  • Twitter
  • Update your business cards
  • Connect with other bloggers and business friends to share the news

17. Get feedback on your new design…before it launches.

Always TEST out your website. Make sure to get a handful of friends to try out your website ahead of time. Ask some blog/business friends who can give you some insight from the blog/business side. Ask family or friends not as involved to see how they experience and use your website. Also, review the site yourself for typos, broken links, etc.

How & Why to Update Your Website Design

I hope you feel ready now to tackle your new website project! Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to be a reflection of you or your business. Do the hard work, but keep it simple. You got this.