Nearly forty percent of web users will abandon a page if it looks ugly. (Ah! It hurts the eyes!) A full 60% would rather read something on a well-designed page than a plain one.

Now, ask yourself if your page is the best it can be. Maybe you neglected to hire a design company. You DIYed that bad boy and now you’re not so sure it was a good idea.

It’s time to do a complete redesign. Why? Because the original attempt is driving people away.

Where do you start? It seems like a massive project and that was probably the problem in the first place.

You’re in luck! I’ve put together a short checklist to help you get started on redesigning your website. Let’s get cracking!

1. Take Stock First

Baseline. It’s how athletes know how well they’ve trained. You take stock of your current fitness and record the numbers. When you’ve trained for a while, you can go back and compare.

Baseline is what this first step is about. It’s the measuring line on the wall to see how you’ve grown.

First, take stock of your analytics. What are your user trends right now. Where are they going on your site? What’s your bounce rate? Where is your best traffic going?

For eCommerce this might be easier than other websites. In an online store, you can see what people buy and this will indicate where users go.

Perhaps encourage users to provide feedback. Offer a discount for feedback. You’ll receive more information this way.

Taking stock in this way will streamline the rest of the process. It will allow you to keep the parts of your site that are strong and build upon those elements.

2. See What’s Trending

You might have an idea of what your site should look like. You’re like the man who can “see” what his house should look like. He’s not an architect or an artist, but he can “see” it.

Just seeing it in your mind isn’t enough. You need to go searching for it in what’s trending now.

What you see in your head might be out there in some form. Maybe it’s not out there, but you can use your mental image and choose something similar that will appeal to a wider audience.

First, look at your more successful competition. What are they doing for design? How are they setting up their stores? What do their menus look like?

Do a deep dive into their design. What are the common threads between your more successful competitors? What does their pricing page look like?

If you emulate what you perceive is good on a competitor website, then you might find gold.

3. Analyze Your Style

What is your brand’s style? What does it say about your brand?

Colors matter. They tell a story. You might be telling your customers something you don’t intend.

For example, the color orange is often used to denote caution. Look at the construction signs. We associate the color with fire. But it also could mean excitement. If you’re going to use the color, don’t use it on buttons. Instead, use it where you want to draw attention and then use a complementary color on your button scheme. Use a color that says “safe.”

Again, if that’s not your style, figure out what is. If every aspect of your site does not plug into that aesthetic, you need to redesign it in accordance with your style.

What are the key elements you need to consider in your style? Look at logos, button styles, image examples, iconography, colors, etc.

Remember, this style should be consistent across all your mediums. This means text, web, print, and video.

Allocating button colors to specific parts of the sales funnel is another stellar way to organize your style. It means choosing more colors, but it also means a better experience for the user (and more conversions!)

Again, you need to consider safe and exciting colors. Safe colors are for the top of the funnel. Think of it as wooing. You’re trying to communicate that you’re a safe option for the user. And then once you’ve convinced them you’re safe, you need to convince them you’re exciting and sexy and good in bed. You have full permission to use red and orange on those bottom of the funnel buttons.

4. Be Real About Time

I struggle with this one on all my projects. You think it’s going to take X amount of time, but it really took five weeks. (My recent bathroom remodel was like that.)

This website overhaul is going to take longer than you think. If you haven’t hired an eCommerce website design company then expect your website redesign to take much longer than you think.

If you’re working full time and you are going through this process, then you need to plan for this process to take at least two months if not more.

Also, audit how much you need. Is it realistic to build out a 200-page website? If you have that many products, then maybe. Product pages are easier to port over than other pages.

Instead of thinking volume is a good metric, try a growth-driven iterative approach. This focuses mostly on the most important pages first and then creating stages for the rest of your site.

Lastly, set a deadline. You won’t finish the thing if you don’t have a deadline. You’ll tinker with it here and there. Maybe you’ll have some sort of massive push when you first start out and then peter out.

Set a deadline and you’ll actually finish the thing.

5. Write the Content and Start Redesigning

Content is still the best way to communicate. Whether that’s blogs or webcopy, your users won’t know what the site is about without content.

Content first allows you to build the content without limits. If you design first, you’ll fill your site with beauty and it will be vapid and void of meaning. Why? Because it’s easy to fill up space with images and graphics.

Only after you’ve written, wrestled with, and refined your content should you begin the design process. If you feel lost when it comes to content, you can always hire a content writer.

Once you’ve created your content, you can begin designing your site. This is the part you’ve been waiting for. You need to use all the data you’ve gathered so far and organize it.

Build a hierarchy and create a plan and begin.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.