When we talk to prospective clients about redesigning their website they often ask us how long it will take – and we often wish we had a better answer than “it depends”. We can put an approximate timeline to it as you’ll see below, but there are a number of factors that affect how long a redesign takes.
What Does a Website Redesign Involve?
The design and functionality of your website have a big impact on user experience and brand perception.
A website redesign is the process of making significant changes to your website to improve this user experience and perception, to get more website traffic or to improve conversion rates. There are different types of website redesign projects, but they generally share those common goals.
Website redesigns often include a new frontend and backend (content management system) to your website, improving it both for website visitors and the team who manages your site.
- A website redesign can be creating an entirely new website, with your current website staying live while your new website is being built
- It can also be the process of making significant design and user interface/user interface experience (UI/UIX) changes to your existing website, including changes to the site navigation, graphics, content, page layout, calls to action, and even branding
It’s probably worth looking a redesign at every two or three years, depending on how frequently you refresh your website in-between times.
What Does the Website Redesign Process Look Like?
There isn’t an “out-of-the-box” website design process and it’s fair to say that not all website redesign processes are the same, but as a simplified overview the website redesign process consists of six stages:
- Discovery – understanding what your website’s goals are, defining strategy, and designing a solution that meets your requirements. Agreeing on the sitemap, number of pages, how these pages are related, and which ones will have a customized designed will help define the project’s timeline
- Design – mocking up draft versions for the pages you require. This could be customized for individual pages or a template that works across multiple pages
- Content – reviewing existing content and creating new content where there are gaps (see more on content below)
- Development – this is where the structure of your website is built from approved designs, with the functionality you need
- Review – the website goes through an approval process, where feedback and amends are made and approved
- Launch – once the website is approved, any necessary content migration is performed and the new website goes live
There are a lot of smaller steps within each of these stages and while they each have dependencies on another step, there is also some overlap. For example, you could approve the design of your new home page and put that into development while your landing pages are being designed. Timings for each of these phases will depend on a variety of factors.
Factors Which Influence How Long a Website Redesign Takes
There are numerous factors that can drastically influence how long a website redesign takes, including:
- Customized vs Template Design – Whether you need a completely customized website or will use an out-of-the-box template design
- Content – Content is a critical and often underestimated factor and should equate to about one-third of your website redesign time. It’s so important that it almost becomes your user experience, keeping visitors on your site, encouraging them to read/watch/listen to more content, and ultimately take an action. It also has a major impact on how successful your search engine optimization (SEO) will be, and therefore how many people will visit your site
- Scope – How many pages will your website include? A website of 10 pages will take a lot less time than a website containing 30 pages, mainly due to the amount of different content needed
- Complexity – In terms of the functionality required, for example, if you have an online shop or booking system
- Branding – If you need new branding as part of your redesign, this will add time – especially if you require new photography or product images
- Strategy – Websites are built around specific strategies and goals, such as generating and converting leads. Deciding on and understanding your objectives requires careful thought and planning in the initial stage of a redesign project
- Website platform – Some website platforms, i.e. the software you use to build your site on, are more complex than others. At LimeLight we use a customized WordPress template which has an easy-to-use backend and content management system, other platforms such as Genesis Framework or Divi work great for customizations, but more complex software such as .NET may require a longer build time
So How Long Can it Take to Redesign a Website?
While it isn’t possible to put an exact timeframe on a website redesign, as a general estimate a good quality non-e-commerce website will take around 14 weeks from the discovery stage to launch. A site with e-commerce will probably take at least another two weeks on top of that.
All of the above factors must be taken into consideration as they will each have a big impact on the final timeline. It may be that the whole process will take longer than you expect, but a good website is worth the investment of time to get right as it will set you apart from your competitors and start generating more traffic, leads, and sales.
It’s also possible to launch your website as a “minimum viable product” (MVP). This means that you have most elements completed at launch, including functionality, design, branding, and SEO, but you can then scale up with more features and by adding more content.
Redesigning a website isn’t a simple process and it can take time, but if you work with an experienced agency that understands and can drive your strategy and has a team of expert designers, developers, and content specialists, the end result will be a great website that generates quality leads and sales.