Building or revamping a website can feel intimidating.
But the truth is, the process only requires a few simple steps – and a few professionals (like a copywriter, designer, and developer) to bring it all to life.
In fact, I even teach the process in my Website Bootcamp which is broken down into JUST 4 WEEKS, covering all of the steps below, minus step 5 (design/development).
Normally I run the bootcamp as a live cohort, but after getting feedback from students, I’ve decided to relaunch it as an evergreen course that will be available all year round, on your schedule.
Students can still reach out to me with questions, but there won’t be the pressure of getting everything done in just 4 weeks – you’ll be able to go at your own pace convenient for you.
If you’re interested, you can check out the Website Bootcamp here – otherwise, read on to learn the 5 things you need for a successful website revamp (or website build).
#1: Internal Clarity
Before you completely transform your website (or build one from scratch), you want to make sure you have total clarity as to why you’re doing it and what needs to be changed.
For some businesses it may be obvious (i.e. “it looks dated”), but it’s helpful to get specific (i.e. “Our website does not accurately reflect our current business strategy” or “Our copy doesn’t resonate with our target audience” etc).
You should also be crystal clear about your goals, and how you envision the website supporting those goals (i.e. “We want to capture 5,000 qualified leads by Q4 and need the website to help us”).
It can also be helpful to get clarity on the business itself – and where you are TODAY – including what you’re selling, the unique selling points/differentiators, use cases, who you’re selling it to, and so on.
Going through this “discovery” process will not only help you move forward with confidence, it will also give you the information you need to inform the other stages (i.e. information architecture, copy, etc).
It will also shine a light on what you DON’T know – so you can use research to fill any information gaps you may have, either about your business, target audience, your competitors, or something else.
To do that, I recommend using my Discovery Questionnaire which is filled with 30+ questions that are all designed to help you get internal clarity when it comes to your business (this is the same questionnaire I use with all of my clients and it’s also included in my Website Bootcamp).
I also recommend conducting a website audit of your current site so you can understand what is / is not working, any gaps that exist, etc – and what needs to change moving forward.
This article from my site can help you figure out how to do that (the article is about auditing your competitors’ websites, but the process is very similar for internal web audits).
#2: External Research
Revamping a website is a lot like planning a joint birthday party for yourself and a friend.
You have to really know the friend – their likes, dislikes, how they think, feel, behave, etc – to plan a soiree that will please both of you.
This is where customer research comes in.
Using methodologies like review mining, customer interviews, customer surveys, and competitive audits can help you understand your target audience on a deeper level so they feel less like “personas” and more like friends.
When you fully understand your target audience – including their goals, challenges, motivators, de-motivators, how they communicate, etc – it becomes much easier to select the right content during the IA / UX phase.
In my Website Bootcamp, I teach you how to use customer surveys to quickly collect insights, but if you want to go deeper, check out my research course which covers all of the methodologies listed above plus 7 others (all of which are focused on using research to optimize websites).
#3: Website IA / UX
Before you think about messaging or design, you need to create an Information Architecture (IA) that considers the User Experience (UX).
What is the difference between IA and UX?
The IA is like a blueprint of your website from a content perspective; it focuses on the types/names of pages, the content on those pages, and the content hierarchy on each page.
The UX, on the other hand, focuses on arranging the content in a way that will create a clear and intuitive pathway for visitors to achieve their goals.
This can involve things like the order of the pages in the primary navigation, where pages live within menus, how the footer is organized, the location of calls-to-action, and so on.
As you can see, there is overlap between IA and UX – and both are needed to create an effective, yet enjoyable experience for the visitor.
But it’s not just about the visitors.
Just like the “joint birthday party” example I used earlier, your IA/UX must also balance the needs of the business (yours or your clients’) to ensure the website supports the goals of each audience.
This is why it’s so important to get internal clarity in the first step and to conduct external research as your second step – both phases will yield valuable information that can be used to inform your decisions when it comes to the IA and UX.
The IA/UX phase is also a good time to bring in the designer, as they will bring in additional expertise around the user experience, architecture, and design that will likely make the website more effective.
My Website Bootcamp covers this process in depth and includes exercises and templates that will help you create the perfect website IA/UX.
#4: Website Copy
Now that you have your IA/UX, you can create now copy that will clearly communicate what you’re selling in a way that resonates with the target audience.
To do that, go back to your external research and look for copy ideas in customer reviews, interview transcripts, and survey responses.
You can also find ideas from the “discovery” phase when you answered questions about your product, unique selling points/differentiators, use cases, and more.
All of that raw data can be transformed into usable copy.
I have a whole section in my Website Bootcamp that’s dedicated to writing website copy, but I also have a bunch of free resources below that you may find helpful:
- How to Write Clearly & Concisely
- Developing Brand Tone of Voice & Style
- Executing Brand Voice in Your Copy (With Examples)
- How to Optimize Your Website Copy (Case Study)
- 3-Step Process for Quickly Generating Headline Ideas
- “Good” vs “Bad” Headlines (Includes Examples!)
#5: Website Design & Development
Just like IA and UX are intricately woven, so, too, are copy and design.
This is why it’s so important to work with a good designer / developer when it comes to your website.
Because at the end of the day, you can have the best IA / UX / copy in the world, but if you have bad design, none of the other stuff matters.
Everything has to work TOGETHER – so do not skimp on design.
I can’t tell you how many times clients have paid me thousands of dollars only to implement the copy themselves or hire a low-quality (aka CHEAP) designer to do it for them.
This NEVER works, so I don’t recommend it.
Visual design is not covered in my Website Bootcamp, but if you need a designer/developer (and I recommend this), I’d be happy to provide you with some names (and NO, I do not get or accept kickbacks).
And here’s another cool thing:
If you use the bootcamp to help you do the research, IA/UX, and copy, you’ll have plenty of resources left over to hire a high-quality designer/developer.
Even if you still need to hire additional help (i.e. a copywriter to add polish, etc), the bootcamp is still going to save you a ton of time/money, as you can do discovery, customer research, and the IA/UX on your own.
Ready to revamp your website?
It doesn’t matter if you are revamping an existing website or building from scratch – you still need those 5 core components (internal clarity, external research, an IA/UX, copy, and design/development) to succeed.
They are the same components whether you’re working on your own website or your clients’ websites.
My Website Bootcamp will help you get 4 out of 5 of those components, which is going to save you a ton of money – so you can hire the amazing designer/developer you deserve.
The bootcamp is now OPEN and can be started anytime – at your convenience and on your schedule.
If you have any questions, please let me know; I hope to see you there!