How Long Does It Take to Redesign a Website?

If we had a penny for every time someone popped the question, “How long does It take to redesign a website?” we’d be swimming in coins. At least two boats full, by our non-scientific calculations.

Here at Trajectory, we’ve been designing websites across various industries for over two decades now. (We started when MySpace was the hottest social network and CD mixtapes were still a thing).

This experience puts us in an excellent position to answer this question. And that’s exactly what we’ll do in this post. We’ll give you an approximate timeline, a breakdown of how the redesign process works, tips to speed it up, and common mistakes that delay it.

For the fast and curious, here's the quick answer:

A website redesign can be completed within six weeks with prompt client feedback and minimal revisions. But let’s be honest; not every project meets that criteria. You’re better off doubling the estimate if you want a relaxed pace and more revisions. Plus, the more complex and customized your site is, the longer it’ll take.

What does a website redesign involve?

We break down website redesign into four phases. Here’s a breakdown of the process.

Note: The timeline below is a rough estimate. We understand each business is unique and has its own priorities and schedules. If you’re working with us, we run point on the project and work closely with you to accommodate your timeline. Our team handles everything from strategy to launch and post-launch support.

Website design timeline and phases

We break our projects into 4 phases: strategy, wireframing & content, design, and development.

1. Strategy Phase

We kick things off with a strategy call. This is where we evaluate the current website design, set clear goals for the redesign, understand the brand essence, and assess the technology needs. The outcome of this phase is a strategic brief (a plan detailing essential brand, audience, and project information) and a site structure document (basic page elements and layout). Once these documents are delivered, the client is expected to provide feedback and suggest revisions. This phase typically takes 1-2 weeks, depending on how fast the feedback comes in.

  • Trajectory deliverables: strategic documents and site structure design
  • Estimated timeframe for accelerated projects: 1 week
  • Estimated timeframe for standard projects: 2 weeks
  • Client responsibility: Sign off on the strategy document and site structure

2. Wireframing Phase

Next is the wireframing phase. A wireframe visually represents a website’s layout, structure, and functionality without any design elements. We create a functional wireframe (interactive blueprint) and write the website copy in this stage.

The wireframing phase usually takes 2-4 weeks.

  • Trajectory deliverables: Wireframes and text content
  • Estimated timeframe for accelerated projects: 2 weeks
  • Estimated timeframe for standard projects: 4 weeks
  • Client responsibility: Feedback on the wireframes and content
Website wireframe design

3. Website Design Phase

We move to the design phase once we’ve nailed down the wireframes. The first thing we do is design the homepage; once it’s approved, we’ll design the rest of the site. We start with the homepage because it establishes the design direction for the entire site. Starting with the homepage ensures elements like the header navigation, logo size, footer, colors, and typography remain consistent across the site.

This phase can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the complexity of the site. The client is expected to provide feedback on the design mockup.

  • Trajectory deliverables: Homepage design, followed by remaining site design
  • Estimated timeframe for accelerated projects: 2-3 weeks
  • Estimated timeframe for standard projects: 4-6 weeks
  • Client responsibility: Site design feedback and revision requests

4. Site Development Phase (Go-Live)

The final phase is the launch of the new website. The step involves setting up a secure and scalable hosting environment for the website, coding the designs into a functional site, and rigorous testing across different browsers and devices to ensure compatibility and responsiveness. Following thorough testing and approval, your website is launched. You can now proudly showcase it to your customers.

Depending on the size and complexity of the website, the development phase can take anywhere between 2-8 weeks.

  • Trajectory deliverables: Fully developed website
  • Estimated timeframe for accelerated projects: 2-4 weeks
  • Estimated timeframe for standard projects: 4-8 weeks
  • Client responsibility: Feedback and revision requests

5. Ongoing Support

We believe in long-term partnerships at Trajectory, so we don’t just offload the new website and cut ties. We’ll continue to partner with you and provide long-term support. Conversion rate optimization, content (text and image) updates, design tweaks, layout adjustments, tracking code implementations, and copy changes are some services we offer post-launch. Our team is always just an email or Zoom call away.

Tips for speeding up the web design process

Now that we’ve covered the web design process. Here are some tips to speed up your website redesign project:

Website redesign content migration

1. Create a migration plan for existing content

Before starting the website redesign, it’s important to create an inventory of your existing content. This will help you figure out what needs to be moved over to the new site. A content inventory typically takes the form of a spreadsheet, like Excel, Google Sheets, or something similar.

Here are some key fields that are commonly included in a content inventory spreadsheet:

  • Content ID: A unique identifier for each piece of content. This could be a numerical ID, a URL, or any other form of unique identification.
  • Page title: The title of the page or post. This helps you identify the content more easily.
  • URL: The current web address of the content. You need this to track where the content lives on your site and plan the new structure.
  • Content type: Identifies whether the content is a blog post, product page, informational page, etc.
  • Category or section: The section or category under which the content falls. Having a documented taxonomy helps organize the content by topic or hierarchy.
  • Author or owner: The person responsible for the content. This is especially useful when updates or approvals are needed.
  • Status: Indicates whether the content will be kept as-is, updated, merged, or deleted in the new website design.
  • Analytics data: Key performance indicators such as page views, bounce rate, backlinks, conversion rate, etc., to assess the content’s value and effectiveness.
  • Metadata: Information about meta titles, descriptions, and any keywords associated with the content for SEO purposes.
  • Notes and comments: Additional comments about the content, such as necessary updates, reasons for removal, or other relevant notes.

2. Choose a design agency with a well-defined workflow

While it’s possible to handle the redesign in-house, outsourcing the work to a professional web development agency is usually the better choice if your budget allows. They’ll guide you through the website redesign process and share insights on the latest technologies, current web design trends, and best practices to ensure the best user experience. Outsourcing web design allows you to focus on your core business without diverting your attention to a complex project outside your expertise. A good agency can also help you sidestep common mistakes based on their experience.

3. Elect a project manager

The designated project manager will serve as the linchpin between your company and the web design agency. Your project manager should be the primary point of contact and oversee the project’s lifecycle from inception to culmination. They will be responsible for managing stakeholders, smooth communication, and preventing frictions that could hinder progress. The project manager will also play a critical role in compiling and delivering all necessary materials and information the design agency requires to proceed efficiently at each stage of the project. At Trajectory, we plan timelines, manage communications, and manage projects. Still, we need a single point of contact on the client side for decisions and approvals.

4. Schedule meetings

To maintain momentum throughout the project, always put the next meeting on the calendar before the current one ends. Whether it’s a quick check-in or a major milestone review, scheduling that next touchpoint keeps the project on track.

When the next meeting is on the calendar, team members are more likely to come prepared, finish their tasks, and think through the issues they wish to discuss. The expectation of progress between meetings encourages accountability since people know their contributions will be discussed and evaluated regularly.

For instance, consider the scenario where you’re spearheading a website overhaul for a manufacturing firm. During the initial project discussion, schedule a meeting to review initial design concepts. This strategy sets a concrete timeline for your design team to create and refine their mock-ups. It also instills a sense of urgency and direction in their creative process.

5. Create a brand style guide

A style guide helps maintain a cohesive brand identity and saves time when making design decisions. It serves as a comprehensive manual for your brand’s visual and stylistic elements, including logos, typography, color schemes, and imagery.

When your brand’s visual elements are consistent, they become more recognizable. This recognition helps differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace. For example, think about the iconic Apple logo or Coca-Cola’s iconic red-and-white color scheme; their look and feel are instantly recognizable.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a style guide—many companies approach us without one. We can help you create a minimal brand guide.

6. Gather brand assets in advance

That’s the perfect segue into the next point. Get your project manager to gather the necessary brand collateral ahead of time. Depending on your web design, it might be customer testimonials, photography, videos, and case studies.

Brand assets are not mandatory to kick off the project. However, providing these to the agency after the strategy call (the first or second week) expedites the process. At Trajectory, we have a workflow that prompts our clients for necessary collateral, keeping us organized.

7. Choose a platform based on your needs, not popular advice

Choosing the right technology foundation for your website can significantly impact its success and scalability. Contrary to mainstream advice, the most popular option won’t always fit your specific needs.

WordPress, for example, is a powerhouse for blogging and content management. However, using it to build an e-commerce or membership site usually requires extensive customization. This complicates the development process and introduces security risks and performance issues.

Imagine an online store that starts as a simple blog on WordPress. As the store grows and requires more complex e-commerce functionalities, the site owners might find themselves relying heavily on third-party plugins and custom code. This leads to bloated sites with security vulnerabilities.

We’ve had many clients approach us wanting to build their website on WordPress, but after discussing their goals, it became clear that a platform like Craft or Webflow was a better solution. In fact, this became such a common occurrence that we decided to use Craft and Webflow exclusively. As a simple rule, we suggest Webflow for simple marketing sites and Craft for content-heavy or more complex websites needing advanced functionality and customization.

Common Mistakes in Website Redesign

Now that we’ve covered some general tips, let’s look at some common mistakes that can derail your website redesign project.

Common website redesign mistakes

Going straight into designing

One of the biggest mistakes we see is jumping straight into the design phase without a proper plan. It’s crucial to define the basic building blocks and user journey before you start designing. Without this foundation, you’ll end up creating a bad user experience.

Suppose you want a user to find your latest whitepaper; you must consider where to place the call-to-action button, how users will find it, and what information they need before downloading your resource. This requires a strategic approach that involves wireframing and user flow mapping before moving on to the visual design.

Another common oversight is resource planning. Failing to allocate the necessary resources—time, budget, and personnel—for each project phase can result in bottlenecks and delays.

For instance, if you underestimate the time needed for web copy, you may have to rush through it, resulting in brand copy that doesn’t effectively communicate your brand message.

Ignoring mobile optimization, site performance, and SEO

We’ve grouped mobile optimization, site performance, and search engine optimization (SEO) together because they’re the trifecta of good user experience. We’ve seen many cases where companies overlooked these crucial elements, resulting in substantial revisions later on.

  • Responsive websites: In a world where smartphones are practically an extension of our hands, a website that doesn’t perform well on mobile is a definite misstep. Realizing that your site doesn’t load properly on smaller screens just a day before its launch is far from ideal.
  • Good performance: Likewise, discovering performance issues late in the project might require redesigning elements. For instance, if the site is graphics-heavy and takes too long to load, you may need to optimize images and sometimes even change the entire design strategy.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Another common slip-up is neglecting SEO during the initial strategy phase. Recognizing this oversight late might mean having to go back to the drawing board to discuss fundamentals like site structure, URL structure, and content strategy—squandering precious time with each decision.

By prioritizing these aspects from the outset, you can avoid the domino effect of delays and keep your redesign project on course.

Skipping the wireframing phases

Wireframing lays the foundation for the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. It gives everybody a clear picture of the final user flow without getting distracted by the design choices. During this stage, ideas and design elements can be quickly iterated and refined without having to recode. It prevents potential misunderstandings and misalignments among team members and stakeholders.

Skipping the wireframing phase is like building a house without a blueprint. On the surface, it might seem like an unnecessary step, and it might be tempting to skip it to save resources. However, this often proves to be a false economy because it increases costs and delays in the long run.

Leaning too hard on trends (and templates)

While it’s wise to avoid outdated trends, blindly chasing the latest fads can be a mistake. Often, these trendy designs aren’t effective in real life and result in lower conversion rates. Plus, they might not align with your brand identity. For example, a glitzy, over-the-top design won’t convey your brand essence if you’re a traditional financial institution with years of history. It’s important to strike a balance between modern design and the brand identity. Similarly, it’s best to avoid generic templates that make your brand look like hundreds of other websites looking for shortcuts.

An easy remedy is to hire an agency that understands the fundamentals of your business and audience—even if it means spending a little extra on web design.

Decision by committee

While forming a committee to make decisions may appear to be a democratic and inclusive approach, it often leads to significant challenges in redesign projects. Having multiple decision-makers often leads to conflicting opinions and a lack of consensus. Each stakeholder typically comes to the table with their own set of priorities, preferences, and visions for the project, which can differ significantly from each other.

For example, when redesigning a company’s website, marketing might focus on branding and lead generation, IT on technical performance and security, and customer service on user experience and accessibility. These are all valid and important considerations, but harmonizing them without clear leadership and decision-making protocols can be tricky.

Lack of a dedicated project manager

Not having a dedicated project manager to oversee the redesign process can lead to communication breakdowns and missed deadlines due to the lack of individual accountability. A project manager keeps everyone on track, facilitates inter-team collaboration, and ensures that the project stays within scope and budget.

Not planning for accessibility

An examination of the home pages of the top 1,000,000 websites found more than 51 million unique accessibility errors. That’s more than 50 errors per homepage. Considering how common these issues are and the fact that 16% of the world’s population experience disability, accessibility should never be an afterthought in the redesign process.

By not planning for accessibility from the start, businesses risk alienating a significant portion of their potential audience. Plus, a design that does not meet accessibility standards can require substantial modifications later on to comply with regulations, potentially delaying the launch.

At Trajectory, we believe in creating websites that everyone can use, regardless of their abilities. Accessibility features like alt text for images, color contrast, optimum font size, and so on are baked into our workflow.

Lack of clear goals or scope

In our experience, not defining the scope and objectives at the beginning is one of the biggest reasons for delayed projects. Whether it’s a slight tweak or a complete website revamp, knowing and documenting the expected outcome will prevent confusion and revisions. Without this clarity, projects can suffer from scope creep, increasing costs, and extending timelines.

Overlooking analytics and integrations

Failing to plan for tracking and other third-party integrations can delay your project. For example, if you plan to integrate a payment gateway on your site, it’s important to have a clear plan for how that integration will work and which payment processor to use. Similarly, there are hundreds of analytics and tracking software out there, from Google Analytics to HubSpot. Some of them are free and some cost thousands of dollars per month. Some are easy to set up, and some require custom development work. It’s important to have a consensus on these decisions to avoid last-minute discussions and disagreements. Planning for this early on in the project avoids last-minute surprises.

Are you looking for a website redesign service?

Let’s chat if you’re looking for an agency to handle your web design. We’ll lead the project and work closely with you to make it seamless, satisfying, and stress-free.

Ready for a stellar new website?

We’re ready for takeoff! Tell us a little about your business and we’ll reach out to get your project underway.