1. ALWAYS keep your customers (personas) in mind
The first thing that you have to realize in order to be successful with your website redesign is that you are not building your website for yourself. We can't stress this enough. What you love may be a complete turnoff to your customers. Understanding what they're looking for on your site and making it easy to find, providing the information that they find useful immediately, and structuring your design and navigation in a way that suits their browsing style are all things to consider. Do it first so you don't have to worry about redesigning your website again in a few months.
2. Play to your Strengths
If you are not a good copywriter, DON'T WRITE COPY. If your strength is not front end design, DON'T DO IT. Forcing yourself to do things that are not in your wheelhouse is a great way to make mistakes, alienate your customers, and hurt the success of your new website. Outsource whatever you're not comfortable doing. We all have our strengths, use yours and find someone that has complementary skills for the rest.
3. Budget your Time
You're running a business. How much time do you have to work on a website redesign? Probably not much. Trying to build your own website at 2am because it's your only free time is a great way to make mistakes. Schedule time to work on it and make it a priority, or better yet, let someone who specializes in website design do it for you. Your time is probably more valuable and better spent working on your business, not your website.
Also remember to set realistic expectations of when you need it done. Trying to push out a new website redesign in a week probably isn't realistic. It's important to add extra time to your deadline to deal with unforeseen difficulties (trust us...there will be some).
4. Figure out the Goals of your Website
What does your website need to accomplish? Is it strictly education? Sales? Building your email database?
Figure out how your website is going to benefit your guests as well as your business. Leveraging high quality content for information from your guests is usually a great WIN-WIN.
It's easy to build a website. It's difficult to build a GOOD website that benefits both the customer and the business. Understanding what you need and want out of your website from the very beginning is going to make it a much more efficient process.
And please...oh please...if website design is not in your wheelhouse, please don't force it. It never works out well.
Enjoy and KEEP BUZZING!