This is, by no means, a comprehensive list of what to do before conducting a site redesign (or even building a site from scratch, for that matter). However, based upon information from professional designers, marketing strategists and usability experts, it's a pretty good jumping-off point.
• What is your budget for the project?
• Who will be conducting the redesign? Are you outsourcing the entire project to a third-party design company, utilizing a consultant or doing it all in-house?
• What are your search engine optimization needs? Do you need to consider updating your content management system? How about your site's technological specifications?
• Have you researched the sites of your competitors? As a potential "customer," what was good or bad about the interaction?
• Have you prioritized your list of problems?
• What are you hoping to accomplish with your current site? What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?
Keeping it user-friendly:
• What are the issues? Where are people exiting? Are there any pages that are particularly frustrating or hard-to-navigate?
• What are the good things about the site? What do you like?
• Who are your target users? How do they think about your products or services?
• Can someone who is unfamiliar with your company learn about your business and easily accomplish what they want to do on your Web site? Do you get the information you require from every customer interaction?
Creating a marketing strategy:
• How are your site's pages currently ranking on Google? What are the keyphrases for which you'd like to rank? Have you researched the appropriate keywords?
• Do you need to update any of your site's technological needs: e.g. use a new content management system, go "frameless" or open up password-protected content?
• Is the majority of copy in text form, as opposed to within graphics?
• Have you trained your copywriters and/or hired SEO copywriters to update the site?
• Are your page titles updated to maximize their SEO effectiveness?
• Who is linking to your site from their own?
• Are your internal pages cross-referenced and cross-linked?