Are you looking to redesign your website? Designing a new website can be a daunting process, only made more complicated by the volume of information that sometimes needs to be organized and incorporated. Many companies put off a website redesign because they don’t want to go through the headache, but having an outdated site can be detrimental to your business and cost a lot of money in missed opportunities. Here are 5 tips to help you create a successful website redesign.
Evaluate Your Current Site-
– Why are you considering a website redesign? What are your main goals and objectives for the update? Make a list and rank them in order of priority.
– How does your website tie into helping you achieve your organization’s goals/objectives?
– What is your measure for success?
– Describe who you think a typical visitor to your site may be. What age are they, what websites do they visit, what do they do for a living?
– Who is your target audience?
– Who are your present and potential competitors? Are there parts of their website you wish to replicate? What can you do to stand out?
– What do you like about your current website, and where can it be improved?
– Determine what actions the typical user will perform when they visit your site. If you have access to Google Analytics, look over your metrics to determine which pages are most visited.
– How do you want your website visitors to perceive you?
– Are there any advanced features you want the new website to provide? (E.g. gallery, online survey, media streaming, social media integration, etc.)
– Do you have a marketing plan in place to support your website/online activity?
– If you were using a search engine, what words or phrases would you use to find your website?
If you have an ecommerce site or wish to add ecommerce capabilities, here are some additional questions to consider:
– What ecommerce functionality does not exist within your current ecommerce platform that you would like to include in the new website?
– How many product skus does the website need to support?
– What are your shipping requirements and how do you ship?
– What payment gateway(s) do you want to use?
– How do you populate your products currently or how do you plan on populating the products? Where is the data for the product information?
– What are your product pricing requirements? Do you have the need for tiered pricing/discounted pricing?
– How are you going to handle returns?
– Does the website need to track inventory?
– Does the new website need to integrate into other systems (ERP, Inv. Mgmt., POS, CRM, other 3rd party systems)?
Gather Your Content and Create a Website Map-
Do you currently have any brand guidelines or identity? Is your current website following your brand guidelines? If not, what changes do you need to make?
Approximately how many pages will the new website have and how many sections will there be? Rank, in order, the most important sections/pages on the website.
Who is going to be responsible for creating and managing content? Will you need new copy and photography? Will this be done in-house, or will you require ongoing support?
Once you establish your content, start working on your website map. It’s a centralized planning tool that can help organize and clarify the content that needs to go on your site. Here is a website map template. A sitemap will help you facilitate a successful website redesign.
Prepare Copy and Photos-
Update any copy on your website, and write new content when adding additional pages. Organize your copy by pages/sections using the website map you created in step 2. Make sure you have someone proofread everything; having spelling or grammatical mistakes will make your business look unprofessional.
It’s always a good idea to use photos to tell your business story. Make sure you have great images by hiring a professional photographer or purchasing stock. A few good stock options can be found at: shutterstock.com, thinkstockphotos.com, istockphoto.com. Remember, you can’t take photos from Google Images or any other search engine without permission without risk of copyright infringement.
Plan for a Successful Website Redesign-
Look over websites you like. What style are you drawn to? What websites will your customers respond best to? Check out the latest web design trends, and look over your competition. Once you have a few sites you like, you can provide these as examples to your web designer.
Hire a Web Design Company-
At this point, you should be armed with all the info you need to execute a successful website redesign. The only thing left is to find the perfect website designer. Once you’ve found some you might like, make sure to check their portfolio. Do they have a lot of examples? Are the sites they show in their portfolio still live? Make sure you actually visit the website links and not just look at examples. When it comes to website design, it’s not just about the look, but also the functionality. Make sure you hire a company with a proven track record of developing responsive websites that look great on any device. And don’t just take their word for it; test their example sites on multiple devices. If their example sites have issues, your site will too.
Do they have examples in your industry? If your a restaurant, you probably don’t want to hire a web designer who only has experience designing financial websites, and vice versa.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few companies, give them a call and ask for a proposal. Provide them with all the information you’ve already gathered to help facilitate an accurate estimate.
A few questions to consider when reviewing proposals:
– Do they provide custom designs, or will a template be used?
– How many concepts will they provide? If a company only offers you one concept, that’s generally a red flag.
– Do they include design and development under one roof, or will the development be outsourced? Many web design agencies outsource their development off-shores, which can slow down the redesign process and make it difficult to communicate. It’s generally best to pick a company that does both in-house.
– Does their proposal clearly define the work they will provide and what’s expected on your end?
– What content management system (CMS) will they use? We highly recommend WordPress. WordPress is the most popular open-source CMS in the world because it’s the easiest to update, and anyone without any development knowledge can quickly learn how to update their site. Be careful of web design companies that insist on you using their own CMS, or not providing one at all. Using a custom CMS will be much pricier and harder to update, and it will also keep you bound to that company. With WordPress, you can make updates yourself and not rely on or pay for someone else to make changes to your site.
– Do they test their work? A good web development company will test the website in a variety of browsers, including Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. They should also test the responsive design on iPhone and Android devices, and test the functionality of the site to ensure there are no errors or broken links.
– How many revisions do they include in their price? If you want to make changes during the development process, are there additional fees and what are they?
– What is their payment requirement? Most companies will request 50% up front and 50% on completion.
We hope these steps have helped you prepare for a successful website redesign. Please consider DreamBig for your next website design project. Check out our web design portfolio: dreambigcreative.net/client-portfolio/web-design