If you're thinking it's time to re-vamp your company's current site, it's helpful to understand how the redesign process will typically flow so you can be prepared to answer the questions and provide the content your web team will need to complete the job.
Rick Whittington recently outlined the "three great reasons to redesign your website," and ifyou relate to one (or more) of them, or have your own reasons for wanting to get a new and improved site up and going - you'll want to take the time to think through a few of the following questions before hiring a web designer. By taking the time to answer these questions, you'll be giving yourself a huge advantage in ensuring that your new website lives up to your needs and expectations.
What's the reason you want to invest in a facelift (or complete overhaul)? Getting clear on why you want a new site is important. If the reason is significant to you meeting your business goals, then outlining your hopes will be useful for setting a reference point regarding your expectations.
This question will also help illuminate how much money you might expect to invest in the project, as well as how many internal and external resources you'll need to rely on to finish the job.
Here are a few of the more common reasons why people want to make a change to their website:
Aesthetics - The current site doesn't represent your brand in the right way, or things have shifted as your company has evolved.
Performance - The current site doesn't function optimally for you (or your customers') needs.
Bulk - Maybe your site has grown in a sort of Frankenstein way over the years. If left unchecked, the content additions that come with new products and messaging and branding re-vamps, can create a situation where your site is cluttered with too many sidebar widgets, a confusing sitemap, and/or overgrown sub-menus that need reining in.
Some other reason - Why do you feel or think you need to invest in a new website? Get specific.
Answering this question in depth will be important for both you and the team you choose to collaborate with on the redesign. If you can clearly articulate the reasons you want a new site - what your hopes and goals are - they will be more able to build and design a site that lives up to your expectations.
A simple out-of-the-box template website can be done on the cheap by anyone who knows their way around Wordpress or drag-and-drop style HTML editors, but for medium-sized (and larger) businesses, it often makes sense to work with an experienced agency that understands your business goals as a partner and can develop your vision for the site while building in the functions and site flow that will ultimately help you reach those goals.
Developing a professional website will require the work of a:
Graphic Designer to design the site in a way that matches your brand and your brand's needs.
Frontend Developer to turn the graphic designer's work into a functioning site.
Copywriter to convey your brand's message in a way that fits within the new design.
SEO Specialist to ensure your site is optimized for search engines and able to be easily found by your customers.
Production Manager to coordinate the project and all the different players involved.
And depending on the complexity of the site - your project may also require the expertise of a Backend Programmer who is skilled at connecting multiple backend systems, setting up eCommerce functionality, and writing custom code for proprietary functions on your site.
You could opt to go out and stitch together a team of experts and play the role of Production Manager yourself, but this approach oftentimes ends in frustration and unnecessary errors and/or overspending on the project as tasks run over their allotted times and communication breakdowns happen as a result of not having seamless workflows established between the independent parties.
This is why most companies that embark on a site redesign enlist the help of an agency that has an entire team under one roof and are accustomed to working together as a team to get projects in on deadline and on budget.
Will the content from your existing site be sufficient for the new site? If you're looking for just an aesthetic update, it can be possible to re-purpose and re-structure what you already have.
If, however, your new website is part of a re-branding or will veer significantly from your current site, it may be necessary to create a new set of content for the site.
Content includes headers, sub-headers, body copy, calls-to-action, and other areas that may need text accompaniment with the visuals on a page.
While this may seem like "no big deal" we find that this is often one of the more challenging aspects of putting a new site together. There isn't a one-size-fits-all when it comes to creating content for a new website. Each design will have different character and word count requirements and visual elements can limit header and sub-header spacing unexpectedly.
In addition, depending on the project, you will either be required to:
a.) deliver all site content before redesign begins (in which case you'll be writing copy based on a sitemap).
b.) write copy after design work is finished based on specific word and character count requirements/limits set by the approved design comps.
We've built websites for a ton of companies (big and small) in a crazy wide range of industries. From tech, gaming, B2B, health, real estate and industrial companies, to artificial grass and cyber security providers, we've done it all.
And we know from experience that regardless of the industry you're in, the answers to the questions above play a vital role in helping you get the website you need and want.
Is a Growth Driven Design strategy the right approach for your next web redesign? Learn more in the ebook: A Web-Dev's Guide to Growth Driven Design.