Redesigning Your Website? Here’s How to Prevent Disaster Before It Strikes
Published on June 17, 2016
So you’ve decided it’s time to redesign your brand’s website! Great! It’s important to make sure you have an attractive, mobile-ready site that’s primed to help drive traffic into conversions.
But there are plenty of things that could go wrong along the way – ready to cut them off before they start?
Here are five surefire ways to keep your website redesign from heading toward disaster:
1.) Manage Your Expectations – and Your Team – With a Clear “Scope Of Work”
A lot can change over the course of a site’s design and development, from your budget to your target goals to your timeline. And while it may be tempting to “play things by ear,” it will help in the long run to establish a clear “scope of work” agreement with your web development team, including target dates and clear-cut expectations for your final product.
After all, you don’t want to end up being charged for a final site that doesn’t function the way you envisioned, just as your vendor doesn’t want to have their vision compromised by an unexpected time crunch. Make your expectations crystal clear, and you’ll avoid frustration and disappointments further in the process.
And speaking of the process…
2.) Set Realistic Timelines and Goals
Having “too many cooks in the kitchen” can be a real burden on your website’s redesign. Before launching into the process, carefully consider your team’s expectations and needs, but set a deadline for indulging every whim. Instead, meet with your marketing experts, sales team, and customer service reps early in the process, so that you can meet up with your developers with a clear strategic direction in hand.
Once your strategic goals – the business goals you want your new site to play a direct role in accomplishing – are in place, set a reasonable timeline for building a site that can meet your needs. A rush job can lead to cut corners and shoddy code.
Instead, talk with your design and development team upfront about your needs and expectations, and they should be willing to set up a workable timeline for meeting them, including rolling out your project in phases, which may allow for A/B testing and adjustments to your original concepts.
3.) Include a CMS
When it comes to your new site, you’ll want to work with a designer, responsible for the look and feel of your site, and a developer, responsible for translating that design into responsive, functional code.
And while it’s great to work with these team members during a major online overhaul, you certainly won’t want to run to your developer every time you want to make a small edit or add copy to your site – relying on a vendor for all updates can cost your team a lot of time, and the small fees a hard-working developer may charge for simple jobs can really add up.
Instead, make sure your site comes complete with a CMS (Content Management System), which will allow even those without complex programming knowledge to make small updates to your site – like rewriting the copy on a call to action, adding a new blog post, or replacing old header images – without having to receive a bill from a coder.
4.) Build and Make Changes in a Non-Public Facing Environment
All too often, brands feel that they need to totally scrap their existing site to create a new one – meaning that the business takes their current website offline well before their newly designed one is up and fully operational. But, as we’ve discussed, the design and development process can take a long time, and your old site is better than absolutely no site at all (or, similarly, than a site that may be riddled with bugs or glitches as your developer works out its kinks).
Instead, work with a developer who knows how to build your site and make changes in what we call a development or test (that is, not public facing) environment. This allows the SEO and SEM tactics you have in place to continue to function during your redesign, meaning that you continue to receive traffic that generates leads while giving you an important pool of analytics and keyword data to draw from as a point of reference for your newly designed page.
5.) Make Your Site Inbound-Marketing Friendly
There was a time when websites functioned in the popular imagination like virtual brochures, merely offering a glimpse for visitors to get an introduction to your brand before making their purchase decision out in the real world.
Those days are long gone. Without a strategic focus on your conversion funnel, your site is a very expensive bookmark, glanced at briefly and then never thought about again.
Don’t just let your site sit there! Be active in employing strategies for bringing in traffic – like social marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimized copy, and be cognizant of how your site turns these leads into paying customers, with a strong call to action and an emphasis on mobile optimization.
That’s where Geek comes in! Our experienced team knows all of the ins and outs of designing and developing a beautiful, functional website, as well as maximizing it as an inbound marketing platform with targeted, proven content marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes. Curious about just what we can do for you? Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!