A website redesign project is inevitable for any organization or company. As a digital agency, we know firsthand how these projects can be completed seamlessly, or not so much, depending upon the amount of preparation, strategy, and collaboration throughout the website redesign process. In this blog, we’ll talk about our recommendations on how to avoid failure and ensure your redesign or website project hits the mark.
Identifying the Marketing Issue
The first step in a successful redesign is determining why you need to in the first place. Aesthetics plays a large role in this decision. Having a website that looks and feels updated is important from a brand management perspective, as well as effective UX/UI. Aside from design, some other important areas to investigate would include engagement with active users, lead capture or conversions, or technical issues including outdated or expiring software.
The reason we suggest identifying the why helps a future agency, or yourself, determine the best remedy moving forward from a strategic standpoint. Oftentimes, a website redesign can provide a shiny new website but if you don’t determine the business impact or detrimental issues, your website will look better but still lack performance.
Clarifying Your Goals
After understanding the reasons why you need a new website, the next step is to develop your goals for your future website. Determining what success looks like, is a great exercise to help you plan what a new website will look like and do for your company or marketing. Development of these goals is important, but determining their actual feasibility is also crucial. If your previous website generated 4 leads per month, setting a goal of 32 per month for the new one might not be the best suggestion. Use reason when determining these goals and set healthy expectations.
What would some sample goals look like? I’ll provide a few below:
- Develop clearer content
- Communicate a new brand, product or service successfully
- Improve ineffecitve traffic or lead generation
- Increase organic search visibility
- An easier to edit backend
Now each organization will have different needs when it comes to a redesign, but identifying these before selecting an agency partner will help your team understand the rationale internally, and also help your agency partner develop a more detailed and accurate estimate for your project.
Project roles and ownership are some of the best ways to ensure a successful website redesign project. Being crystal clear about who owns what and how they will contribute to the project is a great way to make sure you hit your deadlines and don’t overstretch team members and partners. Think through the entire project and consider who will write content, who will make the final decisions on designs and functionality, who should be made aware or be included in discussions, and how your partners plan to interface with your team. Gaining commitment across these roles in the project will keep your project running smoothly, and remove the guessing game of who is doing what and when. The less surprises, the better.
Setting Expectations/Attributing Timelines
Realistic deadlines are one of the most difficult areas of any large project. Predicting what will happen and when is incredibly challenging, especially with a fluid project such as a website. Once you’ve developed a list of who will do what, my suggestion would be to meet with all of those individuals to review the project details. Ask each team member to provide a realistic suggestion of when they can complete each area of the project. Remember to allow yourself, your team, and your agency or partner enough time to produce quality work. Rushed projects almost always skip steps or leave out crucial elements. Doing things right the first time will likely save you time and money in the long term.
Preparing an adequate budget for your project is another important aspect of planning for a website redesign. Too much budget, or too little, can drastically impact your ability to achieve your goals. Agencies, freelancers, and other website professionals range in cost, but also in expertise. The adage, you get what you pay for often comes into play. After reviewing the details of your project, ask a few different potential partners to help estimate and explain how much time and budget would be required to complete your project.
My advice as an agency business development professional is that the more you can share and cooperate at this stage, the more accurate of an estimate can be developed. Also, at this stage, I’d suggest being flexible to different approaches to the project and the budget. Sometimes a creative and unique approach helps both teams bridge the gap in arriving at a successful website, within a timeline that satisfies both parties. Developing a palatable budget is both an art and a science, a great partner will help you navigate through different options that will fit your needs and budget.
Lastly, selecting a partner is a major step in a successful redesign project. Agencies range in capabilities, skill, speed, and many other attributes. Selecting the right one may be the most important decision of all. You’ll want to review the budget as mentioned above, approach and strategy, review personnel and personalities for fit, as well as past work samples and references in some cases.
I’ve written another blog previously that speaks more about great things to consider in selecting a new partner you can view that here. There are several different considerations to review when selecting a partner, but some of the main areas to consider include, price, creativity, process and approach, capabilities, timeline, and most importantly, are they someone you’d enjoy working with. Rank each area for a potential partner, and I think you’ll team will have a clear consensus. Be honest and transparent with potential partners, and please, notify all of them of your decision.
I hope all of these suggestions help you on your next website project. If our agency can help, we would love the opportunity to discuss working together. You can reach out to us, or myself at any time!