This post was originally published on November 2nd, 2017. Updated for May 5th, 2020.
At some point, the day will come when you look at your business website and realize that it’s no longer as sleek, cutting-edge, and effective as it once was back in 1999 when you and your website were Livin’ la Vida Loca.
Websites do have a lifespan, and it’s important to re-evaluate regularly if your website is still an effective marketing tool, and accurately portraying your brand.
Whenever you decide your business website is ready for an upgrade, here are 4 strategies for stress-free website redesign:
#1. Determine your priorities
The first and most important step in this process is to determine your priorities for the redesign.
- What parts of your current website do you like, and want to keep? (Or just torch the whole thing and never look back.)
- What kind of problems are you having with your current website?
- Would you like to just update the design, or does the content/text need to be updated as well?
- How could your client’s experience be improved on your new site?
- What kinds of add-ons could be integrated into your website to help generate sales/business? (E.g. adding an online store, or a pricing estimate tool for your services.)
Give yourself some time to think about these questions, and make yourself a list of priorities. Then be sure to address these goals with your website designer early on in the redesign process.
#2. Set a realistic budget and timeline
Determine a realistic budget for your new website, which will help decide on the scope of the redesign. It may be that a simple but well-thought-out one-page site is perfect for your small business and limited budget. Or maybe you are ready for the investment of a multi-page site with eCommerce and all the bells and whistles.
Next, decide on a reasonable timeline (on your end) for launching your new site. Keep in mind that you will need to provide your web designer with all the updated content (text, photos, logos, etc.) that will need to be included on the new site, and that gathering up this content and writing new copy (if needed) will take some time.
If you have a goal for when you’d like to have the new site up and running (e.g. by the holiday season), give yourself enough time to have the site live for a “buffer period” before it gets hit with your hoards of holiday shoppers. This is key in order to be able to work out any kinks or issues before the site starts getting a lot of traffic. Basically, don’t create more unneeded stress for your busy self by rushing the process.
#3. Choose a website redesign point person
If your business is a one-woman or one-man show, then obviously you’ll be the one making all the decisions on this project. But if you run a larger company, you may want to choose someone on your team to be the point person.
It may be that a manager or marketing person on your team already has a good sense of what is needed on the new website, in terms of what your clients are looking for, and can help direct the web designer as to the brand and identity of your business. Choosing a point person to oversee the project can help make the process more efficient, keep the redesign on track in terms of your goals and budget (by minimizing run-around), and hopefully keep some emails out of your own inbox.
#4. Stick to the project scope
Once the process is underway, you may be so excited about the new site that you’ll be tempted to just pile on more and more features and add-ons.
Resist the urge!
Of course, new ideas are always a good thing, but make sure they still align with your big-picture priorities. It’s all too easy to let the scope of the redesign get out of hand, which can increase your budget, delay your timeline, and detract from your primary goals.
Check-in with your point person and determine if a new feature or request will contribute to your website priorities, or if it should be added to the back-burner list for another phase of your business website development.
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