Website Redesign? 5 Points to Consider

Planning a website redesign is no easy undertaking; knowing where to start is always daunting. But, don’t worry, this post is here to help.

Since 2001, we’ve helped countless people & businesses with their website redesign projects and, whilst each website is different, many common points crop up. We’d like to share 5 of those with you now to help steer your website re-design project in the right direction.

Q1 – Who is this for?

Put simply, websites are chunks of digital marketing collateral which are there to serve a purpose; to get folks to buy things, to submit a form, to download something etc. But who do you want to target? (And no, you’re not allowed to say ‘everyone‘; trying to appeal to everyone is a fast ticket to appealing to no-one).

We tend to use tools like ‘personas‘ to help steer customers away from this kneejerk ‘everyone’ mindset. The aim of using personas is to help establish a plain English baseline for who the website is trying to appeal to; this can then help steer all the decisions that follow. It also helps act a litmus test; e.g. if someones says the website should look like x, or be able to do y; then you can pause, and ask them if it makes sense to your target audience persona? Because if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t go on the website.

Q2 – What do you want them to do?

Once you’ve established who your audience(s) is, then the next step is to be clear on what you want them to do. We touched on this in the previous point (as they’re closely related), be crystal clear about what action or actions you want them to take. The purpose of the website is to act as a container these actions, and the purpose of the website content (discussed next), is to encourage & enable those actions.

Another great reason for being clear as to what actions you want your audience to take is that this makes your analytics and reporting a darn sight easier. E.g. if we’re trying to encourage people to get in touch, then perhaps we’ll be offering a white paper download or something – and this key action needs to be wired into your analytics package so we can assess your website by this meaningful metric. Sessions & hits don’t tell you a lot; we want to know what actions people are taking. How successful is my website?

Q3 – What state is the current content in?

I’ll let you into a little secret; dealing with the content for a website redesign project will invariably always be the thing the slows the whole project up.

The client is happy to be involved in the early sessions, with the information architecture (the site-mapping, the wireframes), and loves to be involved in looking at the mocked up new website designs etc. Where things fall down a tad is the content: most people think they can write so end up shunning the services of a copywriter – shame.

This is what I would recommend, perform a ‘content audit‘ of your existing website so you can assess it’s appropriateness (or not!) for copying across to the new site; some of the content may be great and perfect as is, some may need minor amends, some may need complete re-writes, and some content may be completely missing as it was never previously identified as being required. The sooner the content leg of a website re-design project is started, the better. After all, the website design is nothing more than a fancy shell which wraps around the perl of your content (now that was poetic!).

Q4 – What state is our brand in?

We’re not a branding company; we’re websites & digital, but we’re sure as heck very brand savvy. And we’ll be able to spot if your brand is tired or in need of some tender loving care. If your brand is in a poor shape, and it’s going to impact what we do – we’ll tell you squarely so that you can make a decision as to whether to address the brand issue now or try to muddle on through.

It’s very important you consider this brand issue yourself as there are many web design companies out there who simply don’t care (or worse, don’t know know); you’ve asked for a website re-design? Fine. You’ll get a website. Brand or no brand.

Brand underlines everything that you do; certainly in terms of any marketing material you produce. So any improvements you make in your brand will have a impact on any marketing collateral produced (such as websites). Brand is bedrock, best get that right.

Q5 – What is my budget?

You’re going to need to think about what level of investment you are prepared to make. And don’t be surprised that agencies want to ask you about this; they are not trying to catch you out – they are just trying to make sure that everyone is on the same page before they start down the process of investing time in a proposal.

E.g. our projects tend to start around the £7.5K range. This being the case, with all the good will in the world, there’s little point us talking if you’ve only got £750 to spend on the whole project. However, if you were thinking it was going to cost at least a couple of grand, then we know there is sensible budget available, and it’s worth us meeting so we can explain the extra value we bring to the table.

Bare in mind as well – you really want to treat this as an investment. You want to spend enough money so that a decent design process is being used to help you with your website (rather than just getting something pretty online). A decent process will be mindful of building return-on-investment into your website from day one. Isn’t it better to invest in a quality website which delivers results year in, year out? Rather than tinkering with an under-performing website every few years? In the long run, the later is a lot more costly.

The End

I hope that helps and gives you some food for thought. One other point I’d drop in there; don’t feel the need to know everything before you speak to an agency; good agencies will help advise you as to what you need and what the opportunities there are out there. Go out and meet agencies, the ones that listen and you warm to, those are the ones to work with.

If you want to speak to such an agency, Glass Mountains are here to help 🙂

Joel

p.s. no, I’m not sure why I thought a picture of my daughter in her rugby gear was relevant – I guess I’m just a proud dad!

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