Deciding to embark on a website redesign – not a minor tune-up, but a significant overhaul – is not a small undertaking. So if the idea of doing some deep examination and contemplation before digging in seems a little tedious, there’s a reason why.
The following questions will create an exercise in fully exploring the many aspects of a website redesign. The idea is to – instead of saying “eh, we should probably redo our site” – most accurately assess what your site is doing well, what problems need to be solved, and what other parts of your branding and content strategy could be bolstered in the process. If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right.
- What are any obvious problems with site functionality?
Sometimes you go into a site remodeling project with just a general goal of updating things, reflecting the most current image of your brand and services, and keeping up with progress in your industry. Other times, your site is actually a real mess. If there are glaring problems, obviously make sure those are solved for in the new version of the site.
- Do customers have the same complaints?
As always, people who use your site will have a much clearer perspective on the true functionality and ease of use of your site than you will be able to. Listen to the feedback you’ve gotten – chances are, you’ll see a lot of the same criticisms over and over. This is invaluable info when it comes to figuring out how people are using your site, and how it could serve them better.
- What are our competitors doing?
Copying exactly what your competition is doing will never result in you pulling out ahead of them. So when we say to stay aware of what comparable companies in your industry are up to, the idea is to make sure you’re keeping up – and then going a few steps beyond that. You should always strive to be the player in your industry who is defining what comes next. It’s easier to do that when you know what everyone else is doing.
- Do all of our third-party apps work?
If you employ tools on your site that originate elsewhere, make sure you’re using the most updated versions, which might require making adjustments to your site to maintain compatibility.
- Has our company/service/product changed?
Companies are much more human than most people might think – instead of staying exactly one way, they grow and change over time. If you haven’t updated your website in a few years, it might be that it’s reflective of an outdated version of your company. Smart small business owners are unabashedly unafraid to let their business evolve – the smartest owners make sure that the support pieces (like the website) keep up with that evolution.
- Are we rebranding?
Because that’s a much more complex project. We’re not saying don’t do it – rebranding is exciting and sometimes very necessary! – but definitely don’t move forward until you’re really thought about the difference between redoing your website and making over your brand entirely.
- Are we going to use someone in-house to lead the design, or contract out?
At this point, your website is as much the face of your company as any brick-and-mortar office (if you even have one.) So this isn’t the area to cut corners. If you happen to have someone on staff who possesses the skills to carry out this project, that’s great – you’ll save time and money. But if you don’t have someone already on your team who can genuinely do this job as well as it can possibly be done, don’t let your desire to save time and money force you into making sacrifices on the quality of the end product. There are a lot of brilliant web designers out there – it’s more than worth it to invest in working with one.
- How does this fit into our content strategy?
Good website content is an indispensable component in marketing and customer retention. Your existing site probably was already crafted with SEO considered, but there’s nothing wrong with making sure you’re absolutely maximizing the benefit of strong content while you’re in there making changes.