Take Inventory: Review What You Have and/or What you Need
Before you embark on a Website Redesign, you should take a good moment to review/think about what shape the new site will take. Sometimes a site redesign is just that… literally a redesign of the look and feel of the site. That is, you may not need to substantially change the sitemap (pages included in the site) or the messaging of the site or the user paths already in place. Even in the case you suspect you simply need a straight-forward redesign (look and feel), you should double-check.
- Review your current website/your current offerings – does it fairly represent what your business does today? Does it take into account services or products you have added to your offerings since the old site was developed? Does it reflect core offerings properly and as prominently as they should be presented? Will the focus of the new site remain the same or change? If so, in what way(s)?
- Verify your audiences/calls to action – who are your primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences? That is, who will be using the site? What do you want them to do, respectively, when they visit the site? Do you have clear user paths and calls-to-action in mind?
- Review functionality needs – what do you have on your current site that you no longer need or no longer use? What do you need that you don’t have?
- Review your brand – has it changed substantially from “back in the day” when your old site was made? If so, do you have the brand assets needed to reflect the brand on the new site (i.e. Logo, Color Palette, Typography)? What does your current site do well as it relates to conveying your brand? What could it do better?
Content: The Number One ‘Constraint’ to a Quick Turnaround
One of the most common questions we get from Clients and Prospects when discussing a website redesign project is how long it will take to complete.
It’s a fair question, to be sure. And our answer to that question always comes down to the same thing: the availability of on-page content. By content, we mean assets needed to build out the site.
In our world, content typically includes:
- Textual Content – the written word – or what we call “copy” (we are hip and happening).
- Images – whether original images or licensed images or a combination of both, images can make or break a redesign
- Attachments / Downloadables (such as PDFs)
- Embedded Videos – hosted on YouTube or Vimeo
Obviously, in the case where the client has an existing site with decent content that can be re-purposed and used on the new site, life is much easier. In many cases, a site redesign simply requires the client to develop additional content for new pages or for pages that are lacking enough textual content. Some text here and there, some additional images, etc. That is, additional content to bolster the existing content we have to work with from the old site.
In the absence of content, we *can* still build a site… but unless your target audience can make sense of meaningless Latin copy (so-called ‘Greeked out” text) and have vivid enough imaginations to make sense of “FPO” images (ie. For Placement Only), the site we build will probably not accomplish what you’re after. #snark_alert
Needless to say, proper preparation is the key to an expeditious turnaround. It is easy to underestimate what it takes to produce the assets needed to build an excellent site. In particular, copy. We all know excellent copy is difficult to write under the best circumstances. Even for long-winded people who don’t mind writing (erm.. yours truly). In addition, excellent copy is also not cheap to produce. Especially in the case of producing copy relating to highly-technical subject matter.
So, in terms of preparing for a Site Redesign, keep in mind that someone, somewhere will likely be required to produce content. Especially if the goal is to build an excellent site that ranks well and converts visitors.
In most cases, you should plan on someone, somewhere spending a decent amount of time assembling, creating, and acquiring these site assets.
The Long and Short of It
While a site redesign can be super-simple or super-involved (depending on a bunch of different variables), it is a great time to take stock of your business’s goals, your messaging, and even your business model (ie. how you “package” your services and products).
That is, a “Redesign” can amount to substantially more than a new look and feel wrapped around the same old content.
In any event, being prepared is better than being surprised. Working with a decent shop that understands how businesses operate, what works (or doesn’t) online, and can help you get where your going is crucial.
Simply “building a website” is easy. It’s all the other crap that goes into a producing an excellent, high-converting website that takes a good deal of expertise.