Questions to ask before redesigning your website
Redesigning your website is a big step for many companies as this means getting rid of something that may have been around for many years. Often it is essential for companies to get a new website because the site’s style and information may be outdated or the company may have gone into a new direction that requires a different approach. In order for the designers and developers to give you the type of site that is in your best interest, take time out to answer these simple yet important questions for yourself before having that meeting.
What will my budget be?
This will require a bit of research on your part to see what people usually pay for good quality sites. You also need to be flexible here as there is no use in wanting a top-notch website but you are not willing to pay the type of money required to get this type of website. At the same time, make sure that you are not being taken for a ride by simply educating yourself beforehand.
What is the deadline for the completion of the redesign?
The deadline will determine how much the designers and developers can get done. If you want many complex elements to be completed you cannot expect it to be done in a short amount of time. Give the developers and designers enough freedom to work on your new site within a reasonable time period rather than rushing it and then not being satisfied with the end result. On the flip side, also research how much time it normally takes to see when you can expect it to be done, within reason. Also, look at any important events that you have planned and see whether you want the relaunch of your website to coincide with these events.
On the current site, what does not work?
To come by this answer more easily, ask yourself what would happen if the site stayed the same as it is now. This will help you pinpoint issues such as users not being able to use the site on a mobile device or users getting frustrated with not being able to find information easily.
What sites do you admire and why?
These need to be sites of companies that are in your industry. This will help you to determine what the industry standard is and what parts of these sites you want to incorporate into your redesign such as the organization of the information and the copy. It will also help the designer understand what you like and design something that will appeal to you. Note that these are merely guidelines and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your site will have to look like these examples.
What sets your company apart from competitors?
This is important to know as this will help you set the theme of your website. This will determine what appears on your homepage, what copy you use and how you organize your information. If your main objective is to sell more products, your homepage will reflect this by, for example, showing off your latest and greatest products.
Who is your target audience?
Is it manufacturers? Is it distributors? Is it off-the-street customers? Is it wholesalers? All of these things will determine how you create your site. Certain types of design are more suited to certain types of target audiences. For example, wholesalers may simply want to get to your products with no fuss and have direct access to, perhaps, a product catalogue. Off-the-street clientele may have to be sold on the idea of your company (if you are not well-known) and this requires copy, colour, organization and so forth to encourage a customer to buy.
Do I require images or visuals?
This is important as these will either have to be collected by you from existing archives of images that your company possesses or have to be generated from scratch, which will create the need for a longer deadline and more work to be done by the website developers and designers.
Do you need a copywriter?
This is important as not all companies who do website development necessarily have copywriters on staff. No matter if they do have one or not, one still needs to know beforehand what you want your copy to be. Should it be purely informative? Will it be more formal or informal? What is the corporate brand’s personality? Again, looking at industry standard will help you determine this. If a copywriter is needed from outside, ask the company redesigning your site whether they have recommendations.
Do you need any special items added to your site?
For example, are you planning on selling products online and require a payment process? Then this will then require the company to create an e-commerce strategy for you. Other items that can be added to this list are video, audio and downloads. These special items are important to get out onto the table as early as possible as these may take more time than others.
Do I want to manage the site myself or do I need assistance after the fact?
The answer to this question will determine whether you need a content management system (CMS) or not. If you are planning to adjust content after the redesign, for example, you will need an easy-to-use content management system. A CMS may require some of your staff to get training from those that have created the system. Also, ask yourself if you have the time and resources to manage this yourself or if you prefer an outside person to handle this on your behalf.
What about search engine optimization (SEO)?
Your SEO plan will be determined by whether you already have a good ranking in search engines or not. This can be looked at by you via online services or the company redesigning your site can do this for you. One can even check where your company falls on the list when you type in the keywords you want to be associated with into a search engine. If your ranking is already good then you can simply take steps to maintain your ranking in future and not let it fall when the redesign takes place. If it is not as good as you want it to be, ask what steps need to be taken to improve this. Most companies that specialize in website development will have the knowledge you need to improve or maintain your search engine rankings.