There seems to be a flush of businesses updating websites driven by the ever increasing reality of digital dominance in marketing matters and fear that competitors are stealing a march.
Before pressing the panic button and engaging that “oh so charming” design company to makeover your online face, pause for a moment, breathe and think about what is really required.
Here is a short, not comprehensive but hopefully useful list of considerations if you are currently looking at refreshing or completely overhauling your website.
- What are the key drivers that will deliver a return for your business over the next 12 months?
- What are the key areas of future growth? (not necessarily the same as above)
- Why have you determined your site is no longer fit for purpose? Is it:-
- Feedback from customers/ staff/ business owner
- Drop in profit/ revenue
- Drop in traffic to the current site
- Content out of date
- Branding changed
- Search engine rank lower than you want
- You don’t currently have control of content
- It’s not looking its best on mobile devices
- Competitor envy
- Pitch from an agency persuaded you it was time
Let’s face it the reasons could be any or all of the above and a few more besides. Whatever the compelling rationale for such an investment it is worth applying cool focussed dispassionate logic. All too often we get over excited at the prospect of a new website and in the process lose sight of any key advantage such an investment should bring.
- Treat this as any other business project requiring capital investment. Look at the expected returns over time and undertake a cost benefit analysis, focus on hard facts and measures to determine its success
- Based on the above prepare an agency brief outlining the business objectives, key features, functions, focus and timescales for a new site – build in a budget as agreed and payment schedule to avoid future disputes
- Talk to several web/digital design agencies but be clear as to their strengths (you may need separate support with SEO, Photography, Video, Copywriting etc.)
- Be prepared to take time to get the right partner but hold them to realistic deadlines
- Avoid design by committee – you run the risk of ending up with an eclectic, cluttered nonsensical layout
- Ensure that any migration doesn’t lose historical currency or create confusion with search engines
- Allow time for testing and refining before launch
- Don’t let the new site leak out by being searchable before you’ve officially launched
- Constantly review the performance through analytics and visitor feedback, amend and improve as necessary
As stated this is not a comprehensive outline of considerations but an indication of the thought process you might consider adopting when talk of a new website turns to serious budgetary consideration.
For further advice and assistance with projects such as this please drop me a line.