Renovating your site isn’t just about changing the look and feel, so put down the metaphorical hammer and ask yourself a few (okay, more than a few) questions first.
1. Why is now the time to renovate your website?
These should be emotionally compelling reasons to change the site. When the renovation process takes a while, refer back to your answer(s) to this question to stay committed to change.
2. Who are your key audiences?
Your most important audience will align with your mission. For example, if you’re an architectural design studio, top international talent might be your most important audience. Your web copy will sound a little nuts if it’s trying to talk to everyone at once. Relevance is key.
3. Do you have a strong brand?
How do you feel about your company name? Logo? Tagline? Colors? How do your best customers or employees feel about it? If your staff proudly wears your logo on mugs, company cars, t-shirts, tote bags, your brand has equity. If your brand is lackluster, your new site will suffer. Take a step back and rebrand if needed.
4. What stories would you tell about your people and projects?
The best stories are the ones your competitors don’t have. Make it personal, quirky, engaging. Differentiate. Your stories make your company human. Having stories in mind at the outset can help with copy writing, video creation, and photography.
5. What do you love / hate about your current site?
Even the clunkiest of sites might have a redeeming quality or two. Like that search function? Keep it. Evaluating bright spots and problem areas can illuminate your website ‘wish list.’
6. How stocked is your visual content library?
Do you have professional headshots for your team? Do you like the ones you have? Are your projects well-photographed? Will you need other photos for the site? (e.g. works-in-progress) Mid-renovation isn’t a good time to realize you don’t have any furniture. Build a content library early.
7. Who will write the copy for your site?
Will someone on your team write it? Should someone on your team write it? If your web agency will write copy, who (on your team) can work with them to provide inputs and edits? You don’t have to be a writer, just as long as your agency can be. Copy writing is time-consuming. It’s best not to leave it to the end of the renovation process.
8. What special web functions do you need / want?
Could you use an internal document center, customer portals,
or proposal creation tools for your team? Dream big. If you can imagine it, a techie can develop it. Get a quote; see if the investment is worthwhile. A website is more than a marketing device. With special functions, it can also improve workflow.
9. Do other pieces need to ‘match’ your new website?
This can include email marketing templates, sales team apps for the iPad, trade show videos, etc. Consistency across your online communications improves recall and builds your brand.
10. How will your site be viewed: desktop / tablet / mobile?
Who will access your site on each device? What actions should your visitors take on each device? Market research and web analytics can help refine the interface / user experience for each device. Your visitors will appreciate that you tailored their experience for various devices.
As we’ve worked with our clients on their website renovations, these questions come up again and again. So what’s the next step for you? Bring your team together and discuss these questions internally.