10 questions you must consider before you start your website redesign
Are you fed up looking at your tired old website? Has your competitor just put up a shiny new site? Are you considering a website redesign?
Before you reach for the number of the nearest web designer, here are 10 questions you should ask yourself before you redesign your website.
1.) Why is my business here; why is it online?
It may sound obvious but there is value in questioning the very nature of your business. Your business may have evolved since you last updated your website so don’t fall into the trap of just giving it a superficial facelift. Think about areas of your business that could be improved, services that could be expanded and efficiencies that could be made, if certain tools were available on your website. A website redesign is a golden opportunity to refresh your whole business approach.
2.) What is different about my business?
Every business should have a USP – a unique selling proposition. What is yours and is it clear & visible on your website? Your aims, objectives and why what your offering is better than your competitors should be prominent. It should be on the home page for all to see and presented in a simple, precise way. Shouting from the rooftops has never been this easy so take advantage of it.
3.) Who are my customers; online & offline?
Knowing your customers and their needs will help tailor the next design of your website to them. Since you last redesigned your website, your customers may have changed their buying habits or become more interested in another service. Are you addressing this adequately? Do you have a good understanding of your website usage statistics? If not, what do your customers like and what do they respond well to. Make sure you can get at those details from any website redesign.
4.) What is working on my current website design?
There must be something about your existing website that works for you. It may be simple like having contact numbers on the front page or it may be something more complex. Don’t rush into making changes to these areas without understanding what makes them work in the first place. You may lose customers if you sweep away the stuff that they like. Analyzing your statistics can help but so can speaking directly to your customers. Use your website redesign as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with existing customers.
5.) How will my website redesign handle sales?
Once a customer has been in touch with your company, how easy is it for them to complete the sale? Analyze your internal processes and find out how efficiently a customer moves through your online business. Are after-sales questions handled efficiently? Do they have to speak to multiple people to get an issue resolved? By asking yourself questions like this you can come up with really creative solutions, for example using call-tracking software to smoothly handle all customer queries.
6.) What budget do I have for a website redesign?
You need to assess the value of any changes and estimate the return on that investment to make the best use of your budget. For example it may be worth ploughing more money into a content management system, than buying stock photography. Work with an internet professional to get the best value for money and don’t get talked into using gimmicks that won’t give you a visible return on your investment.
7.) What is my voice? Will my new website design change it?
Every site has a voice, some sound like crazy used-car salesmen and others like stuffy schoolteachers. Either of these voices may be absolutely right for your site but must be presented consistently and appeal directly to your customers. Your voice should be representative of the attitude of you and your staff so that customers get a consistent experience when they call or e-mail your business. Your website redesign should consider this aspect before any code is written.
8.) What will my websites call to action be?
You have to ask your customers to take the next step, either buy directly from your site or get in touch with your company. This ‘call to action’ should be persuasive and prominent. Tell them on the first page of your new site design, exactly what you want them to do and make it easy for them to do it.
9.) Which technology should I use for the website redesign?
This is a business decision not a technical one. You might want to consider how your website fits into your existing internal systems. Can you get the site to talk to your internal database? Do you want to regularly update parts of it yourself? You don’t have to understand how it works you just need to be able to brief your web development team about what is important to your business.
10. How am I going to get the website redesign done?
Websites can be complex but as the client you don’t need to worry too much about all the technical jargon. Find a web team that understands your needs and talks in terms of business objectives rather than programming languages. Ask around, get references, look at portfolios and put some effort into choosing the right developers. Getting it wrong can be a costly and frustrating experience.
Your Website is Important to Your Business …
Make sure you consider all aspects of your online presence before you redesign your website.
Incorporate all your business needs into the redesign and ensure your staff are able to familiarise themselves with the processes and the look & feel, before you open it up to your potential customers.