Most websites are rebuilt every 2 or 3 years with few major changes in between rebuilds. More often than not these rebuilds are not much more than a visual refresh of the website and a tweak of the content to match the business of today.
This type of website development project rarely produces much improvement to the performance of the website. When it next comes time to rebuild your website, do it differently and start by considering a few things you may not have considered in past rebuilds.
Put these 5 items at the top of your list before you start to redevelop your website:
What has prompted your website redesign?
The performance of your existing site against goals
When do you want to commission?
How much of your resources can you put into the project?
The business goals for your new website
Let’s get into the detail...
1. What has prompted your website redesign?
What prompted the website redesign has a big impact on the way you go about redeveloping your website. There’s a huge difference between what you would do if you just felt it was time to upgrade versus your website’s been hacked and is either not functioning or only partially functioning.
Here are a few things which might prompt a website redesign:
The existing website has stopped functioning correctly - could be it won’t load at all, pages loading incorrectly, forms not working or any of a number of other functional issues
Changes in the business which need to be reflected on the website
You have a new promotion coming up and need the website to be part of the marketing for that promotion
You need to add functionality to the website like a shop online service for example
Your new digital marketing strategy needs an updated website to support it
The website isn’t performing to goals
Just want to make it look more up to date
The boss just wants it done
Yes, I threw the last one in because it does happen.
If your website goes down, you’re going to need to get something up as soon as possible and then determine how to proceed from there.
The timing of your new promotion will also have an impact on how you go about rebuilding your website. It doesn’t make sense to put your promotion back for months while you redevelop your website, you would do something to support the promotion while rebuilding your website in the background.
On the flip side, if you’ve started a new digital marketing strategy, do you really need to put so much of your resources into building a new website. This will reduce your ability to put the effort you need to put into your digital marketing strategy in order for it to achieve the goals you have for it. In this case you might initially tweak the site to support your digital marketing and rebuild the website once your marketing strategy gains traction and that work is more routine.
You really do need to consider why you’re redeveloping your website before you get the project underway.
2. The performance of your existing site against goals
This is a common one. “Our website isn’t producing, we’re going to have to redevelop it again”
Note the again in that statement, have a think, did you really get much of an improvement in your website after the last couple of rebuilds?
If your website isn’t performing as you expect, there is no point redeveloping it with a new look and slightly updated content. This is what happens when most websites are redeveloped and, after the little blip on launch which is mostly due to the email campaign which went with the launch, there is little or no improvement in the performance of the website.
Before you rebuild your site you need to visit why it’s not performing to your expectations and make the changes which will fix that when you rebuild it.
3. When do you want to commission?
This can be a biggie because it can change the whole way the project is run. When you need it now because the website is down, or you need it in a week or two for that new promotion you’re running creates a completely different project from needing it as soon as it can be done. Whatever your timing needs you’re going to get your site faster when you rebuild it using the Growth Driven Design methodology.
When you decide you need to rebuild your website make sure you communicate your timing right up front with the developers you contact. Some just won’t be able to consider the job if your timeframe is really tight.
4. How much of your resources can you put into the project?
A website rebuild can tap the resources of your team. It takes you and your team away from what you normally do, to deal with making the website rebuild happen. This can stretch you really thin and can sour your relationship with your web developer when you can’t get them what they need within the agreed timeframe.
This is another one to communicate early to your developer. The time you can put into the project can have a big impact on the commissioning date - and the cost.
This is another area where growth driven design can help. Growth driven design will help you get your new site up and up quickly without draining your resources. Once the launch pad website is up you work to continually improve the site at a pace which doesn’t tap all your resources.
5. The business goals for your new website
The impact your website can have on the growth or even the success of your business has changed markedly over the last few years. Most people now start to research their purchases online and if they can’t find you, or your website doesn’t resonate with them, you don’t get the sale.
You need to set clear business goals for your website and communicate these goals the team building your website. These goals will be considered at the strategy stage of the rebuild so a plan for achieving these goals can be produced.
Once you set clear business goals for your website and create a plan to build the website which will achieve them, make sure your website is built such that you can track your performance against your goals.
The strategy stage of your website redevelopment project will consider many more things than these 5. These 5 will be at the top of the list though, so make sure you consider them before you next rebuild your website.