What to Do Before You Redesign Your Website

Redesigning a website can be a large endeavour.

Between design, content, copy, development, APIs, plugins, Search Engine Optimization, keyword research, platforms, integrations, responsive design, accessibility checks, browser testing, content entry, approvals, and a million other things to keep track of, there are enough specialized “web things” to worry about in their own right.

But a website is ultimately just a set of pages containing the right information on your business combined with the right opportunities for your customers to buy, learn more, or otherwise convert.

A website’s success depends far more on your business strategy and what your audience needs than the pixels and code itself. As thorny and time intensive as programming and design can be, building a website is relatively straightforward compared to spelling out and committing to the business decisions that drive them.

A few years ago, we wrote A Website is Not Just a Website (https://stackcreative.co/a-website-is-not-just-a-website/), and the over-arching lessons we highlighted were to take the long view, recognize that it’s more than just design and development, and give it time to evolve and iterate.

While these all remain true, today we’re translating that into concrete steps you can and should take before engaging an agency or in-house team to rebuild your site.

The 3 Key Areas: Business, Customers, and Process

The Business: Taking a birds-eyes view on your sales and operations from an organization-wide perspective, with questions and answers around sales, goals, expansion plans, and other key areas.

  • Question: Has what you make and sell changed, or how you sell it or deliver it changed, since you last updated your website?

The Customers: Making sure that your target markets and audience personas and profiles are accurate to who you actually sell to (or who you’re trying to sell more to), and not based on wishful thinking — or worse yet, having no sense at all.

  • Question: Are your audience personas still true, fair, accurate?

The Process: Making sure that what you promise, who you promise it to, and what you deliver are as tight as can be.

  • Question: What is our sales process from the top to the bottom of the funnel?

But Wait. All I Need is a New Website!?

Diving into the hot new web framework or trying to rush a project only ever ends up costing more, in the short, medium, and long run. There are many parts of marketing — e.g. social media or paid digital advertising — where flexibility is the name of the game, but your website doesn’t work with the same approach.

Look at it like you’re investing in your physical store: the interior design won’t necessarily last 30 years, but if you’re redoing it 3 years from opening, either you’ve wildly changed your business — or something has gone wrong.

Asking these core questions as you start engaging a third party will only make your life and their lives easier, and in turn, lead to more smoothly-run projects that get you to where you’re trying to go more effectively — for launch, and beyond.

Further Reading

Resetting your Brand and Marketing Foundations for 2021: https://stackcreative.co/resetting-your-brand-and-marketing-foundations-for-2021/

A Website is Not Just a Website:https://stackcreative.co/a-website-is-not-just-a-website/

Building a Better Foundation: https://stackcreative.co/building-a-better-foundation/

Stuart Thursby is the Founder and Creative Director of the digital creative agency Stack Creative.

Founder & Creative Director, Stack Creative in Toronto. Find us online at www.stackcreative.co.