We frequently partner with clients who have been tasked with redesigning their company’s website. Tempting as it may be to dive right in and start designing web pages, we ask our clients to pause and answer these five questions before launching into any redesign, whether it’s an overhaul of their entire online experience or a smaller section of their site. Answering these questions before committing to redesigning a website helps set expectations with internal stakeholders, both inside and outside of your department, and allows you to move forward with confidence, knowing the time and effort you put into the redesign will be a worthwhile investment.
There are a number of reasons companies pursue a redesign of their site. Oftentimes someone within the organization spurs the initiative in response to a competitor updating their website, in an effort to be considered for an industry award, or simply because they feel like it’s been a while since the last refresh. While these are all common reasons, they aren’t necessarily the right ones. The primary motivation for reevaluating your online experience should be rooted in your users’ needs and there should be a clear problem you are actively working to solve by redesigning the site.
When you really get to the heart of why you want to redesign your site, you may find you don’t actually need a redesign at all. What you really need might be a targeted marketing campaign that drives more traffic to the content that already exists. If your motivation to redesign your site is to boost traffic or give more visibility to your existing content, you may need to pivot and pursue other marketing tactics that are more suitable for achieving your goal.
If your company has rebranded or business priorities have shifted and the website no longer accurately reflects your brand, a full-scale redesign is often warranted. Some other reasons to consider redesigning your site include a desire to improve the user experience, a change in your marketing strategy, or the development of new site objectives such as increasing lead generation.
We’re not asking who is currently using your site, though that is valuable data. The question is who are you creating content for and why. Leverage your company’s persona documentation to hone in on which audiences your site is intended to serve. Take note of personas you identified and compare them to the audience data available in your site analytics to identify gaps. Oftentimes when a redesign is necessary, there is a noticeable gap between who is currently using the site and who you’d like to be using the site.
Sometimes a company has all the right content, it just needs to be reorganized in a way that is intuitive for users to navigate. Sometimes a company has major gaps and is missing critical content necessary for moving users through their customer journey. And sometimes, it’s a bit of both. Performing a content audit of your site will give you a comprehensive inventory of your current landscape. From there, you can identify gaps and, with the help of analytics, narrow in on opportunities to restructure the content you already have in a more intuitive way. In addition to performing a content audit, mapping user paths for each segment of your audience will help identify opportunities to create new content that supports your users.
While marketers are usually thinking about how their content will look on the front-end of the site, back-end functionality is sometimes overlooked. It’s important to evaluate your current marketing technology stack, especially your CMS, to fully understand its capabilities and limitations. There is nothing more frustrating than promising a more dynamic site experience through personalization, only to find out your CMS doesn’t support that functionality as you’re getting ready to launch. On the flip side, you may have been under the impression that a new CMS was necessary for a redesign, only to realize your current platform offers all the functionality you need. It’s important to understand what is possible within the boundaries of your current marketing technology before creating a content strategy.
Tactical implementation isn’t nearly as fun as designing a shiny new homepage, but it is mission critical to the success of your redesign. It’s important to take an honest inventory of your resources, budget, and bandwidth before diving headfirst into a redesign. You may find that you need to either partner with an agency or postpone the project in order to successfully execute and meet the expectations of internal stakeholders. Trust us when we say this step alleviates a lot of the friction marketing teams tend to experience throughout the project.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know with confidence whether or not a website redesign makes sense for your business. Now what? If you’re not certain where to go from here, reach out! We have lots of experience bridging the gap between identifying the need and developing a content strategy that can serve as a blueprint for implementing the vision. As we often say, our specialty is bringing clarity to chaos.
Got more questions about your digital strategy? We'd love to talk to you!