by Alexa Williams
Is your company website dated, tired-looking or not bringing in leads or sales? If your company website is desperately in need of a re-fresh, it is time to start thinking about a redesign or redevelopment.
In today’s online economy a website needs to deliver a visually appealing look and feel that corresponds and represents your brand, services/products and reflects your businesses personality. Gone are the days when just having a web presence is enough.
Today, a website is often the first experience a new consumer will have with your service or product. A well designed, easy to navigate website can increase your bottom line by converting visitors into customers.
The Web is increasingly becoming the way consumers find information about products and services. You are literally competing for customers based on your website. Is your website well-designed? Does it have clear messaging? Does your website offer opportunities for visitors to connect easily via a newsletter subscription, social media sites or through a contact form?
Up until a year or so ago when the economy took a turn, many companies paid little attention to their web presence or marketing their business because times were ‘good’. Now that times are a bit tougher for many of us, you may feel like spending money on web updates is not in your budget.
If you are in either or both of these categories the reality is your competition will have an upper hand and gain more business from your sector with an appealing and easy to navigate site that drives new and existing customers to specific pages on their website selling their services and products.
Here are 5 Key Elements to Keep in Mind with a Web Update Project or Redesign:
1. Determining a budget. The cost of web design & redevelopment can be small or large, depending on your vision and needs. Establishing a budget before you start, allows designers to offer you options based on your ideas and wants in the most cost effective scenario. A budget of $500 will give you a very different update than a $2500 budget. Be honest with yourself and your potential designer with an realistic budget. If your vision is larger than your budget, a good designer will offer you a phased approach to updates and let you know which items on your to do list will offer the biggest impact and should be tackled first.
2. Finding the right web developer or designer. If you are on Linked ask your connections for referrals. Finding a designer with a good reputation is a must. Differentiate between a freelancer and a firm. Nothing against freelancers as there are a lot of good ones out there, but many freelancers hold day jobs and aren’t always available during working hours. Whether you go with a small or large firm or a freelancer, review their portfolio to determine if their work and style align with your vision. When you narrow down your top choices ask for a phone or Skype meeting to get a sense if they understand your needs and if you feel like it’s a good connection.
3. Getting a Quote & Referrals. In a perfect world you will create a RFP (request for proposal) or a wireframe of all changes and updates you would like to have integrated to your website. You will also provide the potential designers with a handful of sites you like for their look, feel, color schemes, graphics, or any other details. Give any potential designers/developers the same information so that your quotes are apples to apples. When asking for a quote, ask for references from previous projects and check them so you can get a sense if they can stick to a timeline and budget.
4. Timeline. Once you have chosen your designer/developer ask for their timeline for the updates in writing. During phase one of the updates, request they provide an updated wireframe so it is transparent what the updates will entail. Make sure there is a sign off process for each element to make sure you receive what you envision.
5. Design & Aesthetics Sign Off. By its very nature, design is subjective, which can make it challenging to create something that reflects your brand in the way you imagine it to. With this in mind, a good designer will create a mock up of the homepage and other pages for approval. Be honest and share what you like and don’t. This is your chance to communicate with the designer to make sure your vision is brought to life. During the different phases of the redesign there should be opportunities to make changes and tweaks. Most designers will allow a certain number of rounds of changes—make sure you know how many rounds of changes are included in your project, so you don’t go over budget.
That is the long and short of it. Now, taken honest look at your website and decide if you are due for an update!