In a previous post I talked about the negative aspects of redesigning your website. Today I would like to share with you what I consider the 4 strategic steps in successfully redesigning your website.
1. Define strategic goals
2. Do your homework
3. Install a Content Management System when you redesign.
4. Create an ongoing content building strategy.
Define strategic goals.
Do not undertake a website redesign only to keep up with the Jones’. Clearly define the purpose of the redesign, and put it in writing.
When I take a ride to Granma’s house in Michigan I pull out my big ole honking road map and plan my route. Have you ever tried to travel through Atlanta during rush hour without knowing what exits to take for the bypass? It’s suicide. So too, is it suicide to redesign your website without a road map.
Remember, the reason why you have a website is to attract more visitors to your website. Every decision you make should be focused on improving those goals. Even though I am a Graphic Designer, it is important that you understand the importance of balance when it comes to your visual presentation and your content. I believe it is important to have a website that looks pleasing and professional. Your first impression is critical. Ever land on a website and immediately jump out of it?
When considering a redesign or a new design, I advice my clients to use pictures and color to paint a picture, where all elements fit together. The bottom line is people care about the content more than the design. The overall design will keep them on the page, but the content will keep them coming back.
Do your homework.
The Bible tells us to “count the cost.” When I start a project around our house, I spend a lot of time on the internet researching every aspect of the project, how much will it cost, what are the best materials to use, and what is the most efficient way to accomplish my task.
So, do your homework as well before jumping into a website redesign. Find out as much as possible about your current website. What is working, and what is not working. What is your audience looking for? What are their needs? What is your competition is doing?
Install a Content Management System when you redesign.
While planning for a redesign I strongly suggest you implement a Content Management System. A good CMS will separate your content from its design, affording you the ability to change your content when the need arises.
A CMS will allow you the opportunity to focus only on redesigning the templates used by the application to produce on the fly the content of the pages of your website.
Create an ongoing content building strategy.
On the Internet, “content is King” and fresh content is gold. Fresh content will keep google and your visitors coming back. So, develop a strategy to constantly refresh old content and add new content on a routine basis. I recommend developing a blog. It can go viral in a hurry. You can even import your blog content into your facebook fan page.