7 Ways to Simplify Your Website Redesign
Sue Thomas • Marketing Manager, August 2018
I read recently that businesses should redesign their websites every few years. It took a bit longer for Republic Bank of Arizona to accomplish this. But we did it! Our new site launched in June.
For many business owners, a website redesign is a laborious task that feels, at times, endless. But the process is definitely worth it. It’s a chance to reexamine how you want your business to be represented. For us, it was a great opportunity to update our website in step with our new name, new brand, and new location.
While fresh from completing the process, we offer a few tips for businesses considering a website redesign of their own.
1) Get help from the pros
Assuming you don’t have an internal web development team, find the budget to hire a website design company. We contracted with a company that develops websites specifically for financial institutions. With this contract, we get ongoing support with a dedicated account manager, quarterly analytics reports, technical support and more.
An experienced vendor can guide you regarding best practices, changing trends, ADA requirements, security and regulatory compliance, and more. Shop around, get references, and conduct interviews. Your online presence says a lot about your company, so make sure it’s sending the right message.
2) Assemble your team
The size of your company will most likely determine the size of your team. But at the very least, your team should include:
- You, the business owner/CEO. Even if you’re not “creative” you know what you like, you know your brand, and you know how you want your company presented.
- Marketing liaison to work directly with the website vendor and the company decision makers to manage the timeline, collect feedback, provide content and design direction to the vendor, and generally keep the project on track.
- Legal/compliance representative, at least for final review and signoff.
- Internal IT support, if applicable. You don’t want to create a site the IT team can’t support.
- Any additional key executives or decision makers as you see fit.
Keep this core team to a limited number of key members. Too much input and too many opinions can do more harm than good.
3) Establish a solid framework
This is another great benefit of working with the pros. They know the questions to ask the core team to get a solid understanding of the company, objectives for the website, website users, content, and overall design. These “deep dive” investigative sessions are priceless and should provide a great foundation for the website design team to get pretty close to an overall structure, look, and tone for the new site.
Provide the vendor sample websites you like. For our site, we requested the vendor send us links to other sites they developed for financial institutions of a similar size and mission, from which we were able to give them feedback on what we liked and/or didn’t like.
4) Understand the site map
The site map outlines the architectural structure of your website. Make sure you understand it from top to bottom. Ask questions or view sample sites if needed. Once the site map is approved, the developers begin building and coding your pages. Making changes to the site map after it’s approved can be costly and can impact the timeline.
5) Provide clear and detailed feedback
In most cases, the website vendor will provide pdfs of your home page and several interior pages. It’s critical that the core team review these pages carefully, providing clear and detailed feedback to the marketing liaison, who will provide consolidated feedback to the vendor. This is the time to ensure the design and tone are on track.
6) Be patient
The development phase of the project will take several weeks. It’s a lengthy process those of us not in the IT world may not understand. Or perhaps the review process takes some back and forth to get the right look. For us, it was images that seemed to offer the most challenge. Be patient. The vendor wants to get it right, so stay with them. Providing feedback and approvals in a timely manner will help keep the project on track.
7) Get training
Once the website is complete, make sure those assigned to keeping it up to date get the training they need. Once we received the development site to review, we did many of the content changes ourselves to get an understanding of the CMS.
Ask for help understanding the analytics of the site as well. You’ll want to know how your new site is performing, compared to your previous site. Hopefully it’s positive, but if not, you may need to take a second look to determine why.