Ahh the good ol’ website redesign. You’ve seen the lists of reasons why, ultimate guides on how to, and snarky blogs welcoming you to the 21st century (…okay that might have been us too, but we’ll tone it back for this one). Yet, we’ve thumbed through the lists, checked out the blog posts, and investigated the resources out there for redesigning your website and, honestly, we weren’t very impressed.
Now hear us out, it’s not because we have some magical website redesign process or we think our website redesign checklist holds the secrets to the internet. We weren’t impressed by the website redesign results we found because we felt like all of the “here’s why” and technical jargon doesn’t get down to the heart of matter.
Here’s the heart of the matter: You know you need a website redesign, that’s why you are searching in the first place. And at the end of the day, a website redesign is (usually) not as complicated as it’s made out to be.
Sure, there’s a right way to do it and wrong way to do it. We aren’t necessarily suggesting you redesign your website yourself – but hey, maybe that’s your goal and maybe you know a thing or two about code. Nevertheless, a website redesign faux pas can be committed by a number of parties involved in the process – the DIY-er (that could mean you), the basement freelancer, or even the agency you hire to do the redesign (not us though, and we’ll tell you why, but first…)
2 Big Risks You Take When You Don’t Follow a Website Redesign Process
In our 10 years of business, we’ve helped more businesses than we can count redesign their websites. We’ve even journey with some businesses for 2 or 3 renditions of their website over the years as the digital world has advanced and mobile has taken the stage.
As we’ve met business owners, marketing directors, and sales teams, their concerns about redesigning their website highlight some fears rooted in bad past experience or horror stories from others.
And they’re not wrong, there are some risks to redesigning your website without an established process. Website redesigns turn into nightmares when “we’ve done this hundreds of times before” and “keeping it agile” replace defined tasks, with set milestones throughout the project, and someone managing the process. When that happens, these are just two of the big risks you take:
Risk #1: Going Over Budget or Over Time
When we talk to clients who have been burned in the past, one of the most frequent woes is website projects that drug out months longer than originally established and for hundred or thousands of dollars more than they bargained for.
Going over budget or over time is possibly the biggest risk you take when you don’t follow a website redesign process. Sure you set a goal launch date, but without a defined process guiding you, your website redesign will be inefficient and possibly full of missed steps that have to be made up. As the saying goes, time is money. Not only does an inefficient website redesign cost you more money to finish, it also costs you potential sales that you could be making off of your new and improved website.
Risk #2: Losing Your Credibility
Like a fine bourbon, websites mature with age… or at least they should if you’ve been doing digital marketing right. Overtime the content on your site should build SEO, letting search engines know what topics you have established authority on. This authority and your SEO rankings should carry over to your redesigned website. Unfortunately, one misstep and it could all be compromised with hit of the “launch” button on your new site.
Steps like completing 301 redirects and updating your metadata is crucial in the website redesign process – not difficult, but costly if forgotten.
Thankfully, those risks can be avoided when a tried and true process is followed throughout the entire website redesign project. Which gets us back to the heart of the matter, website redesigns don’t have to overly complicated.
We mentioned above that here at The Squad we don’t commit website redesign faux pas. Truthfully, we’ve made mistakes, but we also quickly learned from them. We can confidently say that those mistakes were directly related to not following a process. Something as simple as forgetting to reactivate a plugin led to days of spam comments on a blog. Detrimental? No. But it was annoying and it cost time, even if a small amount, to troubleshoot and fix.
Nowadays we consider ourselves a maturing agency. Out of our adolescent years we developed a website redesign process that has been tested and refined, and then ingrained in our operations.
Recently, we brought Billy Ward onto our team as Chief Operating Officer and Project Manager. These were roles we had filled in the past, but as the business has grown and the number of websites we are designing and developing in a month has skyrocketed, we knew we need someone with Billy’s experience and strengths to lead our team, ensuring that we stick to our process every time, on every website we do.
All of this to say, we’ve learned that risks are mitigated when you follow a process.
Step 1 to a success website redesign process is have a plan. Step 2 is to stick to the plan, every time. Maybe in the future we’ll write about the rest of the steps to redesigning your website – for us that includes a comprehensive discovery process before we even send a proposal. But for now, you can download our website redesign checklist. This checklist outlines the key steps you need to complete when redesigning your website.
Remember, if you know you need to refresh you website, then do it. Skip the fear and reduce risk by following an established process. And if things start to go sideways, you know who to talk to – ahem, us.