Website Redesign – Do Your Homework (Please!)

Entrepreneurs and business owners tend to be “doers” who like to dive into things and then sort everything out as they go. There’s a time and place for that, but not when it comes to website design and redesign!

Like it or not, it’s best to take a breath and do a little planning and research before you meet with your website designer. He or she cannot read your mind—the development process will be less frustrating for you and much faster overall if you bring some basic information to the table.

First, take some time to define what you want to accomplish with the redesign. Does your site need more pizzazz and eye-appeal? Has your message or brand evolved? Do you need to add features and tools that better tell your story and will help sell your products and services?

Next, zero in on that features and tools question. Do you want your site to tie into your Customer Relationship Management workflow? Is it time to sell products directly through the site with a marketplace function. Do you want to use videos to showcase some of your messages? Dream big and make notes! Later, in discussions with your web designer, you may find some of these won’t fit in your budget…but you never know until you ask! Just in case, be sure to prioritize your goals, differentiating between the “must-have” and “nice-to-have” features.

Throughout this process, take special note of the websites you come across during business and after-hours. Look for two things: sites that are visually appealing/inviting and sites that have features that would enhance the experience of visitors on your website.

Now you’re ready to meet with your web designer. Share your goals, rationales, priorities, the model sites you’ve found…basically all your hopes and dreams!

A good designer will then take this discussion even further – asking you to envision your workflow and business strategy and helping you determine which of those elements can be supported with features on your new website. For example, your website can and should mimic your best sales pitches, reinforce your brand, augment your strategy for gathering leads, and be an integral component of your customer service process.

In closing, it’s to your advantage to do your homework, come to your design consultation meeting well prepared, and then clearly communicate your desires and expectations. You’ll be well on your way to having a new premium site that you’ll be proud to promote and that will drive business.