We often get asked the question, “I want to redesign my website, where should I start?”.
The discussion that follows normally covers off questions like; Do you need to update the content? Are you happy with your current web hosting company? What changes do you want to make? What do you like about your existing website? What is the goal of the redesign? Is it currently built on a Content Management System (which one)?
Though these are all important questions in helping to understand what the client (potential or otherwise) may need in the new website, they are really questions to help uncover some technical needs that the client may not have considered yet or not even know they should be thinking about.
Typically, this question comes up because the website in question is out-dated, difficult to update or simply does not represent the clients brand or business offering any more.
The first step
The first step in redesigning your website is to clearly understand what is working right now.
Do some investigation into your Google Analytics statistics to determine what the popular pages, blog posts or visited areas of your website are. Once you have determined what these areas of your website are, be sure to add them to a “must keep” list to pass on to your developer or designer.
An approach I like to use here is to have the client complete a project planning document. It outlines the details, both high level and technical, of the project and gets them thinking about what they want and need out of their new shiny website.
Survey your customers
Remembering an important reason to redesign your website is to provide a better user experience for your visitor and customer, be sure to put their needs and requirements in doing business with you first. A survey can play a key roll in obtaining quality, quantifiable feedback and data from your client or visitor to your website.
Be open, honest and transparent.
You could ask questions like:
- How do you prefer to do business with us?
- How have we exceeded your business expectations in the past?
- Is there a service we’re not currently offering online that you think we should?
- What’s your biggest business challenge right now? (this question alone can lead into many other ways to meet your clients needs).
There are many ways to survey your customers, digital or print, it’s really up to you.
An unobtrusive way to do it via your existing website is to use a third party service like GetSiteControl or Hello Bar. Both offer survey options with statistical reporting and geo tracking. SumoMe is another great service and it’s free!
Once you have some feedback (any is better than none) you will have a clearer understanding of the types of technologies you will need to implement and any functionality you will need to consider over and above that which is currently provided on your existing website. You will then be ready to begin planning and organising your project.
Once you have some user feedback and determined what you need to keep in your current website, you’re ready to begin planning and organising.
Plan and organise
So once you have confirmed what is working on your existing website and obtained some feedback form existing users and customers, you’re ready to start thinking about:
- Marketing strategy
- Content planning
- Defining your avatar
- Personas, and
Hope this helps!