Bad websites: we’ve all encountered them—often text-heavy, with outdated visuals and lacking pertinent information. Your company’s website is the hub of your marketing content. Make it work for you!
Based on our experience redesigning dozens of tech company websites, we’ve learned that if you nail five core areas, you’ll end up with a great site that serves your company and your sales efforts.
Discovery is the most crucial part of the process. The main goal of this step is to establish the business requirements of your site, the functional requirements and your stakeholders needs.
There may be several ‘discovery’ sessions depending on the needs of your site – the things that should be covered in these meetings include branding, design, content, SEO, social media, business goals, learning about your current site analytics, and how you’re going to measure the success of your relaunch.
It’s important not to skip ahead to the ‘pretty’ things (design) without having clear goals, and making sure you and your agency are on the same page.
2. Content strategy
Content strategy is the foundation your website is built upon — what content you have, what you need and what part it plays in your digital marketing strategy. The analysis and planning from your discovery sessions should produce a clear content strategy for your website redesign, outlining which content can be migrated from your old website and what new elements need to be created.
Once you’ve identified all the pieces, it’s time to map out the best places to put that content so that those who need it can find it quickly and efficiently. Enter the sitemap.
A sitemap is a sort of blueprint that lays out how all of your website’s content will be structured and organized, creating a logical information architecture. From this plan you can build out a wireframe for each page or page template. We like to create these in UXpin, a tool that gives our clients the ability to experience an ultra-lightweight version of their website as a user.
Once you’ve nailed the wireframes and structure of your site, you can start to talk about fun things like branding, color, typography, beautiful imagery, and styling. The agency should provide thoughtful suggestions on website design elements to guide the user through the content flow, increase engagement, and eventually convert them into a paying customer. The optimal user experience should guide the decisions in this phase.
Before translating the brand and the customer’s needs into design, we find style tiles to be a great way to visually capture the direction that your site will take. A style tile is a lot like a mood board, and is a deliverable that references website elements through font, color, and style collections presented alongside a sitemap and wireframes.
t might take some iterations to narrow it down, but once the style is chosen your designers should be able to efficiently develop mockups for each page template that are on brand and on strategy. Once this step is complete, you should have a good idea how all the elements of your site will come to life.
The next step in your website redesign is to translate design into code – both on the front end (the pretty stuff users will see) and an easy to use back-end CMS (where you will manage and update the site content). If you’re adding any tech integrations, such as eCommerce, CRM, or other marketing automation tools, these can now be built in.
Be careful when selecting a development team, because many agencies outsource developer talent from other countries. This can cause issues and even delays because of the time difference. At BSTRO, we’re proud to have our entire dev team in-house in our Vancouver headquarters.
It may sound obvious, but make sure your partner agency is using responsive web development for mobile, tablet and desktop viewing. SEO coding best practices like building locations to edit meta tags, and descriptions should always be followed.
Once the site is developed, populate it with all of the new and repurposed content. Then conduct a thorough quality assurance assessment of every page while it’s still in the staging environment, and squash any bugs that arise. If everything is working as expected, it’s time to launch!
Even though your website redesign has launched, the work isn’t done! Websites are living organisms, and can be extremely powerful when nurtured, maintained, and fed with fresh content on a regular basis.
Stay on top of routine maintenance, like updating plugins and conducting speed tests and fixing 404 errors. Monitor site performance on a monthly basis by looking at key factors in Google Analytics, and using the data to make tweaks and adjustments. You should always be referring to your KPIs to make sure your website redesign is accomplishing the goals you set out for it.
Finally, create optimized new content to bolster your search ranking – and don’t forget to give your shiny new website a boost by sharing your content regularly on social media!
A website redesign is a huge undertaking! We know that not every marketing department has the resources to make it happen. If you need help with a redesign, contact us today.