4 Website Redesign Tips We Learned from Becoming Our Own Client

Building a new website is daunting – some might say painful. It takes experience, planning and resource management like any project. But in the digital age, it serves as the front door to your company, which makes it incredibly important – and incredibly personal – to everyone involved.

In 2016, Standing Partnership put itself through the same website strategy process we use on our clients. We love the site you’re looking at now. (And we hope you do too.) But we learned a lot by being the client and want to share 4 key website redesign tips with you.

Here are a few of our most important website redesign tips:

Website Redesign Tip #1: Find the right partner

A good partner takes the time to understand your organization’s strengths and weaknesses to create a customized solution for your needs. Beware of a partner that rushes straight to design and development without getting to know your company. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for a website strategy that delivers results. It needs to be as unique as your goals and target audience.

How do we know?

We identified our partner, SnapShot Interactive, right away. They’ve worked with us for a few years, so they know our business well. And our account manager, Chance Strickland, even visited the office from Snapshot’s Nashville headquarters for one of our very first strategy discussions. He knew our business goals for the website from the very start. This was essential for an effective partnership.

What to watch out for:

Remember that no matter how well your partner gets to know your organization, you are still the leading expert on your company. That’s why an important website redesign tip is to take ownership of the project. Research what big-picture elements you want in your site so that you are properly prepared. This will help your partner create the best solution for your organization.

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Website Redesign Tip #2: Create a timeline, but be flexible

A detailed and realistic timeline can help your project stay on track and focused – especially for a website. With internal and external partners with varying opinions and ideas, your timeline will be the only thing keeping you on track. But don’t get so wrapped up in the details and deadlines that you miss opportunities for important improvements.

How do we know?

Our timeline was tight. And, with a dedication to putting our clients first, we knew it would be hard to find the time to fit it in. Our hard launch stayed right on track. But, our soft launch needed a push back. We were hesitant at first, but in the end, it was the right decision.

We made some changes to the page layouts to meet the length and structure of our copy. If we would have pushed through to meet the soft deadline for no reason other than meeting the deadline, we would have been disappointed with the end product.

What to watch out for:

Maybe you’ve accounted for yours and your partners’ time if everything goes smoothly. But this is a rare situation. Anticipate where the hiccups might be. Does someone tend to turn your project on its head during reviews? Is anyone going on vacation while they need to be reviewing copy and design?

Anticipate these hiccups as much as you can. But, not all issues can be anticipated. We recommend building in some extra time “just in case.” That’s why our soft launch was helpful. When we needed some extra time, and we had it.

Website redesign tip #3: Stick to the strategy

You need a clearly defined audience and goal for your website. That’s why our third website redesign tip is to ask yourself:

• What business goal is my website helping me reach?

• Which audience can make that happen?

We help our clients identify this goal at the very beginning of the website process, and we make them stick to it. Many great ideas come up throughout the website process, but if they don’t speak to your target audience or reach your primary goal – they aren’t right for your website.

How do we know?

Although we help clients through this issue day in and day out, we weren’t immune to the temptation to broaden our scope. We found ourselves considering edits to the copy and site structure to speak to varying audiences. But in the end, we remembered our target persona and ultimate website goal, and stuck to it.

What to watch out for:

When you ask for a primary audience and goal, your stakeholders may say that you have four to five primary goals and three primary audiences – and they should all be treated equally.

We understand the tendency to think this way. After all, all your audiences are important! But not all audiences are important for your website. Pick one primary goal and audience, and keep the others secondary.

Remember: if your website is trying to be everything to everyone, it will be nothing to anyone.

Website redesign tip #4: Launch a minimum viable product, and continue to improve

For too long, websites have been caught in the same years-long cycle: expensive design, lengthy development and grand launch for a site that becomes obsolete shortly after it is published.

A minimum viable product allows your website to break this cycle through growth-driven design. Rather than going through a 3- to 5-year website stagnation followed by a time- and resource-consuming redesign, growth-driven design creates a site built for the future of your organization.

How do we know?

We’re perfectionists. We wanted our site to be perfect — right now, no exceptions — and at times we wanted to halt the entire process just to get one little piece of copy perfect.

We didn’t let that happen. Instead, we launched a great, results-driving site on time, while keeping a full list of all the things we may want to update in the future. Instead of making subjective guesses about what “perfect” looks like right now, we’re going to let the results show us. Then, we will begin to perfect.

What to watch out for:

Make sure your site is designed and coded in a way that it’s easy to make the updates you foresee.

The right partner will work with you to try to determine your organization’s long-term path so that the pieces you need two months or two years from now are already possible in your site’s design, ready and waiting to be used exactly when you need them.

Just remember – website overhauls may be daunting, but they’re completely doable. With these website redesign tips, you can keep your website overhaul project on time, on strategy and as painless as possible.

Are you thinking about a website redesign? Check out our eBook, 6 Signs You Need a New Website or our website strategy product to learn more.

Have questions? You can contact Nick Sargent or Ashlyn Brewer to discuss your website project.

Written by Madison Hrdlicka, former Standing Partnership employee

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6 Signs You Need a New Website

To achieve your goals, you need clear website objectives, a sound strategy, and content that resonates with your stakeholders.

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