5 Questions to Ask Before You Redesign Your Website

Staring down the barrel of a website redesign can be a daunting proposition. Between conceptualizing a vision, getting company principals on-board with that vision, and communicating said vision to whomever is designing your site, there is a lot of planning, organization, and cooperation involved in the process. And as any business owner knows, the more complex a project becomes, the greater the potential for things to just plain go wrong.

But as any savvy business owner also knows, a little bit of extra preparation before undertaking a large project can go a long way toward preventing any ‘hiccups’ along the way.

So how do you prepare for a website redesign? By asking the right questions!

1. What does your website need to do?

Before you even put pen to paper and start jotting down ideas you need to very accurately define exactly what you hope your new site will achieve. Are you looking to convert visitors into customers and move product? Do you want guests to leave their contact information, fill out an application, or subscribe to a newsletter? These questions matter!

Designing a site without a clearly defined objective is like going on a road trip without a GPS (or map, for you dinosaurs in the room). Even if you start out facing the right direction, you’re going to get turned around at some point; often sooner rather than later.

The sheer scope of varying objectives a website can achieve are staggering. Websites can turn strangers into life-time customers and expose entirely new audience segments to your product or service. The better planned out your new site is, the more effective it will be at achieving whatever goal best supports your company’s efforts, be that closing deals or opening doors.

2. What’s the deal with your old site?

Building a new site is no lean undertaking. It’s a long, involved, and often costly process. It would be unwise for a business owner to decide on a web redesign if their current site is already operating effectively.

So if you’re looking to build a new site, you need to ask yourself, why?

Is your site outdated or ineffective or simply in need of a facelift? Do visitors complain about your site’s appearance or functionality? Do mobile users struggle to navigate your site? Are you failing to reach the top of search results despite SEO efforts?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then not only should you consider a website redesign, but you already know where to start!

3. What do you want v. What do you need?

If there is one thing modern web design is not lacking in, it’s bells and whistles. Parallax scrolling, full video backgrounds, custom fonts, interactive slider buttons… there’s a lot a clever web designer can do to make your site really ‘pop’.

But do you need all that? The more clever functionality and smart features you toss onto a website redesign, the higher the expense, and it’s important to strike a balance between spending money as a smart investment and spending money just to spend money.

website redesign

Before you go looking to add any ‘web-jitsu’ to you new site, focus on correcting the issues of the old site. A parallax stroller on an ineffective ‘call-to-action’ page does not make the ‘call-to-action’ any more effective!

4. Am I using a content management system? Should I?

A content management system (CMS) is the flexible backbone of modern web design. A CMS affords you, the owner of the website, the ability to easily update your site without requiring you to learn complicated or cumbersome coding techniques. This will allow you to make changes on the website without having to rely on the developer. And most CMS platforms, like WordPress, are so intuitive to control that if you can handle a word processor, you can handle a CMS.

If your site is not currently running on a CMS, you may want to consider having it added. And if you’re looking to build a new site from the ground up, the smart and forward-thinking thing to do would be to build with a CMS right out the gate.

5. Outsource or DIY?

Redesigning a website in house can seem a very attractive option; until the reality of the project sets in. Website design and redesign are tasks of no small magnitude, and you, as the business owner, need to decide whether dedicating the time, effort, and money into handling your web design needs in house is the best use of resources or if it makes more sense to seek outside help.

 

Contracting an outside web design company to handle your web design needs will not only free you up to focus on what you do best (running your business) it will also provide you with a much more polished and effective finished product. There are plenty of web design hobbyist out there, but only a handful of vetted pros, and the difference in the quality of work these two groups produce is striking.

Sound off!

We want to hear from you. Have you ever experienced the painful joy that is website design? What lessons did you learn? How will you handle future web design projects? What would you have done different? Drop us a line in the comment section!

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About
Keyword-cruncher, customer-collector and web designer extraordinaire. Adam is the Founder of Creative Click Media. If he's not in front of the computer marketing your business, he's playing with his son, Miles. Tweet him at @AdamBinder_
Showing 13 comments
  • Todd Lawrence
    Reply

    Adam,
    The most frustrating thing for us during several redesigns for NJSchoolJobs.com is that we’ve been promised the “latest design” look but then when delivered, it still left us with a site that still looks like 2008. Additionally, every new designer we speak to can’t work with our current site and improve it from there. They always seem to have to “start over from scratch” and recreate an entirely new site instead of being able to work with an existing site and slowly start to make changes. I could go on and on……..

    • Adam Binder
      Reply

      Hi Todd,

      I looked at your site and I see what you mean. One of the many reasons I love using WordPress is that it allows for easy updates allowing you to make small changes yourself. Also, because there are so many people who use it you will never be chained to one designer or developer.

      Another reason many people love and rely on WordPress is that it is relatively easy to change the facade of your site (in comparison with HTML sites) while keeping the content and functionality the same.

      I think you should consider looking into a Content Management System like WordPress to alleviate some of the growing pains you are experiencing.

      Have a Happy New Year!

      Adam

  • Tom Southern
    Reply

    Perhaps a 6th question would be: How will will any re-design affect my readers?

    A blog’s design should not only make a reader’s experience on your blog a pleasure they want to repeat – often. It should make any conversions you want to happen – happen.

    The trouble with a lot of out-of-the-box designs that seem to come with themes is that blogs are starting to all look the same. Yes, some of these designs are attractive but still, the similarity shines through. My blog’s new and I’m experimenting a little with its design.

    Btw, how do we get CommentLuv to include our last post? Mine just leads to my comment section? Is it something to do with having DoFollows/No Follows, etc., unchecked?

  • Adam Binder
    Reply

    Tom,

    That’s a great point actually. Even minor changes in design change the way a website feels to a visitor.

    I think CommentLuv worked like that for me out of the box. I’ve had it setup for a while now so I don’t remember what I did to configure it 🙂

    I will try to look around in a bit and see if I can come up with a solution for you.

    Congrats on starting your blog. I will have to stop by and check it out!

    Adam

  • Deynn
    Reply

    It’s a challenge for most companies and small business owners to have a good website design. Your website conveys what is your company all about. This is one of the factors if you will get a potential customer and if your site offers what the customer is looking for. If your website is too difficult for customers to navigate and sends them in a maze, they will surely leave.

  • Kevin Young
    Reply

    Great Share!

    Only making a website is not sufficient to get potential customers, you really need to focus on other factors as well as making a strong online reputation among people which is actually responsible for making your website and business successful.

  • Vince
    Reply

    I have created several websites and redesigning is a normal process for developers. The world technology is always changing so it is important to keep the website up to date and improve its usability to take advantage of the latest technology that the user expect.

  • Diane F. Cassity
    Reply

    Hi Adam..
    What a great share.. All the tips you have mentioned above are very useful. I was thinking to redesign my website but i was very confused. Your article is a solution to my all problems. I agree with you that content management is very important while redesigning a website. because content is the key to get more users to the website.I will follow your all suggestions. Thanks and keep sharing more information. Have a nice day ahead..
    Regards:
    Diane F. Cassity

  • Carl Evans
    Reply

    Nice post Adam, I like it!

    I think an important question clients should ask their web designer is ‘what do you need from me?’

    You would rarely go for a tattoo without a clear idea and resources of what you’d like and the same should be applied to web design.

    I’ve had many of my freelanceprojects delayed as a result of resources not being provided and there being nowhere for me to find them myself.

  • Mark Johnson
    Reply

    Hey!

    Thank you for sharing this post.

    You made an outstanding point of customizing web design. I’m about to design my first website and needed some information regarding web development.Thank you for your tutorial post I enjoyed while reading your opinion.

    I really appreciate your efforts for writing this article.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Entourage Digita
    Reply

    Great information.
    I’ve created several websites and redesigning is a normal process for developers. The world technology is always changing so it is important to keep the website current and improve its usability to take good thing about the most advanced technology that the end user expect.

  • Thomas Bowman
    Reply

    Great post
    Thank you so much for sharing this post.I agree with your point Even slight variations in design change the way a website feels to a website visitor. In general, every time you have the opportunity to make your website design more attractive and functional, you should do it. If you have found a new functional feature to add, you should not hesitate to do it. Thank you so much again for sharing this article. Keep sharing.

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