You’re looking at your competitors websites, or maybe looking at your own, thinking, “man our website just doesn’t stack up.” Maybe you’re starting the process after redesigning a few years ago and don’t know what has changed. You’re not alone. Websites in 2019 are less like a newspaper and more like an interactive game the user doesn’t know they’re playing. The process of designing, building and presenting the information on your website has changed and it can feel like you don’t know what to do or even where to start.
Don’t worry. Here are three steps to help you get started on the road to redesign.
Step 1: Decide if you need to redesign
Do you really have to redesign or not? You may have already decided this, but if you haven’t, here are some things to think about:
- – Business: What do I expect to get from my website (goal)?
- Is the expectation realistic right now?
- Am I getting what I expected?
- – Data: What are my analytics telling me?
- Is there a glaring problem within my data/design?
- What changes is my data telling me to make?
- – Emotional/Visual: Do I like the look of my current website?
- Does it look good on mobile?
- Does it look dated?
Did one of these speak to you more than the others? Did all three? The right way to start this process is to ask all of these questions. All three of these aspects need to be considered when starting your website redesign. These questions set the tone for the solution that’s right for you – either a DIY website or finding the right creative agency to partner with.
Step 2: Find the right path to take
You’ve decided it’s time to redesign (or launch your first) website. Do you go to a free website builder and do it yourself? Do you have the time or desire to do it? Or do you find the right creative agency to partner with to build this out? And if the latter is the case, how do you know which agency is right for you?
A lot of these questions are about personal preference and dependent on your situation. What you decide can greatly affect the success of your website, so consider the following paths carefully.
Path 1: The DIY or free website builder
Maybe you’re super techie with a keen design eye and this sounds like the project of your dreams. Maybe you want to learn about websites and how they work and maybe you have the 20, 50 or even 100 hours to spend designing and building your new website. If so, the free or cost effective services are definitely an option for you! Find a website builder that aligns with your needs and you’re ready for Step 3.
Path 2: The cost-effective “custom” solution
Maybe you found a “custom” solution for $500, or even $1,500. Sometimes its a monthly subscription of $60/month that you have to sign a contract for. These are normally one-person stop shops that are a jack-of-all-trades but masters of none or an online business created around churning out the most number of websites possible with the least amount of effort. Many are outside of the US, meaning communication with them can be difficult. These kinds of services can provide beautiful websites, but they aren’t really built just for you (hence the quotes around “custom”). They take a template they’ve sold to multiple people, change the logo, colors and copy, paste your content and their end is done. There isn’t much thought going into solving the problems you have – these websites are built to service a broad stroke of general problems, at a cost effective rate. This is usually the most tempting option, but it provides no real ROI and usually takes more of your time than expected. If this sounds like the miracle to creating your website, go on ahead to Step 3. If not…
Path 3: The investment solution
You know your website can propel your business to almost a 30% increase over the next year, and you’re willing to invest $6,000+ into this revenue-making asset. If so, finding the right creative agency that you gel with and aligns with your goals is vital to your success. All of those questions I asked before? Your agency helps to answer them. They can help you solve almost any problem you’re having and can create the type of website that is truly customized to your (meaning, your existing and/or potential clients’ needs). This may come at a premium but it will save you two of the most priced things in life and business: time and energy. Creative agencies are more expensive than the previous two options, but they do all of the heavy lifting, with your problems in mind, and you – and your business – reap all the rewards.
Step 3: Create and launch your new website
By now, you’ve decided you need a redesign and you know how you’re going to do it. Whichever path you take, keep three things in mind: the know, feel, and do.
- Know: What do you want the user to know when they visit your site?
- Feel: What do you want the user to feel – professionalism? Modern? Knowledgeable?
- Do: What you want to user to do – buy something? Fill out a contact form? Subscribe to a newsletter?
Your website needs to be designed and developed as an interaction between you and your user. As long as you keep those three principles in mind when making design and content choices, you will set yourself up for success. The “do” is the single most important thing for a website: If you can’t decide what you want your users to do, you won’t get what you want from your website.
There is psychology, color theory, photography, writing, design and so much more that goes into a great website, including maintenance, updates and SEO. With all of those things in mind, which solution is the best for you? You may end up taking all three paths as your business grows or you may choose just one. Like everything, each has its pros and cons – just make sure you think long and hard about which solution is the right choice for you.