Working with a web development company to redesign an existing website doesn’t have to be a stressful or overwhelming task. The goal of this post is to help businesses with existing websites successfully navigate the redesign process.
Step 1: Defining your Project Goals
Businesses redesign their websites for a variety of reasons. Identifying your project goals and requirements early in the process typically makes for a smoother finished product.
A successful website redesign will require an investment of your time and money. Along the way, you will make a few important decisions that impact the outcome of your project. The end goal of any successful site redesign is a website that’s secure, looks good, and does what you need it to.
The questions below are a helpful outline to get the redesign process started. Feel free to add your own questions and requirements to this list. It’s important to take time to research and plan during this stage of the project.
Project Goal and Requirement Questions
- What are your goals for redesigning your website?
- Do you want to update an outdated simple starter website?
- Is your business updating or changing its branding?
- Is your current website broken or outdated?
- Does your website require any special integrations or functionality?
- Payment processing
- Ecommerce functionality
- Online calculators
- Customer portals
- Vendor portals
- CRM software integration such as Zoho or Salesforce
- External server integration
- External RSS feed integration
- Have you researched your industry?
- Who do you consider to be your competitors?
- Who do you believe to be an authority in your industry?
- Are there websites in your industry that have design and functionality features that you like?
- Are there websites outside your industry that have design and functionality features that you like?
- Do you have a budget for this project?
- A website redesign is a business investment. Depending on your requirements, this type of project can range in price. Research is important during this step and can help determine the market price of your project.
- Do you have any special graphic design requirements?
- Larger companies may have in-house graphic design teams that create web assets, written copy, marketing materials, logos, and design mockups.
- Franchise companies may have brand/style guide requirements.
- Some businesses prefer to work with independent graphic designers to achieve a desired look and feel.
Taking the time to answer these questions will make for an easier research and outreach phase of your project.
Step 2: Gathering Important Credentials
Now that you have taken the time to define your project goals and expectations, it’s time to start gathering important login credentials. This information will come in handy when you hire a web developer.
Gathering these items during the early stages of the redesign process will minimize unnecessary delays during the development portion of your website project.
The following list is a good starting point for a login credentials roundup. Feel free to add other sites or requirements to this list.
Helpful Login Credentials Checklist
- Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp.
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Industry specific sites (Houzz, Avvo, Find Law)
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact
- Domain registrar, Email Provider, DNS, Hosting
- Any other important things such as Google Ads, outside portals, etc.
Once you have gathered all of this information, it is a good idea to test that the login credentials work. After all, the goal here is to eliminate unnecessary delays during the redesign process. An old password that does not work is as helpful as no password. Once you’ve gone through all the trouble of gathering this information, a good password manager such as LastPass is an excellent place to securely store your web passwords.
Step 3: Do Your Homework Before You Hire
Once you have established the goals and conducted a password roundup, you are ready to begin reaching out to web design companies. Many companies offer a free initial consultation, and the answers from step 1 can help you get an accurate project estimate.
It’s a good idea to research and find a few different companies to get an estimate from. Be sure to look at prospective companies online reviews and past portfolio of work during this process. In some rare cases, working with an industry specific company is a good idea. For the most part though, a good web design company works with a variety of industries and can handle 99% of website redesign projects.
Try to whittle down your list and identify 2-3 different companies you’re interested in working with. The questions below are designed to help guide you through this stage of the project
Step 4: Interview Questions for Your Web Development Consultation
- How long will the entire website redesign process take from start to finish?
- Will your new website utilize a mobile-first design approach?
- What will happen to your existing website during this process?
- What will happen to your existing website content (pages, blogs, pictures, videos)?
- Will you be able to add new content to your website yourself/in-house?
- Can you provide your own graphic design work, and will they collaborate with the designer/team?
- What are your current SEO rankings and how will a redesign impact them?
- If you are currently doing SEO or plan on doing SEO in the future, it’s a good idea to know what your current traffic level looks like. Another key piece of information is what keywords your website ranks for. Traffic estimates can be provided by Google Analytics if it’s currently installed on your website. SEO rankings and traffic estimates can be provided by any reputable web design company during the consultation process.
- Will your project be completed in-house or is the work outsourced?
- What technology will your website be created in?
- Who is responsible for paying for premium plugins and other paid project requirements?
- Will your project require any special hosting considerations?
- Who retains ownership of your website and associated assets upon completion of your project?
Beware of companies that develop websites using DIY solutions such as Wix or Squarespace. There is nothing wrong with a DIY product if you are doing the work yourself. If you are paying a professional web designer, get the job done right.
Standard website redesign proposals can vary in price and features from one company to the next. It is important to focus on the deliverables of your project and ask questions during your initial consultation.
Step 5: Finalizing the Process
Hopefully, at this stage of the redesign process, you are ready to select a web development company and proceed with your project. At this point in time, you have identified internal goals, settled on a realistic budget, and researched competent web development companies.
If you are still having issues making a final decision, don’t be afraid to ask for client references from prospective companies. If you plan on doing ongoing digital marketing, it doesn’t hurt to ask for references from existing digital marketing companies as well.