How to Avoid the 6 Common Website Redesign Mistakes Companies Make
Posted: March 5, 2020
So, you’re thinking about redesigning your company website – great! Websites can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for an organization. Crafting an engaging digital presence is an important way to help users understand your brand, and more importantly, learn about how your products or services can meet their needs.
Taking on a full website redesign can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. Learning from the most common website redesign mistakes that others have made can help you avoid expensive and time-consuming pitfalls. In this article, we explain some of the most challenging obstacles we see during web development projects and how to avoid them.
6 Mistakes to Avoid during a Website Redesign
1. You haven’t outlined a clear scope of work.
Whenever you begin a complex project, having an articulate scope of work is extremely important. The scope should outline the process and ownership for each phase of work, all of the anticipated elements that will be completed, the number of review rounds expected, and a line-itemed estimate when possible. Especially when working with a contracted partner, having a scope of work helps keep not only your partner accountable, but your internal stakeholders as well. Think of it as the foundation for the rest of the project, and a way to ensure that surprises will be minimized throughout the process.
2. Building a website for internal audiences instead of clients/customers.
First and foremost, your website should speak the language of your target audiences – those prospective or current clients and consumers with whom you do business. While these audiences may have some interest in the people and culture behind your business, more often than not they are coming to your website to find a solution to a problem. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to create content for what you or your internal team wants to communicate, but the website should be aimed at providing content that your users actually care about. Get inside the heads of your audiences first and understand what they are looking for, then design your website strategy to meet their needs.
3. Designing by committee.
Many organizations have large teams of people with varying opinions. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of designing by committee – where a project can’t move forward until every internal stakeholder agrees. This can lead to time-consuming project delays, or worse, budget overages. We see the most success with organizations who designate two to three key decision-makers. These team members can take other staff opinions into consideration, but they are ultimately the ones responsible for making the final decision at each milestone.
4. Trying to do it all at once.
The most cost- and time-efficient way to launch a website is to consider what is the “minimum viable product;” what is the leanest version of the site that you can launch in Phase 1. Far too often, companies have a huge list of goals to accomplish with the site, and a tight timeline with which to complete it. Breaking down the project by highest priority functionality is one way to keep things on track and save on cost.
For example, maybe you run an online store and you want to develop a new website with a streamlined ecommerce functionality. In the middle of the project, your company decides that it’s going to begin offering a subscription model so that users can purchase product on an on-going basis. Instead of upending the project scope, consider whether the website can launch to get the store up and running first. Then, a second phase scope of work can be developed to strategize how best to implement the subscription piece. This will allow customers to make purchases online in the meantime, rather than delaying launch (and therefore sales) just to pack more functionality into the first phase.
5. Not getting a head start on developing content.
Content development is one of the top-ranking items that frequently delays website redesign projects. Once you understand what pages are going to be included in the website, and you have a rough idea of what information needs to be included on key pages, it’s time to begin writing. Particularly for websites that cater to several audiences or have deep content, it’s important to begin writing the new website’s copy and pulling together images or videos as soon as possible.
Enlisting an agency’s help for content development can be especially advantageous to ensure that messaging strategy is on point, SEO keywords have been considered for each page, and to have extra hands in completing the bulk of the legwork. However, you know your organization best. Whether you’re planning to write everything yourself, or you’re working with an outside partner to develop a first draft, be sure to carve out some time to sit with all of the page copy and confirm that you’re presenting your organization and its services in an honest, easy-to-understand way, using a consistent voice.
6. Ignoring timelines.
Things change very quickly in the digital world. If a website project is drawn out for a couple of years, the final product may no longer be relevant to your business strategy or include the latest technology. When beginning a web development project, make sure that you have a granular milestone timeline for each deliverable, and confirm that key stakeholders are available to provide feedback within the requested timeframe. It is far more advantageous to launch a strategic website and continue to optimize it over time than it is to have a two-year development process for a site that will sit for several years afterwards.
A website redesign is a big undertaking that can have a large impact on a business. Before you kick off your redesign project (or while you’re in the midst of it) check to make sure you don’t find your team making these common mistakes. With proper planning and stakeholder involvement, your business will be on its way to relaunching your website on budget, on time and on strategy.
About VONT Performance Digital Marketing
At VONT we believe that change is the only constant in the digital world – and that excites us. When tools and environments are constantly changing, new opportunities to help our clients achieve success are constantly arising. Each new advertising technology, social platform, or design approach allows us to improve on the results we achieve for our clients.
We believe in this idea of continual fine-tuning so much that we named our company VONT, which means to achieve exponential improvement in incremental steps. It is our core belief, and the reason why we are not simply a web design company or simply a digital advertising agency, but rather a long-term, single source partner providing a comprehensive array of web development and digital marketing capabilities.
In short, we’re here so that our clients achieve success in the ever-changing digital world. If you’d like to learn more about VONT and the work we’ve done with our client partners, visit our Work page. Or, if you have a question, contact us. We’ll get right back to you!