As the New Year dawns, many businesses turn their attention to their website presence and consider whether it is time for a refresh or a rebuild. For this article, as a Cambridge website design agency, we have tried to place ourselves on the other side of the fence. We hope this advice comes in handy, whoever manages your website.
Rebuild or Update?
If you already have a website, then the question of whether to rebuild or update it becomes a key consideration. The route you take will often depend on the state of the current website. If your website is built in WordPress or some other commonly used platform such as Shopify, many web design agencies (including Realnet) can have a look at the existing setup and advise you on this. To enable this, you will need to provide administrator-level access to your website CMS (content management system).
Depending on the state of your existing website and what you want to achieve, a good web design agency can run through the pros and cons of a rebuild versus updates to an existing website.
What are the Goals of Your Website?
This may seem obvious, but having a clear idea about this is crucial to the ultimate success of your website. This also informs the type of website and surrounding services that are required. For instance, if your website aims to sell a product online, this requires a completely different strategy from a simple brochure website to support other sales activity. The latter may just need to make a nod at SEO for brand keywords. In contrast, an e-commerce website will need to encourage as many potential customers as possible through a mix of SEO and other digital marketing strategies.
What Does Your Audience Want?
This is about what problem you are going to solve for them. In the case of Realnet, in simple terms, we could be selling you a website. However, what we are actually selling could be an online shop that:
- maximises sales,
- while taking up as little of your precious time as possible,
- in a manner that is safe and secure,
- providing good customer service
- and limits time-consuming questions.
While a bit self-promoting, hopefully, the above example demonstrates that understanding what your customer wants goes beyond a product spec or a service description.
Your website needs to answer their questions and provide corresponding messages while dovetailing in with your USPs, ethos, and ultimately, goals. This impacts everything, from the website design, to its structure and the content that you present.
From our perspective as a website design agency, this is always where the customer knows best! There are three things that you can do to improve the effectiveness of any website project:
- Provide information about your typical customers (this could be anything that may help with the messaging on the website such as age range or educational level).
- Create a list of customer questions (try and think like your customers and include those that seem obvious to you and might otherwise be dismissed).
- Create a simple list of customer priorities. Is price the defining factor or quality? Are lead times a major factor?
Who is Your Competition?
Your website does not exist in a vacuum and understanding what your competition is up to is extremely important.
Again, a simple list is helpful here! For each of the competitors, a note about their position in the sector (be nice!) and what you admire or dislike about each one can be very useful.
While not all ideas are good ideas, cherry-picking the best bits of someone else’s website and then doing it better shouldn’t be beneath anyone!
What is Your Budget in Time and Resources?
On the matter of budget, there are times when it is sensible to make this known. This tends to be most true when looking at a large or complex website with various functional requirements. If you are getting quotes from a few different web design agencies, allowing them to demonstrate what they can do within that budget makes sense. A good agency has no problem being honest about what they cannot do within that budget as well as what they can and will work with you to address the priority items if necessary.
If your requirements are relatively standard, most web design agencies will be able to give you a sensible cost and disclosing a budget is not necessary. That said, asking for a ‘ballpark’ figure based on other projects completed in the near past is a good idea.
Bear in mind that you may need to get involved in some aspects of the project (or delegate this) so as part of the proposal process, it is sensible to clarify what will be expected from you. This can involve providing certain text, image or video content or product lists etc.
Finally, these represent just five potential considerations and there are always more! While not covered above, something that often gets left behind is how you monitor and gauge the success of your website after it has been built! Always look to have Google Analytics set up on your website and either review yourself or engage with a digital marketing company, to monitor, analyse and make the appropriate updates.
We Can Help
If it’s time for a review of your website, whether for redesign, refresh or redevelopment, get in touch with us today to find out more about our website design and digital marketing capabilities. Contact us today on 01223 550800 or email@example.com.