There are plenty of reasons why you could be looking to update your website, and even more to consider before you jump in. Whether it’s an SME wanting a brochure site or a multinational with software integration and bespoke site functionality requirements, we’d encourage everyone to go through this process to get the best value out of their new site.
1. Your current site performance
To improve on your current website, be honest about how it’s performing. We’ve talked recently about how a poor website can damage your brand, but what’s been the tipping point that’s made you investigate a new one? What’s it doing right? How could it represent you better?
If you pay for software like HubSpot, or use free tools like Google Analytics, get in there and have a look. They can help you drill down into how users navigate the site and see what content’s important to them. It also helps you to have a benchmark to compare to, so when your new site is up and running, you can quickly see how it’s performing.
2. Your goals
You want an improvement on your current website, yes, but what are your goals for the next one? It will clearly need to represent your brand, generating leads, increasing awareness and sales. Do you want it to contribute to your customer service? Perform better on search engines? Support your sales team? Save you time? Do you want it to attract new employees? Does it need to integrate seamlessly with software you already use? Would it be awesome if your whole team could add content? Speaking of the team, now’s the time to gather those opinions (everyone will have one!) to avoid scope creep or change partway through the project.
Looking for inspiration? Have a look at websites you like, and if you have an agency in mind, check their portfolio to see if they’ve done anything that gets you excited.
We appreciate there’s many factors to think about, and now’s the time to get it all down, as it’s great to have this ready before the briefing stage. Many agencies will ask you about your goals as a starting point, and having that wishlist to hand will help to shape the advice you receive at that point.
3. Your assets
What do you already have that you can use on your new site? Audit your current brand and the copy, images, video and tools you already have, to see what, if any, can be kept, and what you’ll need to commission as part of your website project. Knowing in advance that you’ll need the aid of a copywriter or photographer helps to shape the project and make timescales realistic.
If you have thousands of pages of content, are you keeping them? An agency with a good grounding of SEO can help with this one. You need to be sure of the value that each piece of content serves, and have a solid redirect strategy in place if you decide to scrap them.
Visual content is a huge part of your website. Stock photos often lack impact, but photography needs updating fairly often to keep your brand image fresh. Team members come and go, you move offices, offer a new product… all of a sudden, your website’s not quite representing you as you are now, so it’s definitely an early consideration.
Arville's Count Converter is a tool used by both their sales team and customers
Sometimes tools can be taken across as they are to a new site, and sometimes they need rebuilding. One of our clients, Arville, has a handy Count Converter on their website, which is a resource previously used internally by their sales team, but now features on their website as a customer resource as well. We built another client, WYGS, a boiler quote tool which calculates the cost of a new boiler depending on their various options.
4. Your brief
All of these considerations will feed into your website brief, along with more details, from design to functionality. Give yourself plenty of time to write the brief, as this document shapes your new site. Don’t forget that building a website with an agency is a collaborative effort, and they will have experience and advice that will get the very best out of your budget to meet the goals you have.
We’ve got a handy ebook and template for writing your website brief, providing lots of straightforward advice on briefing best practice.
5. Your marketing
Your new website is just one tool in your digital marketing armoury, and it’s best to plan ahead how it will fit into your strategy. Does the website launch need to coincide with an event? Do you need a newsletter subscription form? Will you need email workflows ready to go? A social media plan for launch? Do you need landing pages for ads, or an Ads campaign creating to promote the new site? Consider what part your website plays in the marketing mix now, and how this could change.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or just want a chat about your upcoming project, do get in touch. We’ll help guide you through the process.