12 Questions Before Redesigning Your Website
When it comes to redesigning your website, the idea can be daunting. From dozens of CMS options to hundreds of potential firms to choose from and potentially thousands of dollars to spend, many people talk themselves out a redesign before the process even gets started.
The idea — and the process — doesn’t have to be scary or risky if your follow a process and set clear goals.
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I’ve compiled some of the most common questions we hear at Duo and how we answer them. By looking at these answers, hopefully you will gain a better understanding of whether you need a new look and structure for your site, and if so, whether we are the right firm for you.
What’s the first thing I should consider before starting my website project?
The first thing most people look for is cost. For years, we’ve heard questions like “How much will this cost me? or “can you build a site within our budget?” Sure, you need to have a budget, but money shouldn’t be the first thing you’re thinking about (In fact, I’m not going to discuss costs until the end of this post.)
Before doing anything else, you need to establish what your goals are for the project. If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish with a redesign, how will you know if the project is successful?
OK, so how do I set those goals?
First off, figure out what your current website isn’t doing for you right now? You undoubtedly will be asked what you like and don’t like about your current site — having an answer already prepared will help the process much forward quickly. Talk to stakeholders within your organization to get a general idea for their goals and desires for a new site. Also, look around for website design inspiration, both within and outside your industry or field.
What are the steps in a redesign?
We begin our data-gathering with a discovery process that allows us to work closely with your team to review desired content and requirements, budget and timeline, and set the criteria for a successful solution. We find it important to get together with your internal stakeholders to learn about their individual needs and examine their own experiences with the site. These conversations tend to provide us with more context, more anecdotes and more to work off of than a standard request for proposal (RFP).
Discovery is about 20% of the cost of the overall project. By the end of it we have detailed, annotated wireframes that represent your site’s overall ideal functionality. Our spiral process allows us to quickly move from discovery to design, where we establish voice and tone, create a visual hierarchy and develop (or implement) brand guidelines. From there, the site gets developed and launched.
For us, the process rarely stops once the site is developed. Far from it. We believe a site is never truly done — there are always improvements to be made — and we view the launch as a starting point to set a baseline of metrics. There will be some level of iteration or improvement over time based on how the site is performing.
Who will I be working with during a redesign?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but at Duo, you’ll work with experienced visual, UX and interaction designers, highly certified developers, sophisticated marketers and seasoned project managers.
How do I pick a design team?
Talk to them! You should review work samples, experience and the styles of different web design teams, but only having a conversation with them will help you truly understand their process. You should be comfortable with your design team so that you can offer feedback and revisions without stressing about their reaction.
When you are reviewing work samples, don’t just look at their pretty designs. Click around sites that they’ve built and see how well they work. During your conversation, see if they have relevant experience in your field or industry or find out how they have solved similar problems to the ones you hope to address.
If a company doesn’t answer your questions, won’t show you examples or has a website littered with phrases like “guaranteed results,” you probably should go in a different direction.
How long does a redesign take?
That depends on what you want. A redesign can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the size of the site. Larger sites time more discovery, content creation, page comparisons and general back and forth to get things approved and finalized.
How much of my site should I change?
That kind of depends as well. Design wise, if your site hasn't been updated in the last couple of years, you could probably use a full redesign. So many sites are outdated from both a style and responsive perspective, so it is great to update them to fit modern trends and modern devices.
From a content perspective, that also depends. If you have been diligent and constantly update your content, you could be good to reuse most of it. However, if your content is as outdated as your actual site, you might need to work on rewriting it. You can perform a content audit and work with a content strategist to figure this out and set new content goals. This should definitely be a top priority when redoing your site!
You mentioned UX earlier. Is User Experience really that important?
Yes. UX makes up the discovery, planning and strategy that is the foundation of your site and the bones of what will be built. Visual design can’t happen without the framework created by UX.
At Duo, our user-centered design process begins with finding out who your users are, what your business goals are and what the users’ goals are. We use this phase to clarify requirements from the perspectives of the business and user. We also help you figure out SMART goals by interviewing users and key stakeholders.
Do I need to worry about SEO?
A website redesign is a great time to reassess your search engine optimization (SEO) or put new SEO considerations in place. We consider SEO an essential part of our website process. During our discovery process, we can conduct an SEO and keyword audit to gain insights and make recommendations to improve your site’s SEO. Additionally, this keyword research helps us create an intuitive and search-optimized architecture and website structure.
Can you bring multiple websites of mine under the same roof, or at least give them a consistent design?
We can try. This is a great example of why discovery can arguably be the most important step of the redesign process. In order to do this, we would need an in-depth discovery to see how the goals, styles, messages and content of each site come together. In some cases, it makes a lot of sense to align brands within one platform (or multiple platforms with a similar look). In other instances, though, it may make more sense to keep them totally separate. The discovery process would help us make that decision.
OK, now for the money questions …
What are the options for billing?
Our pricing is based on the type of project, each of which is listed below.
Custom Application Development starts at $45,000):
- Custom UX design and development
- Application integration
- Flexibility to fit your needs
- Managed hosting support
Intranets and Extranets (starts at $25,000):
- UX Design that drives user-generated content
- Engages users / connect people
- Creates long-term value for your organization
- Hosted applications available
Content Marketing Platform (starts at $35,000):
- Conversion-focused design
- Keyword/SEO guidance
- Lead generation functionality
- Marketing automation integration
- Optional personalization
We also are able to support your existing Drupal site beginning with an audit (which costs $2,000 - $4,000) and retainer agreements that start at about $3,000 per month.
I found a company that said they would do my redesign for $1,000. Why is everyone else so much more expensive?
In our experience at Duo, we’ve found that the place where most website projects go wrong is at the very beginning when an agency sets client expectations. If a web development company says “yes” to your needs without doing its due diligence, chances are the company’s representatives haven’t even looked at your website. All they are doing is giving you a random guess, one that is not influenced by a discovery process or site audit.
Is there any way we can save money on our project?
At Duo, we offer various project engagement models, including onsite, offshore, and hybrid models to maximize value for our clients. At our option we can also involve our offshore team, saving you tens — if not hundreds — of thousands of dollars in development fees.
Thanks for sticking with me on this post. Hopefully it provided you with a glimpse at the website redesign process and helped you decide whether you’re ready for a website upgrade. If you’re considering redesigning your site, or if you have any additional questions, please go ahead and reach out to us. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.