Your website is very often the first things people see of your business.
Consider your company site as a ‘digital shop window’ - It isn’t just part of your brand; it is your brand. As such, it’s important to keep it fresh, up-to-date, and easily accessible for your customers.
It’s generally recommended that a company website is redesigned after every 2-3 years to keep up with consistently changing website trends and technical requirements, but a website rebuild can often feel like a heavy lift.
This week, we asked experts from our network of digital and development agencies to share their guidance on planning a website rebuild project effectively from the get-go.
If you find yourself needing agency support for a website rebuild, GO! can help with that. In the meantime, we reached out to our Network and asked for their advice on planning your website rebuild for successful execution.
What are the benefits of a website rebuild?
Speed and Performance
“Speed - A key factor within search engine rankings. Improve technical aspects from a Search Engine perspective in terms of site-structure - ensuring all of the web pages are indexed and ‘findable’ on relevant keyword terms in organic search.
Conversion rates - Improved usability can lead to improved conversion rates on the website.” – Dan Beardshall, Business Development Manager, I-COM
“The reasons for redesigning a website vary depending on your company's specific marketing goals, but you should always view it as your number one salesperson.
Your business objectives will determine the scope of your website redesign and covert prospects into leads like any other salesperson. The most common reasons for rebranding your site are increasing traffic, generating more leads, and adding functionality to improve the user experience.” – Paul Blandford, Creative Director, Fox Agency
Representing your brand effectively
“A website redesign can have a number of benefits, from improving a brand’s overall proposition and digital identity to performance improvements which benefit channel marketing efforts, customer journey and conversion.
However, there’s never a one-size-fits-all approach and any project should be backed by a robust discovery process and seated in a broader strategy which is aligned with a business’ high-level goals.” – Jonathan Branney, Strategy Director, Banc
Seamless experience for your customers
"As your business evolves, so should your website. Redesigning your website means staying relevant with the latest design trends and functionality to provide the seamless experience your customers expect.
"An improvement of the back-end of your website will also empower your team to work in a modern, more intuitive and flexible environment that allows them to make changes and update your website without technical help. Something most old, outdated websites cannot provide." - Chara Kalemaki, Marketing Coordinator, Calls9
What are the main things to consider before starting a website rebuild?
What are you looking to achieve?
“At I-COM we always ask why, what do you want to achieve from a rebuild, what are the current issues and how far are you prepared to go?” – Dan Beardshall, I-COM
Is your brand positioning up to scratch?
“As we all know, first impressions matter and websites are often a way businesses introduce themselves.
For users to form an opinion about your website, it takes about 0.05 seconds to determine whether they will stay or leave. Knowing this, there are a few key considerations to think about to maximise the success of websites is, are you communicating the right messages, are you connecting with customers, and what impression are you trying to make?” – Paul Blandford, Fox Agency
Does the data back up your planning?
“Any website design should be motivated by and aligned with an organisation’s fundamental business goals; designing based on data (and not opinion!) is crucial to ensuring that a site build performs to its fullest potential.
There is so much to consider — and a lot of work to be done before a designer even fires up PhotoShop or Figma. Having a sound process for discovery and user research is crucial to understanding a business’ outlook, challenges and what the solution needs to be.
At Banc, we carry out a Digital Discovery programme for our clients at the start of any web project to gain a deep understanding of their business goals, first-party data and their customers. From stakeholder interviews, to user behaviour analysis, call listening and journey prototyping — we pull together a wide range of insights using a number of tactics to provide clear view for what the digital strategy should be.
Having this kind of documentation in place at the outset of a project then provides a central source of truth and makes decisions about user journey, website design and site functionality much easier to make.” – Jonathan Branney, Banc
What are your goals and the main objective of your website?
"Before a redesign, it's essential to start by assessing your website's current state and what challenges you face. Look at what your customers expect and what your competitors are doing (or not doing).
"You also need to define your goals and what is the main objective of the website. A thorough website audit can be just the tool to help you kick-start your project. Then, all you need to do is find the right digital partners to help you bring your idea to life." - Chara Kalemaki, Calls9
How do you ensure the project remains on track and within budget?
Avoid the three most common mistakes: Over-planning, Inflexible budgets, and Unmanaged Expectations
“Understanding the three most common mistakes will help the project's success. Firstly, ambitious plans often lead to over-planning - this doesn't leave much room for adaptability or flexibility, which can often lead projects to fail. Secondly, when managing a project, establishing a realistic budget is critical since it is critical to sustain the project's progress from start to completion while allowing for any unforeseen expenses. Thirdly, managing expectations and aligning goals are vital to the success of the final project.” – Paul Blandford, Fox Agency
Make Allowances for Delivery Timelines
“Project planning and governance are really important — it’s always sensible to set out a project timeline and agree a delivery date which is realistic but also allows for some wiggle room. In a project with so many moving parts and unknowns, unforeseen issues can pop up so it’s beneficial to weigh risks and threats and make an allowance for that.”
Set Expectations and Communication Planning
“We do this by capturing the client specification, agreeing this with the client before the project is started. Once the project is in place, we ensure great project management and communication is at the forefront of our service.” – Dan Beardshall, I-COM
“Agreeing a scope of work with your client, and agreeing sign-off points and dependencies also ensures that everyone is on the same page in terms of delivery and expectations.” – Jonathan Branney, Banc
A Collaborative Approach
"At Calls9, we developed a process to ensure that projects remain on track and within budget. Calls9 Fusion is our collaborative way of working that drives successful project outcomes.
"It includes a detailed scope of work that helps estimate costs accurately, breaks communication barriers and acts as a single point of truth for the project." - Chara Kalemaki, Calls9
Who are the best people within a business to liaise on a website rebuild?
“My best advice would be to encourage feedback from your website visitors, as it is their opinions that will determine the success of your website. Before starting your redesign, communicate with your users and understand what worked and didn't on your current website. From there, you will be able to improve the success of your design.” – Paul Blandford, Fox Agency
Key Non-Marketing Stakeholders
“A misconception here is that it's only marketeers that should be involved in a website project. The website has an impact on the entire business, not just one department within it. Therefore, if its sales, marketing, directors, operations etc, they should all have their voices heard when a website brief is proposed.” – Dan Beardshall, I-COM
“Key colleagues need to be involved from the very start — and setting out a clear stakeholder engagement plan can help a web project secure appropriate buy-in and ensure smooth running.
At the very least, the organisation’s senior Marketing and IT/Technology staff should be part of the conversation, but expanding your communications remit to include other high influence stakeholders and setting out your stall early on never hurts!” – Jonathan Branney, Banc
The Marketing And Development Team
"The marketing and business development team often drives a website redesign as they understand both what the customer wants and what the business needs." - Chara Kalemaki, Calls9
If you’d like to know more about any of the agencies featured in this article, or how GO! can help find a marketing agency to support with a website rebuild, get in touch today.