It’s a new year, does your website need a new look? So before you’ve gotten a quote from a website development company, here are some considerations that can help the redesign of your website go smoothly, successfully and can lower the sticker shock after you get a quote.
Set your Priorities
First things first when considering change to your website, are you redesigning or redeveloping? Redesigning your website has more to do with creating a new look and feel, graphic refreshment, laying the existing code with a new skin, while redeveloping your site can mean adding backend features (like database design and development, e-commerce integration, etc.), improving the speed of your site, or the paths people navigate your site.
This can be an important distinction because design vs. development has a big price impact. Design requires developmental integration, but is less expensive than pure custom software development. It is likely that if it has been long enough since you changed your site that you are in need of both redesign and development. Separating development from design can help you parse them into separate projects that can be done over time, mitigating the initial costs. So make sure that you rank the different needs in terms of site impact and bottom line impact, which will help you pick the low hanging fruit.
Iterative change to your website can also allow you to test. This means that when you make small changes, you can measure the impact of that individual change (positive or negative). When the next implementation rolls around, then you can give better feedback to your website development company about how the next project needs to happen.
Benefits of Design and Development
The beauty of redesign is that it can immediately give your website a facelift, but doing it progressively is best. People can get a little overwhelmed when they regularly use a website and then it changes entirely. Start with the ‘face’ of your website, the home page, and make changes to other pages that both have traffic and need improvement.
Think about a few easier-to-implement features:
- Updated stock photography or graphics
- New layout or templates for your pages
- Updated color schemes or more current palette
- Compressing images and themes to increase speed
The benefit that custom application development brings is that it usually improves the functionality of your site through more (or more intuitive) features for your users, or adds more functionality internally (database backend, etc.)
Using Competitors’ as Reference
One of the best ways to determine whether your website needs certain updates is to look at your competition. Take time to browse their site, take notes on the experience as a whole, what they do well, what they don’t do well, the kinds of content they have, and what separates their site. If your site looks better than your competitors, then that’s good news. However, if your competitors’ site is better-looking, more functional or attracts more traffic, it’s probably worth taking a look into how you can emulate certain aspects.
Here are key things to look for:
- Overall Appearance and ‘Wow’ Factor (Does it look like it was updated recently?)
- How long it takes to navigate to information
- How long it takes to navigate to critical paths (checkout, inquiry form, etc)
- What is their content style?
The other reason that it is important to keep an eye on your competitors is the “Keeping up with the Joneses” factor. This means that when a potential customer searches for your line of business, and they are presented with two different websites, they will likely pick based on 1. Recognition or 2. Appearance of Website. If your website is less attractive than your competitors, it is likely that they will select your competition.
As a leading website development company with over 16 years of experience, we know website development inside and out. Contact one of our business development consultants to find out how our talented team of custom programmers can help build or redesign your website.