1. Gather your team
A new site build or redesign can be a time intensive process (yes, even when an agency is building the site for you) which many teams take on in addition to their already full time day to day responsibilities. Determining who on your team is available to help, how much time they will have available, and delegating responsibilities is going to be incredibly helpful in spreading out the work and ensuring that everything is covered and no one is overloaded.
Once you determine the makeup of your internal team, you can better assess the help you and support you’ll need outside of that team. If you don’t have anyone with the experience or bandwidth to write content for example, knowing that upfront helps you plan and budget.
2. Determine keys to Success
Having a short list of high level purpose driven goals that will make your new site a success can be an important guide throughout the redesign of a site. These goals can be used as a north star for the duration of the project and when decisions need to be made, the team can look back on these goals to ensure they’re staying on track throughout the project.
The most common keys to success we hear from brands are directly related to the challenges they have with their current website. For instance, a key to success might be for the marketing team to be able to make future updates without the help of a developer because they are currently at the mercy of their IT Team. Another might be to build a site with clear and intentional user journeys to increase engagement and lead generation for your target audiences.
3. Brand guidelines
There are a lot of pieces that go into a new website and being able to convey that information to the team quickly, clearly and accurately is helpful. Take stock of what you have and how up to date it is.
Do you have your brand information documented in a shareable format? Many organizations have a Brand or Digital Style Guide to share with agencies and guide internal teams. These can change or become outdated over time. It’s important to continue to document changes and keep this documentation up to date.
However, some organizations have a pared down version. If you are just starting to put together this information, here’s what’s helpful to collect. Logos, color pallet, fonts, target audience, user personas, mission statement, voice & tone, and image guidelines.
It’s also important to make sure that all project stakeholders are aligned on these guidelines before sharing them. While these guidelines have often been established ahead of time, stakeholders can have nuanced preferences which can affect how the guides are used.
4. Audit your current content and assets
An often unexpected challenge in the design process is creating and collecting the content for your site. The best place to begin is by evaluating the state of content on your current site.
Is there content which can be reused, or refreshed?
Is everything still relevant or are there pieces which need to be removed or consolidated?
Are there gaps in information to be filled?
Are there images, graphics or other visual assets which you would like to continue to use? Do you have new images, or an image library to draw new content from?
Will any of what we call repeatable content need to be ported over to the new site?
Things like blog posts and team bios are a great place to start. If you’re refreshing team bios you can begin collecting updated information now. By auditing your current blog posts, you may find that a lot of content is outdated or no longer relevant or there is new content you’d like to create for the new site. It’s never too early to start working on this.
5. Set Expectations
Preparing your team and stakeholders ahead of time on things like project timelines and what will be required of them during the process is going to prevent feelings of surprise or confusion. If possible, having a clear understanding on decision making as it relates to the new website is very helpful especially when your team may have conflicting points of views. Our project team guides marketing leaders and their teams and stakeholders at key points and to help keep everyone informed along the way, but even befoe you begin a website redesign process, you can do the same. We’ve found that setting expectations from the beginning leads to the most successful outcomes in the end.