I often get emails from people who know they want a website redesign (or to start a brand new one), sort-of have an idea in their mind, but really don’t know where to start. Well, here’s a list of 10 questions you should ask yourself while you’re in the early planning stages.
The outcome? Clarity, y’all! You’ll be able to approach the early stages of your website redesign with a good understanding of what you actually want.
#1 What’s the aim of your website? Who are you serving? What should your website do?
Are you selling something? Who’s your customer? Are you a blogger? Who’s reading your blog? Do you want to promote something? Use your website as a portfolio? Get clear on this.
#2 What’s not working about your website at the moment?
What makes you audibly groan whenever you hit your home page?
#3 In an ideal world, with no monetary constraints, what super awesome features would your website have?
Do you love how pinterest works? Would you fall down at the knees of any developer who said they could “totally build you one of those kick-ass content sliders that your favourite website has!”? Go on, go crazy. I’m not saying all these things could be done within your time and budget constraints, but don’t put a line through anything without asking first!
#4 How much money can you invest in this project?
Websites are costly. Either in monetary terms if you’re bringing in the big girls, or in time if you’re DIYing. What can you currently invest in this project? What’s your current maximum budget?
Many designers are happy to let you pay in installments, but it’s always a good idea to start saving up for a new design well in advance. If you can’t afford the quote for the work you want, ask the designer what they could do within your budget without completely throwing out your brief, and if it’s possible to ‘bolt on’ other aspects further down the line.
#5 How flexible are you?
When do you want the work to start and end? Can you work in phases? Or do you definitely need it by a certain date?
#6 Should you DIY or bring in some professional help?
I’ve made websites since I was 13, I learnt on the job because I had to. I know DIY is perfectly fine for some folk, hell, my first websites were geocities monstrosities. They still did their job. Maybe you’re at a stage where a simple wordpress theme would be totally satisfactory (check out Themeforest), or maybe you’re ready to supercharge your online presence with a professional’s help. Either way, figure it out.
#7 Future proofing
Do you have grand plans for the future of your website? Maybe you want to start selling products in a year or so? Or create an iPhone app based on the content? Get all those things you have in the back of your head written down NOW, because there could be some things that your developer could put in place during this phase to make everything go smoothly down the line.
#8 Which websites do you love? Which do you hate?
Figuring out what you love and hate about websites is a huge consideration when you’re thinking of re-doing your own. It’ll help you and your designer/developer get to grips with what you want.
#9 Is it really just a website that you need, or are you looking for a full brand redesign?
If I had a quid for every one that comes to me looking for a web design when actually they’re looking for a full on brand redesign, I’d have at least an extra tenner in the bank. Uh. Seriously, though, do you need a new logo? A new logo isn’t a new ‘web banner’, it’s a logo. Do you have colours for your brand? Fonts? Anything visual? Do you need business cards? Letterheads? The whole kit and caboodle?
#10 Are you ready?
“I want a new website, and I want it today!” shouldn’t be a Eureka moment. It needs consideration, planning and organisation. Don’t rush the process, think it through, and do it right the first time.
There are so many other considerations you can take in to account during the early planning stages of your website, and I’ll shortly be working on a comprehensive worksheet for you to get crystal clear on what you want from your website. Interested? Get signed up for my newsletter to be the first to hear about it!