1. Determine who will lead the redesign effort. Look beyond your in-house Internet/Web technicians and/or consultants to advise you about your next redesign. For a redesign you may want to consider some more independent ideas from others in the field to get different and fresh ideas, not burdened with the ties to the past.
2. Consult Stakeholders. Your redesign should start by asking questions of others, especially customers, about how they would change the website if they could. By gathering ideas of others up front, you will have better insight in to what changes will benefit current as well as future stakeholders.
3. Set measurable and realistic goal. Because a single website can not be all things to all people, it is important to first determine what the primary purpose of the website is. Knowing this will help in setting appropriate goals for your redesigns.
Determine what you want the redesign of your website to accomplish. For example, do you want to improve the site’s stickiness (how long viewers stay on the site before clicking off)? Improve the site’s searchability (ranking with major search engines)? Add functionality (map and directions, printable coupons, contact forms, etc.)?
Once you have goals in mind, write them down. Undocumented, ill-defined goals provide no focus or direction for the redesign effort. You need enough detail for the effort to get started, allowing your web developers to bring their creativity and expertise to the task.
4. Get the talent from either in-house or an outside vendor. Graphics, web development, quality assurance, end-user interface, search optimization, and other factors should be considered. You need to ensure that the web development team has the skills necessary to accomplish your redesign goals.
5. Understand the latest technologies and how they can help. Technology is constantly changing. The current rage seems to be social networking, flash, audio, and video. None of these technologies were in the forefront two years ago and you can bet there will be other technologies on the back-burner that will be the buzz a year or two from now. Remember that there is accost to employing the latest technologies; costs involving money, time and performance. While your website may not need to employ expensive, top-of-the-line technologies, be sure it doesn’t appear to customers that your website is stagnant or outdated while your competitors’ sites are zooming past.
Know when not to redesign. If your stakeholders say your website is fine the way it is, you have had few if any complaints, and it is cost-effective and functional as is, then a redesign probably isn’t needed at this time. You should however, periodically check with key clients to determine the effectiveness of your website.
Usual Costs. As noted in a recent Info-Tech Research Group (an IT research and consulting company) report, an effective website redesign can cost upwards of $5,000 or more. Costs however vary widely depending on the type of redesign and technologies used. The report also noted to be wary of redesign bids that sound completely unreasonable for your requirements.
For many companies, their websites are their store windows and it is important that their websites convey the brand image desired. If it doesn’t, consider a well defined and expertly developed redesign, and reap the rewards.
Based on an 6/14/10 Phila. Inquirer article