Do you wear lots of hats and juggle multiple business objectives and priorities on a daily basis? We understand you’re not just trying to overhaul a dated website, put out another fire in sales, or approve that office expansion—you’re trying to do it all. An effective website redesign is a full-time job (or several), and if the utmost attention can’t be devoted to the project, things could get messy.
That’s why we suggest finding a reliable web agency partner. If you hire a small agency with a proven method of making the redesign process smooth as butter, here’s what to expect.
This is the groundwork for your redesign. Similar to drawing-up blueprints for a house, this stage of the website redesign process is dedicated to understanding your goals, design preferences, analytics, persona insights, brand requirements, and industry experience. These initial steps begin to set the tone for the collaborative process between you, and your website redesign team. This initial “planning” phase will take the most collaboration time, so be prepared to meet with your agency regularly.
Design and Content Creation:
If your agency has a well structured design process, don’t expect a big, “Don Draper” style reveal. A vital part of design and content creation is layering—an agency with a thorough process will have most of the layout and style created before the visual design begins (similar to building a custom home, your website is constructed around the plans that you have already signed off on—the design layer being akin to paint, and finishing in a house).
This phase includes diving into the aesthetics of your site, and streamlining its usability. The goal here is to make sure that the most important information is easy to find, and the site design itself operates in a simple, responsive manner on mobile, tablet or desktop views.
Development and CMS (Content Management System) Integration
This is the heavy lifting phase. Because of the technical nature of this part of your website redesign process, we encourage you to dig out your Hawaiian shirt, head to the beach and sip a few margaritas. In the meantime, your agency's development team will be under the hood, tackling the nitty-gritty of your website’s functionality. During this period, you may not see your site for a while—but don’t worry, you should still be receiving updates to alleviate any worries while you’re away.
During this process, there should be no major changes in the agreed upon plan of action. If any re-tooling, or strategic enhancements need to be made, they will take place during the second release—especially if there’s a tight deadline looming.
Quality Assurance (QA) Testing and Deployment
As the client you’re primary concern during this phase will be proofing content and approving everything for launch. Behind the scenes your agency should be performing a series of quality assurance checks, such as: browser testing, user testing, form and workflow automation testing, and device testing. Final proofreading will be completed on the development or staging environment while fun stuff like 301 redirects are prepared for prime time.
Your web agency team will need to meet with your IT folks to make sure all parties are aware of any systems or configurations that could be affected by the site launch, and that they are available to assist if any issues arise (email, Intranet setups, server environments and domain configurations, etc.).
Once all systems are go-for-launch, your site is pushed to a live production environment. When everything is live, your site is run through final quality assurance checks, which ensure that nothing has been missed or misconfigured and that all redirects and analytics are working as planned. This is probably the most exciting part of the process for both parties, and if you hired the right agency it’s a good time to raise a glass and toast the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship.
Ongoing support and strategic recommendations
Launching a website and not expecting some form of ongoing service level agreement with your web agency is very much like buying a new car and not putting gas in it. It looks fantastic, but it won’t take your business where you want to go. From training your staff to update sections of the site, to regular modifications and enhancements, to website promotion, SEO or content marketing, you’ll need ongoing support to realize a positive marketing ROI.