How to plan a website redesign

We’re in love with our redesigned website. It’s clean, easy to navigate and easy to manage. We’re using SquareSpace for this site, because we like it but also to get acquainted with it for our clients.

That said, the redesign took time. And work. And thought. It was creative on our part, technical on our web guru’s part. It was fun to see our ideas become reality. And we learned a few things along the way too, especially about planning. Redesigning a website, it turns out, is a lot like painting a room. Most of the work is before you actually put that final color on the walls.

Planning, sketching, making lists and spreadsheets, etc., before you go to your designer not only saves headaches, but saves money. Web designers are talented people and are paid accordingly.

Here’s what helped us with the priming:

1.     What did we want to accomplish?

We’ve already introduced ourselves to the world, so with this redesign we wanted to show people what we’ve done, how well we do our jobs, how much fun we have and how happy our clients are.

2.     Who is our target audience?

We want to attract new clients, sure. Who doesn’t? But we didn’t want to make our website into a sales pitch either. So we settled on our strong point: Storytelling. We wanted to tell our story and our clients’ stories and we wanted it to be captivating storytelling that would let potential clients know we could do the same for them.

We also wanted to get people thinking about additional services they might not be aware of, from press relations to branding. These aren’t areas business owners necessarily think of during the course of a day, but they ARE things we think about and we know they can help.

3.     Create a map

We drew an actual tree-like picture of the pages and links we envisioned for our website. We started with the home page and branched out to the interior pages, with lines drawn between the pages that related to each other. We even sketched a mockup of what we hoped our home page would look like and it ended up being pretty darn close. We knew we wanted glorious images, links to various pages and contact info that was easy to get to. We wanted it simple, yet beautiful.

We also looked at our old website and listed the things we liked and didn’t like. And we looked through hundreds of other websites to see what we liked and didn’t like.

Next time: The pictures and words