The beginning of the year is one of the best times to think about giving your website a makeover. I should know — I just went through one and it feels grrrrrreat to kickoff 2020 with a fresh look.
You don’t need to add bells and whistles unless there is an absolute need for them. But maybe you want new content to reflect the changes your business has gone through. Maybe you want a more modern look and feel. Maybe you want to add a feature or two that will bring more value to your clients’ lives or money to your bank account.
Like all projects, you can make the process easy on yourself…or painfully, woefully difficult. Since I know you want to enjoy a simple, painless digital face-lift, read on. I’m sharing with you the tips that have helped me get through many website revamps without the added stress.
Start with the Requirements (and Your Budget)
You can help everyone stay on-time and on-budget by providing your web developer a complete list of requirements prior to project launch. Brainstorm all of the revisions you’d like to make to your existing website. Identify what’s really bothering you. If you need help making your list, research other websites. Then, prioritize them. Assign a 1 for the highest priority (your must-have, non-negotiables); assign a 2 for medium priority items; and a 3 for “nice to have” features. Your web developer will need all of your mandatory requirements up front in order to give you an accurate estimate. Any requirements that you overlook and add in later could result in a delay — and more money. So take plenty of time to plan ahead.
Contact Your Web Developer
If you have a web developer that you love, reach out to her or him to share your requirements document and get on their schedule. However, if you need a recommendation, ask your friends, business network or community on social media for a reference. That’s how I found The Cabin Design Studio. You can also refer to resources listed on your local Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Who’s doing what? For example, are you writing all of your own website copy? Are you selecting and providing the images? At least some of the creative work may fall into your lap. Discuss with your web developer what you’ll be providing and obtain a firm deadline of when those deliverables are due.
In addition to potentially providing some of the website’s assets, you’ll be responsible for approving new logos, banners and other deliverables at various stages. When your developer sends you something to review and approve, do so promptly and get back to them the same day.
If you’re responsible for curating all of the copy, content and portfolio samples to go on your site (hand raised!), it helps to set small, incremental milestones. I only had to write copy for six pages or so, and it still gave me a slight panic attack. The way to make the work more manageable and less overwhelming is to break it down, and schedule small bits every day. Don’t be the procrastinator who crams everything in the night before it’s due. The quality of your outputs will suffer and you’ll end up with a website you’re not entirely thrilled about.
There’s nothing like launching your gorgeous new website…only to find out your contact form isn’t working, the content is incorrect or the blog page is missing. Go through your test site, page by page and read everything. Click on all of the links and make sure they go to the right spot.
Launch! Time to get excited! Truth be told, I’m always nervous when I task anything related to my business to someone else. But, if you follow these six steps, you’ll stay on track, on budget and (somewhat) sane.
Some final advice: celebrate your success! Tell your loyal fans, clients and customers about your new website and any new valuable features it offers. Then, take a deep breath and be thankful you won’t have to undergo a website makeover again for (hopefully) another four to five years. 🙂