Starting a new web design can be scary. If your company is already keeping busy, adding the responsibility of a website redesign to your plate may not seem feasible. And, without a dedicated staff member to manage the project, you may struggle to provide your design team with the materials they need.
And, while an experienced team will help you once your project begins, there’s still a lot of work to be done prior to hiring a design agency. There are a lot of questions that need answers. How many pages do you need? Do you need to build an ecommerce store? Is website accessibility a requirement in your industry?
Before you commit to a new web design, it’s important to get all of your ducks in a row. You should be deliberate about your goals. Spending a couple hours thinking about what you hope to accomplish can save you a lot of time down the road.
Step 1: Get all of your written content together
When planning your new website, the first thing you should do is collect all of your text content. Gather everything you have about your services, products, history, benefits, and values. If a topic is important to your customers, you should have written content that describes it. Referred to as ‘content-first design,’ building your site around your content is a proven way to create the best structure for your site.
More than anything, people use the Internet to find interesting and useful content. Designing around your content allows your web design team to more intelligently structure your new website. Providing them with all of your content up front allows them to develop a more intelligent, more effective sitemap. And, a site built around well-organized, high-quality content will always yield better results, as it is designed to efficiently address the needs of its visitors.
Step 2: Figure out what your new web design needs
Once you’ve organized all of your written content, it should become clear what pages your website will need. As a general rule, if you have more than two hundred words on a topic, you’ll probably want to create a page for it. Additionally, you should create pages – or a broad FAQ page – that answers any questions your customers regularly ask.
Pages that you should consider having on your new website
- You should reserve your most important content for your homepage. Even if you’re reiterating things said on other pages, your company’s key products, unique advantages, and benefits, should be front and center.
- You’ll need at least one product page for each of your company’s products. Even if you’re not operating an ecommerce store, having individual product pages gives you more opportunities to implement search engine marketing techniques.
- Similarly, you’ll want to have a service page for every service that you provide. If you offer a couple of similar services, it can sometimes be more beneficial to combine them into a single page to reach a higher word count.
- Your customers will likely expect you to have an about page. In general, people like to do business with people they know. Having a page that covers your company’s history helps to create a connection between you and your site’s visitors.
- Every website needs at least one contact page. Ideally, you should give your site’s visitors multiple ways to reach you by embedding forms on other pages, including your phone number in the footer, and providing a link to your location on relevant pages.
Step 3: Gather all of your images and videos
After you’ve gotten all of your text content collected, it’s time to gather everything else. While a good web designer can always provide you with high-quality stock photography, original photos are a great way to form deep connections with your audience.
If you’re intimidated by taking your own photos, don’t worry! Your design team will let you know what can and cannot be used on your website. And, thankfully, most modern cell phones and digital cameras can take photos of high enough quality that they will look great on the web.
Things to consider when taking your photos
- Ask yourself where the image will be featured and size appropriately. If it’s in the hero banner on the homepage, you’ll want an image of 1500px or more. If it’s a featured image on a product page, you can likely get away with much smaller.
- Make sure to save your photos in the correct file format. The most common formats are JPG, PNG, and GIF. For most purposes, JPG is the correct choice, as it renders great in all browsers and tends to have a smaller file size.
- Put thought into how your images are named. How you name your images can impact your site’s ability to rank on search engines. And, while that’s a concern for your web developer, you can make their job easier by choosing descriptive names.
Step 4: Hire a team to build your new web design
At this stage, you’re ready to act. You’ve got all of your materials ready. Now, you just need to find a capable website designer to build your new site.
When looking for your team, consider all of the things you’ve gathered. Talk to several agencies, show them what you have, and ask them how they would approach your project. A good team will have ideas immediately but, more importantly, they won’t have all the answers.
It takes time and consideration to plan a new web design. The most successful teams will look at what you have and ask what you’re hoping to accomplish. From there, they’ll step back and consider all the potential roadblocks. In time, they’ll arrive at informed conclusions and answers to the questions that you’ve posed.
Step 5: Plan one, three, and five years in the future
After your site is built, you’ll want to start planning for the future. Your website is an online property that requires regular care and attention. Work with your digital marketing team to figure out how you’ll get your website found, what pages you plan to add, when blogs will be posted, and more.
You should make web-related plans at various intervals
- After one year, you should have a digital marketing strategy in place. You should be working on adding fresh, original content to the site. If you’re hoping to drive traffic, you may also be running Google Ads campaigns or announcing promotions on social media.
- After three years, you should start planning to redesign your website. Three years is a long time on the Internet. In that time, new technologies are introduced that render old websites obsolete. It’s best to redesign your site every three years to take advantage of these new technologies.
- After five years, you should look at expanding your site’s functionality. With a new site redesign under your belt, you should consider broadening your website’s scope. You can integrate marketing automation tools to better push leads into your sales pipeline. Or, maybe you just need basic email marketing software to manage your newsletters.
Need help planning your new web design?
At Creative Marketing Group, we provide top-quality websites to businesses in Kalamazoo, Portage, Battle Creek, and beyond. With a range of affordable web design packages available, we focus on making beautiful websites an achievable goal for even the smallest businesses.
If you’ve been searching for an experienced team that will listen to your needs, devise informed solutions, and create a website that elevates your business, look no further! Our team will gladly work with you to build the website of your dreams. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to discuss what you need!