So you’ve lived with your website for a while now and you know it’s time for an update. That can be overwhelming – after all, it’s usually a very important part of your business and its public face. Change is fraught with risk but also opportunity. This is the moment to add in new ideas, iron out all the kinks, and do the things you didn’t get round to first time “because we just need to go live”. This time around, you already have a website, so the urgency may not be so pressing. Our advice is to take this moment to have a long hard think, and ask yourself our twenty probing questions.
- What’s the website for?
- How will it support your business objectives?
- Who are the most important visitors to your site?
- Why are they here?
- What do they want the site to do for them?
- Are they struggling with the current site, and how?
- What new content, features, and/or functionality would help them?
- What three messages do you want them to take away?
Your current site
- What are the analytics telling you?
- Have the products or services you sell changed since the old site was built?
- What sections can be edited or deleted?
- What currently works well?
- What’s not working well?
- Is there anything you could automate?
- Which competitor websites have appealing designs or features?
- Which websites do you love?
Your new site
- What would success look like?
- A better-looking site?
- A faster and better mobile experience?
- Time-consuming manual updates automated?
- More enquiries?
- What new sections do you need?
- How important is SEO/ PPC to people finding your site?
- How frequently does the site need to be updated?
If you’ve answered all twenty questions thoroughly, your web build people will have a great brief. But the best work always comes out of conversations, so check in regularly. Keep an open mind and be prepared for things to evolve as you develop the new site. And remember, it’s easy to throw content at the problem but not always the best way forward. The best websites say just enough, as concisely and fluidly as possible. No flab, just a logical and helpful experience that gives visitors what they want with as few clicks as possible. Finally, remember that your website is a living, breathing entity. You can test landing pages, you can tweak content and design and you can add and remove. Don’t treat it as a dusty box of brochures – try and keep it fresh, always.