A relatively new client who I’d formed an excellent working relationship with, approached me a number of weeks ago. They were looking to update or (as seems to be one correct way of putting it) “refresh” their website. Great, but stopping for one moment whilst working on another client’s web site design, at my desk in Falkirk, I began to think more about the implications of this task.
The Task In Hand
If your client has a reasonably clear idea about what they want, then it’s a lot easier to harness that creativity and expectation, ultimately delivering a final project that meets their needs. That’s not to say if they’re unsure about the best way forward it’s more difficult. Because, hey! You’re the professional, right?
But, in all seriousness, the underlying intent is real. As web designers it’s our job to ensure we guide our client down the right path to assist them in accomplishing their goals. Of which there may be a few, nevertheless we should always put content at the front of their mind (where it ideally belongs) as this fortifies and creates the necessary structure for a successful project.
And that leads me, more specifically, on to the issue of the “web site refresh”. Arguably it’s a half-way house between new ideas and old habits. But if done correctly, the results can often supplant the need for a complete redesign.
What’s Their Goal?
As a small web design agency, new projects are always welcome and every client is extremely precious. So it’s imperative to get off on the right foot. Whether it’s a brand new site, a redesign, refresh or any other form of redevelopment, it would be foolish to provide solutions or answers to your client’s problem, without first acquiring as much important information that relates to their present situation, as possible.
First and foremost you must ask the question “What is their goal?”. It’s obvious I know, but it’s crucial. It’s a question that underpins most web design and digital marketing but always rings true. Only by addressing this point can you enable the project to move forward in the right direction, with sure-footedness and with clear aims and objectives.
Love them or loathe them, when dealing with a website refresh or new web site design at our office in Falkirk, we like to use them as a point of reference for discussion. It gets the “ball rolling” as they say and allows us to understand the needs of the client and what it is they are trying to accomplish with their site.
They may not know themselves, at this point, what’s the purpose of the site but informal consultation teases out how successful the current website has been, whether it has fallen short of its objectives and lays down the groundwork for any ensuing redevelopment.
You’ve heard it all before, I know, and a lot of these points are also relevant to a new web design project but the core difference here is that you are specifically targeting key areas relevant only to the “website refresh”, focusing on the positive, making the negative redundant and concentrating your efforts on the evolution of the website.
So, here are the questions for success.
Website Refresh Questions
- What are your overall business objectives and how does the “refreshed” website integrate with that vision?
- Who is your target audience? Describe the different types of visitor to your website?
- How do people find your website?
- Is your website solving their problem or addressing their needs?
- Think of at least 3 reasons why a customer would visit your site?
- What are the things you like about your existing website?
- What things don’t you like about your current site?
- Do you intend on using any or all existing content? Does any content need to be updated or removed?
- Which pages are the most visited on your site. Do you know why?
- List two or more competitor websites. Explain in detail what you like? What doesn’t work?
- Please list websites which you like the look and feel of and explain why?
- Since your website was last designed or redeveloped has your company branding changed?
- What is your deadline and proposed budget?
- Does anyone need to approve the project go-ahead or any changes to the site? Who are the decision-makers?
What goals are you trying to accomplish? What is your site’s purpose?
Existing customers, prospective clients, local businesses (has the focus changed?)
Does more emphasis need to be placed on SEO, Social Media?
Refer to any data, transactions, feedback or past experience you may have.
Be specific, contact form, gallery, additional information – think very carefully.
List features, content or functionality that is effective in delivering your message.
Be honest. Can they be improved or are they no longer relevant?
Think about ALL content prudently and think about your website objectives.
Where do these pages fit in with your business goals and will additional pages need to be created as a consequence?
What do they do better than you? What sets them apart from you?
Any sites that inspire or grab you emotionally or sites you just like for their design.
Are there new design elements or direction we need to take into consideration?
This information can help us gauge the overall scope of the project.
Self-explanatory but vitally important to know nonetheless.
You’ve done the research, that’s the easy part. Now it’s time to embrace all that wonderful information you’ve gleaned from your client. It goes without saying, you only get back what you put in and armed (hopefully) with most of the data you need, you can put together a coherent proposal the client will not only be happy with but will make your life a lot easier and enable you to complete the job right, first time.
If you feel some of what we’ve written resonates with your current situation, why not give Karbon Designed a call?
We can hook-up, have a coffee and maybe even a biscuit – chocolate preferably – and have an informal discussion about your business and how we can help you move forward.
We’re based in the Falkirk and Stirling area and website design is what we do!