Your website is your online shopfront, the outward facing persona of your business, so it’s important to get it right when it’s time for a website redesign. This can be tough when you or your team continually have lots of great ideas to be incorporated in the new site. It can be tempting to delay the launch to add just one more new feature.
However, this can also result in some massive headaches. What features should you prioritise? Will the website do it’s job? And importantly, will it fit the budget? With that in mind, here are some simple ways you can ensure that your website redesign project runs smoothly and within budget.
1. Nobody Gets It Right The First Time Around
Getting your new site absolutely perfect first time around is impossible. The most successful businesses understand that achieving ‘perfection’ as far as their website goes is an ongoing pursuit that they need to pursue each month, making incremental improvements and gains where they can. These businesses understand that the traditional way of building a website and then redesigning it in 2 year cycles is flawed, and this is essentially hindering their business online for 2 years at a time.
Some tips to be aware of when planning a website redesign:
- The objective of the first launch of the new website should be to bring live the new visitor friendly design framework you have decided upon.
- Future design changes should improve upon the UI of the site, add content and restructure pages to improve the return on investment from the site.
- The site should be built in such a way that it can be added to and improved each month.
- Aiming to get everything ‘absolutely perfect’ for launch is generally a waste of time and resources. Once the site goes live you will be able to gather data on its performance and the path users take through the site, enabling you to quickly make improvements based on data.
- Have a clear cut off for all features that will be in the first version and what will be added later.
- Any new features you think of during the development process should not go live until after the site launch
2. Avoid Scope Creep
One of the biggest reasons web design projects going over budget is scope creep, which is when you think of new additions and functionality for the website once the project has started and work has begun.
This severely hampers progress and can be very costly, especially if functional changes to the site conflict with the existing work that you or your developers have done, as well as adding unnecessary costs for ‘nice to have’ features that may not actually offer much real benefit for customers, or could be added later
Not only does scope creep slow down the project and cost more, it can often ruin the entire layout and focus of the new website by adding functionality and areas of the site that don’t fit well or conflict with the main objective of the site. Therefore, the solution is to avoid adding any new features while the site is in progress. Remember, the first iteration won’t be 100 percent perfect, but will have the most important functionality included.
3. Trim The Fat
It can be tempting to plan that all functionality from your old site be included in the new one. However, do you have evidence to back up whether or not certain features are actually useful to your customers? A more effective process is to include core functionality, then add optional functionality piece by piece and run user tests on the site to determine what would help users the most, and what doesn’t add to their experience.
Consider testing your old website using whatusersdo.com to get people in your target market to test the site. Learn what parts of the site are useful and what aren’t. Use this to guide your process and trim the fat – don’t rebuild any parts of the site unless there is evidence that it improves the user’s experience.
4. Educate Yourself About Growth Driven Design
Many of the points described above are part of an emerging web design process called Growth Driven Design. Adopting a Growth Driven Design approach for your next website project can help to eliminate these main causes for website projects to go over budget, as well as a number of other key benefits:
- A more effective method of redesigning a web site
- An agile method of continuously improving the performance of your website using real time data from the website
- Requires a much smaller time investment
- Quick to launch
- Maximises the return on investment from your project spend
In order to successfully use this framework for a website project, it’s important that if you’re working with a team on your website project that everyone’s on the same page. Therefore, preparing a presentation to educate everyone else involved in it about the Growth Driven Design philosophy and ensure all activity is done with this process in mind can really help ensure your time is used productively.
Once everyone is in agreement, you can refer back to this process any time features are suggested. These features can then be added to an ongoing plan, allowing you to keep your initial website redesign project within your budget, while having a solid plan for when to add in new functionality.
The result is a more efficient website design process, saving both time and money!
Featured photo credit: Helloquence via unsplash.com