If you’ve visited DePaul Industries on the web before, you've probably noticed that we have a brand new site!
A strong web presence is a priority for businesses of all types today, and most companies will embark on a redesign at some point. Since the process is still fresh in our minds, we thought we’d share what we've learned.
- Pick your web design firm wisely.
Unless you have in-house expertise (or perhaps even if you do), you’ll need to outsource web design. You have an overwhelming amount of options, from an independent web designer to a huge marketing company. There are obviously many factors to consider, like a firm's body of work and experience, pricing, and communication style. Portland creative services firm GRAYBOX (check them out - they're great) was flexible and enthusiastic about our project, and we’re thrilled with the results.
- Have clear goals for your site.
Organizations seek website redesigns for many reasons. Maybe you just went through a rebrand and want something that better represents your current organization. Perhaps you’re starting to sell products online and need ecommerce functionality. Or you might want your web presence to be more modern, easier to navigate, or to get more traffic. Regardless, having a purpose and goal for your site is key from the outset, and keeping this goal in mind will help you make decisions and decide how to allocate your budget.
- Define roles early on.
You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. Make sure all stakeholders are involved in your redesign, but that the project team is not so large as to be overwhelming and unfocused. Having a designated project manager internally, who can solicit advice and opinions from others and communicate to the design firm, worked well for us.
- Set a realistic timeline – with lots of wiggle room.
If you have a deadline by which you absolutely need your website finished (like an event or product announcement), give yourself a sizeable buffer. Between phases taking longer than expected, technical challenges to troubleshoot, other projects taking precedence, time out of the office, and a whole host of other reasons, it’s likely your project might take a little longer than expected. Giving yourself extra time will reduce stress and late nights at the office.
- Choose the right platform.
Your website isn’t static - it should change and grow with your business - so you need to be able to update it in-house. A wide variety of platforms, from WordPress to Joomla to Squarespace, are available for you to choose from. We ended up going with Drupal, which worked with our budget and which provided a content management system (CMS) we could learn. For those with less tech savvy, a simpler CMS like WordPress might be the way to go. Your web design firm should be able to help you decide.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff after launch.
It will take a bit of time for search engines to index your redesigned site, and searches may bring up a few 404 errors in the meantime. It’s also possible that you'll have a few hiccups after the new site launches, but don’t worry too much - the bugs will all be worked out in time.
Embarking on a website redesign soon? We wish you the best of luck!