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When it comes to re-designing your website, or even creating a new site from scratch, it’s easy to get lost in the many things there are to think about. Having just completed a complete re-design and re-development of ourselves, we thought we’d share with you our top 10 tips on undertaking a new website project:

  • Dedicate time to research
    Ensure you spend enough time researching your target customer base and your clients’ feedback on your current website if you already have one. Take a look at your Google Analytics traffic too to see what’s working well and not so well. If you don’t already have a site, carry out surveys to find out what types of sites your customers like/dislike and use this to build key data for your website brief.

  • Create a clear and concise website brief
    Write a clear and thorough website brief outlining all key elements of the website project and what the site needs to deliver. Dedicate time to ensuring you’ve included all key deliverables you want in the new website. The more accurate and clear your brief is, the better your result will be.

  • Choose your web developers wisely
    Choosing the right web developers for your company website is crucial. With such a large scale project, you need to be able to work closely with them as people – communication is key. Send your brief to 5 potential suppliers and hold a pitching day where you ask them to come in, meet with you and your team, and pitch their 'ideas' for the site, bringing also their ‘quote’ for the project in a sealed envelope. This gives you a great chance to get a feel for their personalities as well as their knowledge and skills. You could score them (Strictly Come Dancing style!), and then review quotes and scores with your team afterwards for the selection process. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on price with the developers too!

  • Get the legal bit right
    Once you’ve picked your web developers, make sure you have a signed contract between you both and that you are happy and clear on all terms and conditions. Be wary of rogue developers out there. Ask them for references if you have any reservations and look online for reviews.

  • Keep a little extra pot of gold
    No matter what quote you are supplied with at supplier selection stage, website projects tend to come with extra, hidden, developments that you might not know about at this stage, but want later on into the project when designs have been made etc. To be on the safe side, allocate a little extra pot of budget for extra development work too, that way you have a contingency for anything that crops up at a later date.

  • Content is King
    If you’re designing a website that is going to have quite a lot of content, ensure you devise a thorough content plan that covers all pages of the site. Consider outsourcing copywriting if you do not have the time or resource in-house. It is the most time-consuming element of the project and it’s important that your copy is top-notch in terms of brand tone of voice, accuracy and engagement. Allocate time within your project to spend reviewing all copy on the site too. Check for any ‘lorem ipsum’ text, spelling or grammar errors, broken links and duplication.

  • Regular internal communication
    Keep your staff engaged in the project by providing regular internal communications on website progress. Websites are a central tool for any business and it’s great to have all team members on board with the project to grow internal buy-in before it launches.

  • Who you gonna call? ‘Bug Testers’!
    Allocate enough time (plus extra contingency time) for you to carry out ‘bug-testing’ of your site before it launches. Your developers will normally do a range of bug-testing themselves but this is an extra step you can take to ensure your website launch goes smoothly. Engage your team and as many people as you can to check the staging site on multiple platforms, mobile devices and browsers etc. You want to make sure that your website is fully optimized and bug-less on all the most popular platforms, browsers and devices. Set up a central spreadsheet for the ‘bug testers’ to log and report errors back to you in a consistent format then send the bug results over to your developers to rectify. Always ‘over-estimate’ the amount of time bug-testing can take so you can allow for any potential new bugs that crop up. It’s always best to be ahead of your deadline than behind schedule.

  • Softly launch your new website
    So, you’ve done it. Signed off on your new design, all functionality is sorted and created your brand new website. It’s ready to go. The first thing you want to do is shout about it to everybody! But, WAIT. As much as it is a really exciting time for you and the team, launch your website softly first just in case any more bug errors or issues crop up upon going live. Wait a week or two of the site being up before you start promoting it as the last thing you’ll want is people visiting your new site and finding that areas of it don’t work. Running the soft launch first will give you time to solve any teething problems before the bulk of your customers see your new, gleaming new site. 

  • Keep going!
    After all that hard work of designing and developing your new website, don’t neglect it after you’ve launched. Check in with your Google Analytics reports to see how the website is performing and don’t forget to keep a monthly record of key stats and even more importantly, conversions you’ve made from your website. Once the site is ready for launch, there are always further improvements you can make to the site – whether that’s in its SEO, content and functionality. A website project is never, ever really truly finished.

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