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Considering a Site Redesign? Do These Things First!

     -     Mar 5th, 2018   -     Accounting Websites   -     0 Comments

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As many firm marketers know, going through a website redesign is nothing short of a very big job. Many elements are needed for the success of your new site including budget, leadership support, quality time to focus on tasks at hand, fresh content and the list goes on. A question that’s often asked to us when approached by our clients is “How long will it take?”. And our answer which is based on years of experience is that it can take months, sometimes over a year to get a firm-wide redesign launched. Surely many of you now feel overwhelmed at the sound of that but there is good news. If a redesign is on your firm’s horizon, you can be taking steps now to get ahead of the game while also getting support and approval from key leadership members. To help clients, prospects and others understand these steps FlashPoint has provided a summary below.

FIRST THINGS FIRST – EVALUATE YOUR CONTENT

One of the first things you can do is conduct a content audit. Having a crystal, clear picture of your existing content is very helpful. There are two types of audits that you will want to consider:

  • Quantitative – This type of audit demonstrates the volume of content you currently have (number of pages), how the content is organized (your current site architecture) as well as what kinds of content exist (text, images, video, graphics, etc.)
  • Qualitative – This audit will take a bit more time but is well worth it because it helps you evaluate the narrative quality of the content that is currently on your website. Additionally, an audit of this nature should be conducted by someone with knowledge about the website’s target audience as well as someone who has a clear understanding of the goals of each section. It’s not uncommon for many firms to have their own content creators based on services and industries. These individuals are who should be evaluating the content for accuracy, since they are the subject matter experts in their specific area. The point of this type of audit is to inform the marketer what content needs to rewritten or deleted all together.

REVIEW YOUR COMPETITION

It’s never a bad idea to scope out what your competition is up to. Surely you must have a list of competitors that are of similar size and offerings as your firm. Make time to look and their websites and identify both trends and what you feel doesn’t’ work, and why. Be sure to document your findings so they can be shared with the firm conducting your redesign. Establishing a clear picture of the competitive landscape will help you make informed decisions later in the process.

LIST YOUR REQUIREMENTS

One of the most crucial components to a web redesign is functionality. It is key for the design team to know about all the functionalities that are expected with your new redesign. Often, we see clients not think completely though this part of the process and what happens is “scope creep”, and “scope creep” means added cost to the contract. Why? The reason is simple… functionality changes or additions add time to the development process. Therefore, as an example, it’s important to contemplate things such as:

  • How do you plan to integrate your news and calendar feeds?
  • Will Key Team Professionals need to be listed on your Services and Industries pages?
  • Will there be a blog feed in your sidebars on all pages or just some and why?
  • Will the blog need to be searchable by author?
  • Will the Bio Directory page need to be searchable? Is so, how?
  • If you are moving to WordPress from an old CMS, then you will certainly need to think through what you need it to do. What challenges are you currently faced with and how would you like them resolved on a new platform?
  • Will you require third-party integrations for calendars, news listings, social feeds, blogs and more?
  • And the list goes on and on. We’re sure you catch our drift.

MAP OUT YOUR TIMELINE

Far too often we experience clients having unrealistic expectations when it comes to a launch date. It’s important to set a goal for when your site will launch that allows for all parts of the process: Preplanning, Design and Development. Rushing a timeline for the sake of getting a site launched can equal not getting the most superior product possible. In almost all cases, it’s better to invest time to build something solid that will be evergreen as your firm grows. Therefore, get set up for success with a realistic launch date that takes key milestones into consideration. Don’t forget to include the following when establishing your projected timeline: major work events in the firm and/or other big ongoing projects, vacations, holiday breaks, and all the pesky unforeseen setbacks that always happen.

When you work with us, we will take your schedule into consideration and do our best to accommodate based on the realistic nature of the work flow and process needed. We find that when we are honest about the time needed, the result is a timeline that is achievable and works for everyone involved in the project. We also understand that each project is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, redesigning a new website is a large project that requires serious planning and preparation for success. Using the above steps can help you in the beginning stages and will alleviate some pressure as you move further along. If you need a new website or would like to learn more about the FlashPoint process, contact us today. We’re here to help.


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