The decision has been made to move forward with a website redesign, a budget has been created, an agency to create your website has been selected, and you have been put in charge of completing this project. Where do you go from here?
No need to stress—we're here to help. Here are three steps to help you navigate a successful website redesign:
1. Create & Set Website Redesign Expectations
Use these tips to manage and set expectations you agree with and can be accountable for.
Schedule: If they haven’t been provided to you already, gather estimated timelines from your inbound marketing agency. Work with your agency on what is realistic in terms of turnaround time for review cycles. Although there is nothing wrong with being ambitious, think about the input you need from your team. Who are stakeholders and who has final approval? If you need internal stakeholder input, it’s in your best interest to leave extra space in the schedule and expect delays. When a schedule is finalized, do your best to get buy-in from your team to be able to hold them accountable in the future.
Pro tip: Prioritize stakeholder feedback. For example, if CEO Joe is only in the office on Wednesdays, schedule weekly standing meetings with Joe and all other stakeholders on that day so you are guaranteed review time with your internal team.
Pro tip #2: If your stakeholders are often hard to get a hold of or schedule time for, provide an agreed-upon cutoff window. For example, agree to move forward after five business days of no feedback.
Budget: Most likely, your budget for this website has already been set and approved. Avoid additional costs by reviewing your agency’s terms and setting clear expectations in each review cycle with your internal team. Typically, an agency will limit the amount of revisions made on a deliverable. Express these limits to your team and make it clear that if x, then y.
Pro tip: Over-communicate. You and your team want to be successful and go live ASAP. Communicate as much as possible to avoid unexpected delays.
2. Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome
Anyone working on a website redesign can easily develop Shiny Object Syndrome. After all, we’re creating an amazing website designed to engage users and produce results. It’s easy to become enamored with the possibilities of creative: looping hero videos, animations, illustrations—the ideas are endless. Creating a clear vision for your website design will keep everyone on track as you move through the project.
Discovery: Begin discovery with your internal team and create a vision. Use three to five words (specific or general) to define your project and goals. Reference these terms at any milestone to ensure that your project aligns with your vision. Be as specific or general with your terms as needed. If the “shiny object” doesn’t fit with your vision, nix it quickly and easily to stay out of the black hole of what ifs. Here are a couple examples of word sets: clean, vibrant, playful, organic, engaging; professional, crisp, structured, corporate, lead generating.
Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves: Keep expectations in line throughout your project by gathering a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Order this list by priority and ensure it is agreed upon. This will give you plenty of leverage for avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome down the line. When stakeholder Mike says, “What about this shiny object,” you’ll have the opportunity to point to your list and the expectations set in step one, and say, “It’s possible! But keep in mind that it will change the budget and schedule.”
Pro tip: Don’t make promises when creating your list. Your team members are not experts in UX, design, or development, and it is your agency’s responsibility to guide you in those matters.
3. Practice Follow-Through & Exhibit Leadership
A website redesign can turn an old, outdated website into something award-winning, and the team behind this should reap all deserved praise and benefits. Following through and exhibiting leadership is a ticket to not only a successful website redesign but also long-term benefits for yourself and your career.
Follow-Through: Practice follow-through with your agency. Your agency is your partner! It will do everything in its power to complete your project on time and on budget. You should expect this out of your agency, and your agency should expect it out of you. If there are unexpected delays or emergencies, communicate with your agency on ETAs. It will happily revise your schedule, provide options on how to keep the project moving, and ensure your project has the resources for when milestones are ready. If you’re not practicing follow-through with your agency and instead leaving it in the dark, resources for your project could dry up.
Exhibit Leadership: Exhibit leadership by practicing patience, creating structure, setting expectations, leading internal and external teams, and communicating clearly. Both your team and agency will appreciate your leadership throughout this project. Don’t be afraid to show the team what you're made of and how capable you are! These are skills that you can keep forever and extend into your life and your career.
Congrats! You’ve successfully navigated completing a website redesign on schedule and on budget.