What Other Agencies Won't Tell You About Website Redesign
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the advice. That's why we're just going to be honest with you.
It’s Hard But It’s Also Easy
You already know the most basic truth - you get what you pay for. But here’s what you may not know. Redesigning and rebuilding your website is easier than you think, but it’s also harder than you think. What makes it easy is finding the right partner. They can manage risks without breaking a sweat. They keep you informed, but not bogged down with details, and generate momentum to keep your project rolling forward. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t hard! Because it is.
The truly hard part is what comes first - research, strategy, and prep work. It’s critical, and it’s the majority of the project work. All decisions must be grounded in your business strategy, everything must be double-checked, and all stakeholders must sign off on every bit of the plan.
The actual execution is the last 10% of your redesign project. If you've invested in planning and preparation, it’s very efficient. Think of it like a good house painting job. Sanding, taping, measuring, patching holes, choosing colors, etc. is most of the work. It seems like it takes forever. But once all that prep work is done, the paint crew comes in with sprayers and rollers and brushes and it’s done! Super easy. Of course, if you haven’t done all of the prep, you can’t just paint the house. You have to stop and patch a hole, stop and sand the rough spots, and so on. Suddenly it’s December and you have a half-painted house. You get the idea.
Business Decisions Come Before Design Decisions
The most important thing you might not know about redesigning your website is that it’s not really an art or technology issue. Your website has to generate revenue for you, and that makes it a business issue. This means when you choose your design partner, you need one who really understands your business needs. A cool font or beautiful graphics won’t solve your business problems, and if your designer starts there it’s a red flag that they’re focused on the wrong things. Your website is a tool that has to motivate customers to engage with your business and spend their money. An elegant thoughtful design supports all of that but doesn’t replace making sure your business goals are built into the site as the priority.
The Right Partner Isn’t Cheap - They’re Priceless
We know, the last time you redesigned the site it was a lot less expensive. Or maybe you had a bad experience with a previous agency. You’ve been burned. But don’t lose faith. The truth is the genuinely good agencies love doing successful work as much as you love receiving it. They want to be excellent for your benefit, not just theirs. They want to earn your trust. They are proactive, so you won’t have to call them to get a status update. If you’re talking with an agency that says, “once we get started you won’t be involved, we’ll just git er done!” there’s another red flag. Working in isolation means they can get a long way down the road before finding out they’ve missed something important. Which means stopping work, sorting it out, and wrangling with them about whether you have to pay for the additional time. A great partner knows that ongoing open collaboration makes everything faster, easier, and more successful and makes sure you always know what’s happening so you can just relax and trust the team.
Trust is what leads to excellence, in the end. Part of what's hard about this process is that you won’t be able to see a lot of the most important work that happens on the back end of the site. Trusting your team and giving your experts the time they need to make sure these invisible functions are sound and reliable will keep your users happy and the revenue flowing.
You’re going to pay good money to your design and development partner. Make sure they’re worth it. With the right partner, you’re still in charge, but every decision isn’t your burden.
The Great Decisions From Last Time Are Probably Wrong Now
Love your current layout? Be willing to scrap it. Is everyone comfortable with the current CMS? They’ll learn the new one. Let go of the idea that your favorite things must stay the same. This can be tough. Sometimes the part of your current site that you love most is going to be totally wrong for the new one. If you hang onto it, we guarantee it will get in the way of being able to create a really excellent new site. We know you put a lot of work into the current website, with lots of big decisions and hard choices. But your new site is about where you want your business to go in the future. This doesn’t mean the previous site was bad, it just means that its job is done.
The other thing to remember is that technology, design tools, and best practices are constantly evolving. They are moving targets. Part of the adventure of working with knowledgeable design and development partners is discovering what’s possible now that wasn’t the last time.
With all that said, it may turn out that some parts of the site can (and should) stay the same. That’s where your partner’s expertise comes in. They’ll guide you and help with the tough decisions.
No, You Really Can’t Do This “In-House” By Yourself
It’s tempting to try to do a redesign with your own team to save money. They can just work it into their queue, right? Honestly, no. Planning and building a new website pulls your in-house team away from the daily work of keeping things flowing. Trying to absorb the costs into your current operations doesn’t mean they go away. They just show up somewhere else. Like in your revenue stream.
And no, your sister's brother-in-law is not a good option for a redesign partner. No matter what kind of a deal they're telling you about. This revenue-generating tool is too important. Trust us when we say that you’ll be glad you had expert help (and so will your in-house team.)