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Five Steps to Take Before Refreshing a Website

Many small businesses have so much to do to keep their operations humming that before they know it a few years have gone by and their websites are out-of-date.

Whether the website’s content is stale, its navigation is clunky or its look and functionality are from before the social media era, the site is likely not helping the brand’s appeal and may even be tainting the company’s all-so-important first impression.

It’s true that refreshing a website can seem like a daunting undertaking. But don’t fall victim to website paralysis. Rest assured that a few straightforward preliminary steps can put the project on the right path.

Before beginning the search for a web agency, designer or developer, businesses should implement these five steps:

1. Print out every page from the existing website.

2. Read each page carefully. Highlight the text that is still current. Strike out the messaging that is no longer relevant. Identify the blocks of content that are missing.

Takeaway: This step provides an initial feel for the amount of new content and number of new pages that will be needed, as well as what should be eliminated.

3. Review the site’s web analytics reports. What pages are visitors viewing? How much time are they spending on each one? What critical content should they be reading that they are not? Is the site producing the desired conversion actions?

Takeaway: Determining what areas of the current site are appealing to visitors will help decide what sections to keep and expand upon and what sections to revise or retire.

4. Determine the business’ objectives for the website. Is it awareness? Lead generation? Closing sales? Or, is it some other type of conversion?

Takeaway: The refreshed site should be designed to meet the organization’s goals. Decide what those goals are before the project gets underway.

5. Select up to three audiences that the refreshed site will be targeting. Build a profile of those target segments, including age, gender, income levels, likes and dislikes and why they buy the product or service.

Takeaway: Design and develop the website with the target visitors in mind.  Craft messages that speak to their needs and interests and they are likely to want to learn more.

Once the five preliminary steps are completed, the organization will have assessed its current site and started scoping the new site. This information will be very helpful to use during the web developer vetting process. Now it’s time to contact those agencies.

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