So you’re ready to redesign your website. Great! It can be a daunting undertaking, but if you have a solid plan in place, you may find yourself enjoying the process! (Really!) There are a number of factors that will help smooth the road to launching that highly effective integrated marketing tool – your new website!
Define the team: Once you have identified your website design and development team, establish an internal team to work with them. Limit the number of people on that internal team as much as possible. “Website design by committee” gets very difficult to manage. Designate one qualified person as the project manager and single point of contact for the creative team.
Define the strategy: Why do you need a new site? Your team should have a shared understanding of the answer, and it should not be “it seems like what we’re supposed to do.” Why? Make a list of what you want out of the new site. How will it help your business? (Going responsive needs to be on that list!) At the end of that process, you will understand why you are redoing your website.
Audit your existing site: Be brutal. Determine what pieces are working and can be used in the new site, and what gets ditched.
Protect your SEO! This is critical: You must understand the SEO ramifications of launching a new site, or else you risk significantly damaging the organic traffic and search engine rankings you have built up. This piece offers a detailed explanation; following are some basics:
- Create an inventory of all of the URLs on your existing site (don’t forget subdomains!) and inform search engines of where those links have moved.
- Analyze inbound links, so you know what is linking to you and where they are coming from. Be sure to migrate those pages as needed!
- Use 301 redirects when pointing old URLs to new ones.
Plan your launch: What is your target launch date? (Choose a day and time that will be least disruptive to your users, just in case any hiccups occur during launch.) How will you announce the launch to your audience? Put social mediaand email marketing plans in place to announce your exciting news! And don’t forget to celebrate with your team – pop some champagne, take everyone to lunch, do something fun as a team. Launching a new site is a huge accomplishment and deserves recognition.