Your corporate website was designed maybe two years ago and you feel it's time for an overhaul. Its important to keep up with the times, implement new technology, and stay relevant. You shop around for a few website design companies and have seen some beautiful design work. It will be expensive, but based on what you see, it looks very impressive. These guys have got it going on. You finally decide on an agency and they promise to deliver an awesome new website in 12 to 18 weeks.
Website Development Labor Pains
In an ideal world, 12 to 18 weeks roll by and you are left with a very attractive website that everyone assumes will have leads rolling in left and right. Job well done.
Then this happens...
...What the #$/^&*
Now what do you?
- Go back to the website developer and complain about the site you approved of and signed off on?
- Get a new firm to look at it?
- Get an SEO company to audit it?
Regardless of what you do, there will be a lot of scrambling, hard feelings, and sinking stomachs.
What about a new approach to your next website design?
Start out with a rapidly deployed foundation- a launch pad site. The goal is to get this thing out in thirty days. This is an actual site that provides all the core content. No bells and whistles. The site is launched and starts to gain exposure in the search engines and to your audience.
This site is:
- safe - "Do no harm approach"
- fully optimized for search engines
- launched correctly
- and the old site is appropriately redirected
From this point you can organize a list of features you want* on the site and categorize them by how they will affect your KPI's (key performance indicators). Write a hypothesis for each, explaining how it should affect your KPIs, a priority for each, and real data that is being analyzed on the launch pad site for each.
Rather than being a two to three month love'em and leave'em event, the website development process is a month-to-month partnership between your company and the marketing/design agency. You are working together to optimize conversions and improve user experience through user signals and actual interactions on your website.
* Hallelujah! All the Features I Want!!
It is time for a come to Jesus discussion here. I realize I said all the features you want. What I should clarify is, after taking a careful look at user interactions on your website- take what you learned and see how you can adjust it to maximize impact on KPI. Determine the difficulty in implementing your change and create a prioritized list that you and your developer can use as a tool to improve overall ongoing site performance.
I have to warn you NOT to get hung up on details that will in no way affect the user conversion. If you are at all unsure about something, watch the user behavior and let that dictate your decisions.