Wrapping Up a Redesign Project

In our last post, How to Manage a Remote Team, we discussed how to best work with a remote team to ensure that your project is being completed on time and on budget with as little stress as possible. You are now at the stage where the designer/firm will be ready to hand the site back over to you. But before you sign off on the project, there are some key things you should do. Prior to your site going live, your developer should give you a link to a test site. This site will look like your redesigned site but will not be searchable by anyone. Use this to make sure the site looks and functions properly. Normally whoever creates this will test for any bugs, but it is a good idea to do a test of your own just in case. Keep in mind that any major functionality or design changes may result in additional costs. After any kinks have been worked out, it’s time to launch your website! Once the site has been live for a little bit, circle back to the metrics that you looked into when planning your website redesign. Take note of any noticeable, positive or negative, changes. Some design teams include site maintenance or minor adjustments for a brief period after the site is launched, so try to use that time to address any issues with your metrics. The final thing to keep in mind is how you will maintain your site. The easiest option is to have the designer, developer, or firm maintain it for you. While this should keep your...

How To Effectively Manage a Remote Team

In our last post, Three Important Questions to Ask Your Potential Site Redesign Team, we discussed what to look for when hiring your design team. At this point, you should be ready to start working with your designer/developer or firm. Working with an off-site team can be difficult. To help you out, we’ve included the top three aspects to focus on to ensure that working with a remote team is as painless as possible. Communicating with an off-site team will inevitably be more difficult than walking across a room to speak with someone. There are, however, ways to work around this. Solutions such as Google Hangouts, Go To Meeting, and Skype are ways to connect to your team and collaborate. Tip: It might also be beneficial to set up weekly meetings so everyone can get on the same page and you can discuss any goals or milestones. Accountability is another important but difficult aspect to manage for anyone overseeing remote teams. Not knowing if projects are being completed can add a lot of stress to the redesign process. Tools such as Basecamp, Lighthouse, and ActiveCollab allow teams to collaborate while also keeping track of what is being completed. Organization is key to working with off-site teams. Using programs like Dropbox or Google Docs allow you to share files without having to send an e-mail each time a document needs to be accessed by another member of the team. Files are easily available and your team doesn’t have to waste time sifting through their inbox to find the attachment they are looking for. Whatever solutions you decide to implement, addressing...

Three Important Questions To Ask Your Potential Site Redesign Team

In The Developer/Designer Conundrum, we explained the differences between a designer and a developer – and whether you should hire individuals or a design firm for your redesign project. But before you hire, it’s important to ask the right questions so that you can find the appropriate fit for your company and project. Here are our top three questions to ask any potential candidates: Are you satisfied with their portfolio? When looking at a potential hire’s portfolio, make sure they have experience similar to the type of project you need completed. If you can’t find similar projects but still like the work they’ve done, reach out to them and ask if they are comfortable with the type of work you need. They may even be able to partner with someone else who has the relevant experience. Can you communicate effectively with them? You will be working remotely with whoever you hire, so communication is key! Do they answer questions completely? If you request samples, do they get back to you in a timely manner? Good communication is crucial – so make sure you are comfortable. How will they approach your project? Make sure you have a clear understanding of the project before moving forward. Some important elements to pay attention to are: Cost Process Timeline Domain and web hosting How the site will be maintained after the launch After asking about these aspects of the project, you should have a better idea about whether or not the particular person or firm would be a good fit to work with. If they do seem like a good fit, it would be...

The Developer/Designer Conundrum

In the first part of our series, Prevent Website Redesign Burnout, we discussed in the best way to kick off your redesign project – including, setting goals and creating a plan. The next step is to find the right person to bring your plan to life. Finding the right person (or group) isn’t always easy. With so many options, things can start to get a little murky. To help you navigate your way through the depths of a redesign, we’ve listed the basic roles you should look for and how they will fit into your redesign plan: Designers are usually the first ones to start working on a new website. They are concerned with how the site looks and feels, so they will focus on usability, site navigation and the placement of elements such as buttons and forms. Ultimately, a good designer will create a great user experience. Developers are in charge of bringing the designs to life. They create the “backbone” of the site to make it functional and build the user interface. For example, a designer will create a “submit” button for a form and the developer makes sure that when it’s clicked, the information is sent and stored in a database. A developer should be competent in a number of programming languages. At the end of the day, you will need a designer and a developer to create your website. There are individuals who specialize in both, but they are in high demand and are often difficult to find. One option is to hire one designer and one developer. Keep in mind, however, that they need...

Prevent Website Redesign Burnout

At some point, you will want to update your website. Maybe your site is outdated, maybe you are experiencing functionality issues, or maybe you are just not getting the amount of traffic you want. Regardless of the reason, it can be a daunting task. In this series, we we will outline the steps to take before, and during, a redesign to keep you sane throughout the process. First step? Understand how your site is currently performing. If you have a way to track your site’s performance metrics (such as Google Analytics), then take a look at areas such as: Number of visitors Bounce rate Time on site Total number of lead/submission forms for the month Sales generated per month Armed with this information, you can establish your redesign plan – including goals. When setting your goals, consider why you want to change your site. Are you not getting as much traffic because your site is not mobile-friendly? Are your lead forms difficult to find? Is your current site leaving out key information on new products and services? Use your performance metrics to narrow down your changes, and really focus on the areas that need the most improvement.This can help scale down the scope of the project immensely. Some suggest doing small, incremental changes to your site to see how that pans out with your visitors. This way, you are only changing what needs to be changed, rather than everything at once.  This can also help you troubleshoot your changes. If a certain update led to a negative response, you can easily identify the cause and fix it. Whatever your goals...