The short answer: It depends.
The long answer: Redesigning a website isn’t something to be taken lightly. For the next few months you will be double-tasked with regular work activities AND project demands. More than once, you and others will wonder aloud why you thought this project was a good idea.
So before you start, be sure you have answers to the following questions.
1. Look Forward – What specific business objectives will the new website accomplish?
Do you have aggressive sales goals this year? Do you want to improve your customer service? Do you want to develop new revenue streams? A website redesign can accomplish these and many other business objectives. Unfortunately, most people skip this step. A website project without clear objectives is like playing football without a goal line. There’s a lot of activity but you can’t win the game. Take the time to articulate the objectives before you start.
2. Look Back – How does the current site measure up against these same objectives?
Identifying exactly where and how the current website is broken is the only way to make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes with a new website. Put another way, do you have any empirical data that shows the current site is NOT meeting your business objectives? Or are you relying on your “gut”? A website can look dated, but be perfectly capable when measured against your business goals. If you are not measuring your current site, you need to start now. It’s way cheaper than a redesign project.
3. Look Around – What is the measurable impact on your business?
You need to justify the redesign costs the same way you that you would any other business purchase. It needs to either generate revenue or reduce costs otherwise you could (and should) be investing in something else. The measure of the return must be quantifiable. Making the website “more attractive” is not a strong enough justification because it’s a subjective benchmark. However, if one of your business goals is to improve the quality of the website leads than you can objectively measure the outcome and impact on your business (better leads = more sales = $$ bills).
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Whether you decide to tackle a website redesign internally or hire an external developer; make sure everyone on the team knows the answers to these questions. They are the only answers that matter when you find yourself tired, knee-deep in the middle of the project, and questioning your sanity.