As VIEO's lead web developer, I've worked on many website redesign projects. Our team strives to make the web design process as smooth and painless as possible and we never want a project to stall. To that end, I keep an eye out for common pitfalls that can create delays. There are four situations often at the source of any slow down - but the good news is, they're very likely within your control!
If you're undergoing a website redesign, you can take steps to prevent problems and start benefiting from your new website more quickly. Here are 4 of the most common issues, and how to avoid them!
Pitfall #1: Confusion about the Process
At the beginning of the website redesign process, we hold a design and content consultation. One of the goals of this meeting is to find out, in depth, about our client's ideal buyer persona, business goals, and conversion priorities.
But there's another very important goal: to make the web design process clear. Web design projects can be daunting, especially if it's your first time going through one. Delays will most often happen when there are misunderstandings about when things are supposed to happen and what's expected (on both sides of the agency-client relationship). Even if your agency is focused on communicating clearly, it's important that you ask any questions you have at any point during the design process.
We try to avoid this pitfall by proactively clarifying the process early and often. At the initial design consultation we talk through what to expect from us as well as what we'll need to keep moving forward. From explaining the timeframes for each milestone to providing a record of the process for future reference, ongoing and clear communication is key to avoiding project delays.
Pitfall #2: Not Prioritizing the Project
Whether you're a business owner or marketing director, you're busy. A website redesign adds just more thing on your plate and that means it could get pushed to the back burner. However, one of the things that I've seen quickly derail a project is when it can't be made a priority.
No matter who is working on your website, they'll need to contact you regularly with questions and updates. Many times, these require a response before moving forward. If you know you won't have time yourself, designate a trusted member of your team to be the point person. If there's something that needs to come to your attention, they'll still be able to involve you.
There will always be fires to put out when marketing or running a business, but we know from lots of experience that a new website that will drive more traffic and convert more customers is a game changer. Making your website redesign a priority will significantly speed up the process.
Pitfall #3: Content Delays
Even if everything goes smoothly with design and development, there's still a critical thing a website needs: content. A website can't go live without content (images and text copy) and both of these require your input. In my experience, content delays are one of the most common problems with website redesign projects and will add weeks or even months to website "go live."
First, let's talk website text which we refer to as "copy." If you're planning to write your own website copy, it's best to start on it as soon as possible and give yourself time to proof and review it before you submit it. If you're planning to use copy from your existing website, make sure there's nothing that needs to be added or changed (and it will). If you'd rather not have copy to worry about, many agencies like ours offer web copywriting services which takes this off your list and provides content that's optimized for the search engines.
Whichever route you choose, once you've submitted and/or approved your final copy, you may start thinking about changes. You'll see a sentence you want to tweak or think of a few new paragraphs for a page. But, if you can limit these changes you'll avoid added delays. Instead, take notes on things you'd like to change and ask if you can practice those changes during your pre-launch training.
So, what about images? Not stock images but those that are company-specific like staff head shots, pictures of your office, or product shots. Gathering these assets early on will give you time to organize them and evaluate any additional needs.
Pitfall #4: Problems with Image Size and Quality
Sometimes, a little thing can cost a lot of time and incorrect image sizes are one of those little things. There's unfortunately nothing a designer can do to make a small image look clear and professional at a larger size. When we run into those situations, the only solution is to ask our client for a different file. It's no fun for anybody!
To get the highest resolution possible, one of the best shortcuts is to provide the original image. Screenshots, images saved from Facebook, and other secondary forms may not provide the quality necessary for web use. The last thing you want on your beautiful new website is a pixelated image. The original may or may not be large enough, but it's aways the best bet!
The necessary image size and quality also depends on where the image will be placed on the website. If it's going to span the full width of the website (for example, as a background image), it needs to be no fewer than 1920 pixels wide. For images that will be imbedded in the text, you can simply provide the largest version you have. If it needs to be scaled down or cropped, a designer can do so in a way that preserves the quality. It's always better to have too much than too little.
When it comes to the website redesign process, there are ways to avoid common pitfalls. I hope the tips provided in this post will help you with your next redesign. If you haven't pulled the trigger yet, we'd love to answer any questions you have with a free consultation.