Web Site Re-Design 101

At Engine 8 we like to think of our job as “moving brands forward.” Design and marketing are all about finding new ways of engaging customers and keeping your message relevant. Graphic design has always been a trends business — infusing pop culture, fine art aesthetics and present-day business thinking.

Keeping your marketing program fresh and up-to-date can be a challenge, especially when you’re talking the world of web. Not only do web design trends move rapidly compared to more traditional print design, steady advances in technology and user interface design make keeping ahead of the web curve a demanding proposition.

Unlike print materials such as brochures and catalogs, successful web sites should be living beings — growing and adapting, sometimes daily, to reflect your changing business goals. Interactive components such as blogs, video, forums and social media have made evolving web sites easier than ever. Well designed web sites are made to adapt. But even the best designed sites of today will eventually become outdated. As a rule of thumb, you should plan on re-designing your web site every 4 to 5 years. Here are a few fundamental considerations if you are considering a web site re-design:

Look at the big picture.
Your web site should be part of a larger marketing and communications program. Before you jump into a web re-design, step back and evaluate your marketing mix to see how the new web site will work in tandem with other initiatives. Your web site should not stand alone but be part of a comprehensive marketing program that includes several “offline” components.

Determine a path.
Ask yourself, “What’s the ultimate objective of the new web site?” Successful web sites have well-defined goals; whether your objective is selling products or getting visitors to pick up the phone, your site should guide visitors down a path to an end goal. It’s also important to provide visitors with multiple channels to a particular goal.

Stay true to your brand.
A site redesign should evolve your current brand, not trash it. Make sure not to discard the established brand you’ve worked so hard to build over the years. The design and layout of the site may change drastically, but keep true to your core messaging and identity to ensure building on your existing foundation, not starting over.

Go beyond cosmetic changes.
Look for ways to optimize site functionality, organization and backend technology. Simple measures such as reorganizing existing pages and categories can vastly improve user experience. How can you plug into the latest technology to make your site better? There are many new, web-based tools you can utilize to add functionality and opportunities to interact with your audience.

Spread the word.
So you’ve re-designed your site, now what? Prior to launching a site re-design, you should develop a launch promotion strategy. Look for ways to drive traffic to the new site and think of the relaunch as an opportunity to reach out to your current clients and network. A web relaunch should reinvigorate your brand.

These are just a few best practices you should consider when planning to update your web site. Ultimately, your site redesign should enhance your overall marketing objectives and strengthen your existing brand. For more information about web design, call Bunkers Design at 406-222-7566 or visit engine8design.com.