So you’re in charge of the website. You’re likely in Communications and/or Marketing. You’ve reached capacity with your current web team. Perhaps you’ve mainly relied on one or two people to publish most of your content. In fact, you and your staff may have created or edited most of the content so far. You wish you could get more communications people and others to publish some of their work, but no one has time to deal with the peculiarities of your content management system (CMS), so it keeps getting funneled through your web guy (or girl). He has learned to deal with the eccentricities of your CMS – he’s figured out some work-arounds and perhaps entrenched a few or more bad habits into the system. You tend to think of him and his backup as your Web team. Oh, yes, and there is the website host or developer who helps out now and then and your communications people who coordinate updates with the rest of the organization.
And of course, as the Web manager, you’ve learned more than you really wanted to know along the way, but you’ve kept things going pretty well, given what you have to work with. But there are days, when you know that what you really need to get things cooking is a bigger Web team and a better system.
There are lots of reasons to contemplate a website “redesign.” It’s dated. It’s drab. It’s dense, confusing, and overgrown. It’s hard to maintain. Or, we’re rebranding, revamping, rethinking…
The fact is, that a “redesign” is rarely just a re-skinning of the look and feel of the site. It often incorporates navigation changes, a new content management system, integration of social media and new functionality for starters. Then there’s the whole business of content migration and creation.
No matter the reasons, the “redesign” will often involve redevelopment or a rebuild. That’s a tall order, so take the time to plan it right.
Let’s suppose you’ve been getting complaints on your website from frustrated users. Or you’re getting it from front line staff and managers who are using the site and they’re hearing from confused customers, members, or donors. And, your people who are publishing web content are feeling the pain of using a clunky system.
You know it’s high time to upgrade or replace your content management system and, while you’re at it, redesign the site to make it work better for all concerned. But, it’s daunting! It’s more than just a redesign. You figure it will probably be expensive and it’s a monumental task. You have so many questions it’s hard to know where to start.Whether it’s been your baby over the years or you’ve inherited it, there is key information you should gather as you prepare to tackle the beast that it’s become: