Last month we launched a brand New.Website.
A year in the making.
A long slog.
Revision after revision.
So? Is redesigning your website a nightmare?
Spoiler alert: It is...but hopefully the tips below help it to be less of a nightmare!
I (Michael) would like to think that we have been around long enough (17 years) to know how this works. It wasn’t something we necessarily worried about- I think the only reason you would be worried about this process is by trying to second guess what people will think. That’s a path you really don’t want to travel down.
But re-designing your website can be a daunting task in terms of the amount of work that it entails. For us, the site redesign is a huge component but it also meant designing all other studio collateral to match the website, such as presentation templates, stationery (printed & digital), newsletter, contracts, email footers etc.
Could we have done it any better? Probably. Could we have managed the process better? Probably. But paying work trumps non paying work. And as anything, designing for yourself is incredibly difficult.
This is our sixth studio site in 17 years. The first two were shocking, completely unfriendly and completely up their own arse (see above). The third and fourth I quite liked, and the fifth is the one before you see now. which I loved when it launched, then fell out of love with it after about 3 years… Then I started to get pissed off with it over the following year… And I’ve hated it for the past few months. It didn’t show prospective clients where we are now. We are more mature, grown up even, and we need a site that reflects that and shows our work to the best of its ability.
You can read more about our New.Website over on Creative Review here.
But in the meantime, I thought I would summarise a few key points that we learnt along the way:
1. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to do. Don’t underestimate how long it will take to upload all the content, and craft copy too. Plan accordingly.
2. It’s a big undertaking of time and effort. Think of it as an investment, not an outlay.
3. Treat it like a client project. Set deadlines, try and stick to them.
4. Try and get feedback and input from non-designers too. Listen to feedback. Act on it, but only if you believe in the feedback.
5. Find a good developer- it’s very important. We have had two developers go AWOL and it is incredibly disruptive. Involve the developer early in the design process.
6. Think about your target audience. Who do you want to attract? Design accordingly.
7. Make the site easy to navigate, and easy to get key information from. Look at the site with a subjective eye. It’s easy to forget that when you know the site inside out.
8. Involve everyone in the studio if you can. I guarantee someone will have thought of something you haven’t.
9. Try to keep it simple. If you add a feature, really think is it adding to the experience? If it isn’t, remove it.
10. A new website is a great way to reinvent yourself. Don’t keep putting it off!