September 20, 2021
Over the years, we’ve partnered with several companies to help them redesign their websites and we’ve learned a few things about how to develop a site to achieve a client’s goals. The thing about a website is that it is like the digital storefront for your company. Which means there are lots of decision makers that need to be involved, lots of moving pieces and parts and lots of opportunity for error.
So, in hopes of helping anyone that reads this, here are three mistakes to avoid:
1. Setting and Forgetting About the Site Architecture: At the beginning of the project, the site architecture is front and center. It’s the foundation of the site and there are a lot of eyeballs on it when developing it. And then you start to move into other, more creative aspects of the site (i.e., wireframes, design, content, etc.).
However, when new pages need to be added, or pages move to different sections of the site, sometimes the site architecture gets left in the dust and is no longer updated.
This can cause issues when sharing designs with developers, as they won’t know where various content and pages should go. Plus, down the line, when someone says they want to add more pages to the site, it’s nice to have a solid foundation document to think about how it impacts everything else.
Would you add an addition to your house without seeing how it would impact your house’s foundation? NO. So don’t do it with your website either.
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2. Using 100% Stock Imagery: Our designers are good, but if you want to show that you’re an inclusive, diverse organization in the heart of downtown Cleveland with a modern office space, they’re not that
When thinking about imagery for the site, we often will hear clients say, “We have enough photography to make it work.” Or “We can use stock.” But then when they see the designs with some generic photos, they realize how impersonal their site looks.
If you’re undergoing a website rehaul, don’t forget about the need for a photoshoot. This is great to take place after wireframes are drafted, as you’ll learn the type of orientation the header images will be, approximate number of photos needed, etc. And it’s always a great idea to have consistent headshots of team members if possible.
3. Thinking Your Site Will Launch on Time: As a project manager that loves timelines and sticking to them, it pains me to say this, but with websites, I have had to really take a deep breath and accept the fact that with websites, things inevitably change.
The locations page is no longer needed. There are more integrations needed than anticipated. Google changed one of its algorithms. And on and on it goes.
Sometimes these changes mean we need to take a step back and see what that means for the full site. If we change a user experience (UX) on one page, what does that do to the other pages? If we switch from an automatic feed to a picker in the backend, how does that impact the other modules?
While it may take a little longer to sort out these details (and will push back your launch date), it’s crucial to figure these things out before the site launches so there’s a consistent and clean experience across the site.
Are you about to embark on a website redesign? I’d love the opportunity to chat with you about your goals and some common mistakes we’ve seen over the years.