8 Lessons Learned from a Complete Website Overhaul
A strong online presence is key to success in today's digital era. Discover insights from our recent website revamp to help guide you on your own journey towards digital transformation.
By Michelle Voznyuk, Marketing Specialist at Heinz Marketing
In today’s fast-changing digital landscape, a strong online presence has become more important than ever. With the rise of AI and intensified competition across industries, your website serves as the first impression of your brand and a launchpad for success. Strengthening your digital presence not only increases credibility and effectiveness, but also mitigates the risk of falling behind.
Recently, we embarked on our own journey of revamping our website. While it’s an ongoing process and we’re not done learning, we’ve acquired some key insights we thought might be valuable to share.
Lessons Learned from Launching Our New Site
1. Know Your Objectives
Before getting started, it’s important to level set. You should understand both the reason you’re looking to refresh your website, as well as what you hope to get out of it.
For us, some of the reasons we decided to update our website were:
• The overall look and feel were outdated
• We saw low website traffic and engagement
• We had little focus on SEO and weren’t getting the “right” traffic
• Our site wasn’t getting everything across that we wanted
• Old content was bogging down the site
What we hoped to get out of the revamp was:
• Increased traffic and conversion
• Improved user experience and functionality
• Streamlined lead generation
• Timely info and increased engagement opportunities
• Easier access to content
• Better mobile optimization
• Improved website accessibility
With this in mind, we had a clear roadmap outlining our approach, along with a checklist to reference later for assessing the success of the project.
2. Choose the Right Partner
When setting out on your transformation journey, it’s extremely important to select the right partner. While it might be tempting to choose the cheapest option, you should look at quality over cost. Prioritize experience and expertise, referencing social proof when you can. Ask trusted sources for referrals and view testimonials. Selecting a partner that aligns with your vision and needs will set you on a path towards smooth sailing.
3. Establish Strong Collaboration
Setting clear communication channels from the start is critical to the success of your project. You should understand all roles and responsibilities, and provide regular updates and progress reports for all parties involved. Resolving any issues through open dialogue is also incredibly helpful. For this, we recommend setting up a weekly meeting cadence for key members of the project and looping in others when necessary. While email is great for quick questions, there’s an aspect of meeting in person or virtually that’s hard to replace.
4. Create a Timeline for Success
Website overhauls include many moving parts. Having a well-defined timeline from start to finish helps eliminate hiccups and keep everything on track. Establish milestones for tracking progress, including any reviews and other stakeholders that need to be involved at each stage. These projects are no easy feat, meaning they can take months to complete. Creating a detailed timeline will help you stick to your deadlines and prevent you from prolonging the process.
5. Avoid Shortcuts
It might go without saying but you should never take shortcuts when developing a new site. Rushing through steps only increases your chances of facing headaches later. It’s important to remember though that there’s a difference between things you can do later and shortcuts. Examples of things you can do later include making minor design tweaks, incorporating additional features, adding lesser prioritized content, and improving personalization. Things you should not rush through include mobile responsiveness, accessibility, security, testing, and analytics setup.
6. Get Crafty
While it might not always be possible, sometimes you can get a little crafty with your new site, leveraging pre-existing resources to help increase cost-efficiency. An example of how we did this with our own project was that we were able to dig into our internal archives to discover stock images that would work for the new site. This helped us significantly cut down on how many new ones we needed to purchase. When budgets are stretched, this can make a big difference. Rather than simply going along with the plan, try to make the most out of the tools and resources you already have.
7. Build in Time for Final Reviews
In the spirit of not taking shortcuts, it’s essential to build in a substantial amount of time for final reviews. Before you go live, you’ll want to go through comprehensive testing, fine-tuning, and polishing every detail of the site. Check for the basics (grammar and spelling), while also referring to your strategy to ensure the flow and experience you’re creating meets those needs. This process can take a few days, so be prepared and set aside time on your calendar. This is crucial, especially if you plan to promote your new site. Know that you’ll likely have more eyes on it than usual in the beginning, so it’s important to have it done right.
8. Learn and Optimize
The launch of your website is not a finish line. In fact, it’s more of a starting line. While there’s a lot of work that goes into a website overhaul, there’s a lot more effort required once it’s launched. Regular updates, maintenance, and adaption are necessary to the sustained success of your site. Set up a cadence for reporting and learn from your results. Take those back to your team to optimize the site for better SEO performance and enhanced user experience.
Wrapping It Up
We hope you found these insights helpful as you consider going through a digital transformation of your own. Setting clear goals, assembling the right team, and keeping communication lines open while planning things out is key. Just remember, after launch, it’s all about learning and refining to keep your online presence at its best—so don’t forget to stay curious and adapt along the way.