Successful Website (Re)design

by Brandie Knox on January 20, 2012

Before designing, or redesigning, your firm’s website, it’s best to have a process in place that defines your business goals and objectives. Whatever the size of your firm, your team, or your budget, the following considerations should be addressed in advance to avoid costly problems later.

Consider your audience
A successful user experience is the key reason prospects and clients visit and return to your site. Your firm’s brand value is affected by that user experience, so don’t be afraid to ask your clients for their input.  Through successful client interaction, you are building credibility and online relevance. One bad experience and you could lose those users forever.

Establish measurable goals
Establish short-term and long-term goals for your firm’s initial launch and future refreshes. It may be necessary to focus on specific areas of the site as part of a phased approach. Invest in tracking and analytics, and have someone on point to measure qualitative details and suggest refinements as necessary.

Invest in search engine optimization
Your SEO strategy should be developed and incorporated early in the process (prior to the sitemap, content development and design). Your SEO strategist, copywriters and designers should be part of a collaborative team involved in all stages of the planning and creative process.

Establish a process for content creation and delivery
Content will go through many rounds of edits and in many cases will be late! Determine a process for copy development and set reasonable goals and schedules to ensure relevant, new content for your audience.

Consider current and future design needs
After sitemap and wireframe approval, your firm should be provided with at least three design concepts that work within its digital strategy and brand guidelines. Determine graphic standards for the site and who will be on point for designing future graphic elements, performing image searches and designing necessary new pages as needs arise.

Develop a realistic timeline
Stay on target. Establish six-month, 12-month and 18-month goals and have a team in place that is focused on meeting these goals. Rush changes and emergencies will inevitably happen, but a clear schedule and measurable goals will ensure your team doesn’t lose sight of the big picture.

Brandie Knox is Creative Director & Principal at knox design strategy. As a strategic design studio, knox design strategy focuses on professional services firms, with expertise in the legal industry. She can be reached at brandie@knoxdesignstrategy.com.

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