There are various reasons to revise a website: from a modernization of the user experience over a more intuitive shop design, to improving the findability in search engines or to adapt to new corporate design guidelines, the wide range. To make your own website on the net and the most valuable revenue generator for many companies, a multi-step process is important.
In the following 6 sections, we introduce you to the key points that decide on the sustainable success of your website relaunch.
- Often neglected: the planning of the relaunch
The planning phase is the foundation of the redesign of your website. Its purpose is to record internally all claims to the revised internet presence and to define the responsibilities within the framework of the project. The aim is to produce a meaningful as-is analysis as well as an SEO analysis, based on which a briefing or concept for the optimization of the website can be created. It also sets a realistic time and budget for implementation. One of the first measures is the compilation of the team for the relaunch project. Responsibilities are then distributed within this team: Project management is just as much a part of the areas of competence as content responsibility and controlling.
Tip: As a full-service agency, we at Stringhead Technologies not only carry out complete website relaunches, but also develop fine concepts. These can later be used as specifications, independently of the acting agency.
Then it’s about the content and SEO analysis. It will determine what the current website is doing and where any deficits are. Already in this phase, many companies get external support. The advantage: an independent analyst can bring due to traffic values as well as through interviews and discussions with relevant departments and employees, the advantages and disadvantages of a corporate website in a much more objective to the point than internal bodies. Based on this analysis, a meaningful briefing or strategic concept for the redesign of the company website will be created. From this it can be deduced, with which effort the transformation will be connected – which in turn leads to a budget setting and a time planning including realistic deadlines for the project.
- Crucial: The selection of the right service provider
With a clear plan in mind, which project planning prescribes, the second step is to search for suitable providers to implement the relaunch. For contracting authorities, the selection of a web agency in most cases runs through a fixed call for tenders, which requires an enormous lead time: the call for tenders must be prepared and published with sufficient reaction time for interested service providers. Then it goes into the selection process, which is often associated with several rounds of talks and selection.
In contrast, companies from the private sector often form their opinions on potential Internet agencies in other ways: Through referral marketing or web search, you generate a selection of potential service providers, which are then put through their paces and discussions. To find the right service providers, a search on Google for the exact keywords that are important to the company at its relaunch is recommended. The agencies, which then appear at the top of the search results, make at least one crucial point correct, which is also indispensable for the modernization of the company’s Internet presence: You will be found to the relevant keywords and thus have a high level of SEO competence.
Beware: web design agencies, which appear on Google with the first places, are far from being all-rounders. You’ve understood your SEO craft – but that’s not all when it comes to a complex website relaunch. The selection of the service provider is the deciding factor for the success or failure of your relaunch.
In addition to the SEO competence and the offer price, two things play a decisive role in choosing providers: experience and the famous chemistry between the customer and the web agency. The former can be identified, for example, by references. But at least as important as the professional suitability of the provider is the communication: The people in charge on the company side should maintain the agency employees as open, transparent discussion climate.
Tip: Matching web design providers can be found through tenders or your own research. Thoroughly check the references of the future provider. In addition, ask for direct contact with the reference projects to ask how the collaboration went.
If the future provider can show few or no references in your industry, this is not an exclusion criterion. Good creative agencies are fast becoming involved in new industries.
- Let’s start: the implementation of the relaunch project
As part of the redesign of a website or an online shop, the client’s focus is on controlling and project management: It is important to guide the agency without cutting its creative freedom – and to develop coordination processes that favor short paths. Because who must make every decision in the context of the website relaunch all hierarchies in-house, creates sprawling process chains that go beyond the time budget of the project. The project planning checklist should specify when important milestones must be reached and who is responsible for which decisions.
One of these milestones is, for example, the choice of the content management system (CMS) on which the website is based. Before it comes to design finding and programming, this important decision must have been made. In addition to individually programmed CMS for a company, open source solutions such as Typo3 or WordPress are increasingly being used on modern Internet presences. They have great advantages, especially in responsive design, which no modern internet presence should do without. Here, the web agency should be brought as a subject matter expert in the boat. She can present several CMS options with their individual advantages and disadvantages in relation to the concept of the website.
Tip: Ask yourself the following questions when choosing the CMS:
Is an open source system the right solution or does the CMS bring too many features from home, creating unnecessary baggage and security holes?
Who will administrate the website in the future – experienced users or newcomers?
How flexible do you want to be with the page structure of your new website?
How many languages will be used in the frontend?
Should third-party data be implemented?
In the hands of the web agency companies should lay in the redesign of their web presence and the coordination and controlling of third party providers. From copywriters to photographers to software houses, the range of subcontractors that need to be managed here ranges. However, it is important for the company as client to keep an eye on the big picture always – in other words, the budget planning and the project deadlines. Regular project meetings help with this.
Summary: Milestones and clear responsibilities are very important in implementing the redesign of a corporate or shop page. Here, the clients should use the competencies and networks of their provider.
- Always underestimated: The content for the website
With a new CMS and a modern web design, however, only the basis is laid: One of the often-underestimated points of a web project is the content of the new website. Because even if there are already numerous contents on the old website, they should all undergo a thorough overhaul during the redesign. Therefore, an own content concept for the new internet appearance is indispensable. This concept not only determines the structure in which all content is integrated. It also indicates exactly which topics are presented with which media form – and who is responsible for the realization. Because a multimedia approach that brings not only text but also image and video content to the website is very important,
Tip: The revision of existing content and the creation of new content is the most underrated factor in the website relaunch. Immediately after the agency commission, start to work on content, revise texts and create content structures. This includes research in your own image archive.
Therefore, the content of the relaunch should be made up of two levels: On the one hand, all existing content is critically scrutinized and updated – and on the other, new content is created. In addition to texts, content editing also includes a picture concept. In many cases this will require a photo shoot or the purchase of images from external sources. All these services can also be handled by the agency as a full-service provider – with the appropriate briefing.
Summary: Creating a new content is a multimedia approach that makes the site exciting with a combination of text, image and video.
- SEO: Optimization questions that are necessary
A very important role in every relaunch project is the search engine optimization. Therefore, it is advisable to make your own SEO concept based on a complex keyword analysis. The necessary measures in the context of the relaunch include technical components such as:
the use of alt tags,
the SEO-oriented conversion of URLs,
along with redirecting old URLs to the new website
and setting up a robots.txt with shares for google.
In addition, it is advisable to create a structure of landing pages that enable interested readers via Google and Co. to cross-poll via keywords. Furthermore, landing pages form the perfect basis for later SEM measures, ie Google AdWords campaigns.
If all these requirements are fulfilled, it can go to the SEO revision of the content for the website. Ideally, the SEO aspect should already be considered when adapting existing ones, as well as when creating new texts for the website. This means that relevant keywords must be made available to the editors and service providers responsible for editing and authoring at the beginning of the project.
To be able to determine what effect the search engine optimization of the new Internet presence has, we recommend the use of tracking tools. For example, Google Analytics is especially popular. With an analysis before the revision and a review after the start of the new page can be determined whether the SEO efforts pay off.
- Before that is: why is a relaunch never finished?
As the Internet is constantly changing and your own website keeps growing and changing, the work on it is never finished. The continuous development of the search engine algorithms alone creates new challenges for a web presence. Therefore, in addition to the relaunch concept, a strategy for the maintenance and expansion of the new website is important.
This includes on the one hand a robust content concept and on the other hand an allocation of responsibilities: Who is permanently responsible for maintaining the company or shop website and its content and which resources and budgets are available for this? As a permanent item in the marketing budget, this should be codified in the long term. Often, an internal project manager is sufficient to coordinate external providers. A checklist helps to overlook any relevant points in the ongoing development.
Especially about the ranking of Google and other search engines always to the relevant keywords in the first place to land, the regular analysis of the new website plays an important role. Comprehensive reports can be used to document criteria such as general and keyword-based traffic, visitor behavior on the company or shop page, length of stay and visitor sources.
Summary: To remain competitive in the future, a concept for continuous care and analysis is important. Emphasis should be placed on a sustainable content strategy and further developments of the search engines.