Tools to Pull off a Successful Website Redesign on a Frozen Budget
When the website budget stops, it doesn’t mean your website stops too! With the current environment, we’re seeing companies really own their online presence, despite tightened budgets! So how do they keep pressing forward with their digital ecosystems? With tools, of course!
1. Tools that leverage what you have.
Even if you’re tied up from making huge advances in your technology, there are still ways to make sure your website tech doesn’t regress!
- First and foremost, it’s key to make sure your website itself is being updated and kept secure. If your website is using a CMS, make sure to stay tuned for new updates and announcements!
- Stay updated! you can stay tuned for WordPress updates and announcements here and for Drupal updates and security announcements here.
- Check that your website is being found & accessed! Run your website through an accessibility checker or an SEO tool to see if you’re missing headers or tags or alt-text, and more – all things that affect how your website ranks when people google your company. Tools our team likes to use include Screaming frog (SEO) or WAVE checker (accessibility).
- Maybe you’re not able to really make website changes in the deep techie back-end of your website, but you can still leverage your website from a content standpoint!
- Know what content you have! Do a web page inventory to see how much content you have and where it all lives. We recommend using Blaze or Deepcrawl for a quick content audit.
- Curate content! Create quality content that will engage audiences and (hopefully) improve your SEO ranking once you get your site going. Services we recommend for finding authors & designers to create content and assets include 99 designs & Compose.ly.
2. Tools that let you strategize for what’s next.
Keeping the website up and running – and getting content to a manageable state – is fantastic, but you can take things one more step forward: you can strategize for the future.
Strategizing for a next site iteration takes what you know from maintaining your website and content and elevating it to the next level. It lays the groundwork for when you finally get into major website overhauls.
Lay the Groundwork
- You wouldn’t tackle a construction project without taking a lay of the land and a website is no difference; you need to take the time to understand the structure of your website, which will also serve as a reference document for everything that needs to be in your website post-redesign.
- Map out content inventory & navigation! Create a framework for what your website’s structure will entail. This keeps your website & navigation from becoming too busy, or from missing key parts. To help with site mapping, we like to use a tool such as XML site editor.
- Start wireframing. Lay out what your next website iteration is going to look like, from page layout to proposed user journeys. Wireframing services we recommend include MURAL and Zeplin.
Bring in Stakeholders:
- You can build what you think is a wonderful website, but if you don’t get the buy in from stakeholders, you run the risk of the Swoop and Poop Phenomena (where management gets involved at the last minute, drops negative feedback then whisks away).
- Get everyone in the room. If you get everyone in the room, people don’t feel excluded. This helps keep people accountable and ensures that everyone knows what’s going on. At this point, you’re probably late to the game if your company isn’t using some type of virtual meeting platform, but the two remote meeting platforms our team uses are Zoom and Google Hangouts.
- Hold whiteboarding sessions. Getting everyone in the room is step one, but you also need to capture everyone’s ideas. Hold whiteboard sessions to get everyone’s visual concepts and to learn about what is important to them in the new website. Some of our top whiteboarding softwares include MIRO and Explain Everything.
3. Tools that let you pull from the reserves.
There’s not always a way to predict when things will slow down, but some folks have a bit of a fail safe built into their plans.
It can pay off to be proactive and set yourself for success before budgets freeze. Working with clients with set budgets, our team is familiar with this. One way we help clients manage websites proactively is through a Maintenance Success Plan, which can be used like a retainer.
Our Maintenance Success Plan allows clients to purchase a block of hours at the start of their fiscal year. Plan hours are used at a monthly increment to take care of the maintenance and security issues your site has, and any remaining hours can be rolled forward into the next month, or used to work on mini projects.
While a full website redesign might not be in scope, a Success Plan can be used to maintain your site while simultaneously incrementally preparing your website for a redesign when the budget comes in.