A Summary: The Definitive and Candid Guide to Successful Websites

August 26, 2014 Kayla Silverstein

We’ve covered a lot in our Website Redesign Series – everything from how to choose your agency to writing your content and what to do after everything is launched. Taking a look back over the series, we’d like to highlight a few of the most important must-knows included in this guide to building successful websites. Let’s begin!

Partnering – Finding the right interactive partner.

  • Look for partners that truly know interactive. Check out their portfolios and case studies. Make sure they really understand you, your company, your goals and how to build a compelling interactive experience.
  • Keep your expectations in perspective – even the most qualified web designer can’t produce a new site overnight. Detailed projects take time, and these specifications should be outlined at the get-go to avoid miscommunication.

Planning – Solid preparation can help you save time and money.

  • Put data in the driver’s seat. Review your analytics and site diagnostics to know what’s working and what isn’t. Fine tune your assets and make the most of what you’ve got.
  • Assemble the army. Having the right team for the redesign project as well as a designated point person is incredibly important:
Having someone with the authority to push the process along internally really helps.

Susan Bradley, Senior Account Manager at One North

Platforming – Choosing the right technology platform/CMS that works best for you.

  • There are several deciding factors that will influence which tech platform/CMS you choose: popularity, workflow, globalization, hosting options…etc. Fitting your needs to a platform that will work best is something your partner can help with as well.

Designing – Time to get fancy.

  • Kalev Peekna, One North Managing Director, Strategy, suggests first performing a brand review to discover exactly what you have to work with currently in your marketing efforts. From there, you can try to repurpose and revamp.
  • Know that it's a processIt takes time, review and a lot of debate to find an experience everyone is happy with.

Building – Several factors to keep in mind once the construction begins.

  • User feedback is incredibly useful when looking to redesign your website’s functionality:
The testing came in handy. Opinions aside, if subjects were unable to find a piece of significant content or successfully complete a task, we knew to try a different approach.

Desiree Turko, Digital Strategy Manager at Fasken Martineau LLP

Connecting  Understanding who’s reading what where.

  • Don't ignore your mobile audienceThere are several methods to tackle this, including developing a mobile site, responsive design and native apps. We highlight the pros and cons to each within the guide.
  • Say yes to socialSocial media is a given nowadays. Make sure you're getting involved in the right ways.

Writing – Content is king.

  • Write for clarity and SEO. To stay relevant, be sure to incorporate keywords that will affect your search engine ranking.
  • Write early and often. It takes a lot of time to develop new content, so be sure to allow yourself such.

Optimizing – Get the most out of your content.

  • Carve out time to categorize content. Getting the most out of your content definitely starts with organizing it.
  • Have an SEO strategyWebsites are a company's calling card, so making them easy to find is as important as making them look good.

Preparing – Countdown to launch.

  • Expect the unexpected. It’s a delicate and challenging process, but staying open-minded is key when facing the final days before launching your new site.

Launching – It’s go time.

  • Sell your new site to employees and make sure everyone is clear on how the new site works.
  • Anticipate future needs. It’s necessary to constantly evolve and improve.
Don't just build for what works today. It's critical to understand trends and forecasts for business websites - that's the only way to stay ahead of the curve.

Jennifer O’Leary Cathell, eMarketing, Design and Brand Manager at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP

Maintaining – Life after the honeymoon.

  • Budget for ongoing maintenance. Enhancements become necessary as technology evolves.
You don't launch a site and walk away from it. It should be a continuously improved, living, breathing thing.

Alyson Fieldman, Account Director at One North

Well, that’s our outline of tips and tricks. Be sure to check out the individual parts of this series or download the guide to ensure you have everything you need to lead a successful website redesign project.

Also, check out some fabulous examples of website redesigns and just generally spectacular digital design in our Best of July post.

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Kayla Silverstein

At the time of publishing, Kayla was the Marketing Coordinator at One North.

One North Interactive 
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