Redesigning Your Website – Preparing

March 25, 2014 Tanya Lord

Updating your website is a process - one that can feel overwhelming, even if you've been through it before. To help you navigate the journey, we've partnered with a few marketing experts to bring you a candid collection of advice and best practices, which we’ll be delivering through our Redesigning Your Website series.

Last week, we shared some ways to optimize your content so that entering it isn't too much of a pain for you – and finding it isn't too difficult for your users. This week, we move into the Preparing Phase.

Preparing

PHASE 9 – PREPARING
The work isn't quite finished once your site design and content are set. Getting ready for and launching your website is the most exciting, but also nerve-racking, part of the entire web journey!

Some advice to help you prepare:

STAFF UP.
One North Account Director Alyson Fieldman suggests increasing staff at the end of the project—during testing and prior to launch.

“When we go live, we need as many hands on deck as possible,” she says. “Hire temps, recent college grads or interns to help the data entry go smoothly.”

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
When getting ready for launch, always be prepared for the unexpected to pop up. There’s always a chance an unforeseen circumstance will alter your redesign plans.

Although Edwards Wildman had been planning its site redesign for several years, its merger with another firm in October 2012 affected its in-process site redesign.

“When you throw a merger into the mix, everything has to get shuffled,” says Jennifer O’Leary Cathell, eMarketing, Design and Brand Manager at Edwards Wildman.

The firm made some cosmetic updates when the merger occurred, but had to temporarily put the redesign on the back burner—which may also be a good option for firms experiencing major staffing or management changes.

“We had to establish who we were before we moved forward with the site,” O’Leary Cathell says.

BE PROACTIVE ABOUT IMPENDING LEGISLATION.
“One of the biggest challenges we had when building the site was to make sure we considered all accessibility requirements, analytics, SEO, cookie laws and budget,” O’Leary Cathell says.

The firm’s approval committee included Internet-savvy attorneys who work on privacy, intellectual property, business law and regulation matters. But even with the most experienced approval group, new rules can throw a wrench into project plans.

Partway through Business law and litigation firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s redesign, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) released a new cookies directive, requiring website owners to seek users’ consent before they could tag the visitor.

Although the compliance deadline hadn’t arrived yet, the firm decided to turn off any parts of the site that used cookies before its launch.

“We had to circle back,” says Fasken Martineau’s Digital Strategy Manager Desiree Turko. “It was a conservative reaction, but we opted to remove some of the planned functionality to ensure we weren’t violating the directive.”

Once your site has been created, tested and approved, it’s ready to go live! Next week, our experts will guide you through a few last tasks to help you wrap up the launch. In the meantime, you can find more tips for preparing, launching and maintaining your site in our Definitive & Candid Guide to Successful Websites.

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Tanya Lord Head of Marketing Communications

As Head of Marketing Communications for One North, Tanya connects professional services organizations with the most innovative digital strategies, industry trends and thought leaders.  Responsible for leading One North’s marketing communications, she ensures the successful delivery of One North’s message by reinforcing the agency’s deep industry knowledge and vertical expertise. She can also keep you current on the latest celebrity gossip.

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