Let’s pretend you wake up one morning and decide you want a new website.
But here’s the question: Why?
Maybe you finally figured that the site you made in 1999 is a little out of date and you want to fix that. That MIGHT be a good reason. But if your website is doing what you want it to do, then maybe “change” isn’t enough of an answer. After all, the Marlboro Man hasn’t changed much in more than 50 years!
“Why” is a big question.
Is your website doing what you want it to do? Do you know what you want it to do? Do you know what you have to do to make that happen?
“If you’re stuck, throw some money at it.” That’s what my friend Leslie says.
But if you’re not independently wealthy, that might not be a good idea. And even if you are, it’s probably not a good idea.
You have to know what you want your site to do for you and for your visitors.
Your web developer should not be the one to decide that for you.
Say you get a contractor to build a new garage. You have to plan what you want to do with it. What should be different from the one you have? And even though the men doing the work swear it’s reason enough, bigger is not the only criteria.
We thought about the one we’re building and planned it.
We made sure there is capability for plenty of outlets, put windows in the wood shop and the lift bay, but no windows, besides those in the door, in the general garage area. We continue to think about it as the process proceeds.
Your website is no different. What do you want to have happen there?
- Should people buy something?
- Be educated about something?
- Sign up for a newsletter? (Do you know what the purpose of that is? That’s a conversation for another day.)
- Do you want them to return time after time?
- Or do you just want them to see that you really exist and do not have two heads?
You can surely find someone to redesign/rebuild your site, make it more up to date, add features you didn’t have before like maybe a way to signup for a newsletter, add google analytics and links to social media.
If you’re not clear about what you want, two things happen.
- You’re at the mercy of your web developer and what s/he thinks you should have.
- And then, when you don’t like what s/he does, you’re both in for endless tweaks and twists. That makes the process tiresome for both of you (at best) and costs you more money.
In the end this is all about communication—between you and your visitors and then between you and your designer.
Think about how you want to talk to your visitors. Conversationally? Technically? Formally? Any answer can be right but you must decide.
People need to know you before they like you. Then they have to like you before they trust you enough to give you money.
If you need help with the writing, ask for it. A developer should have at least one colleague who can help with that.
Why do you need a new website?
To realign your site with your message.
But before you start, you have to know what you want people to do when they visit. Only then can you help them get on the track that leads where you want them to go.