I was reading an article in the WebsiteServices.com publication about planning for a redesign. There is a lot of great information written about what to take into consideration when starting such a venture. Hightlights from the article include:
>> Make a Checklist. Whether you are managing your redesign in-house or working with a company who specializes in industrial web design be sure to understand clearly what your goals are and what you need to do to achieve those goals.
>> Compile Information. Review your site for outdated information and make modfications promptly. Have all your resources together before the project begins, and that will eliminate a painful process.
>> Adding a shopping cart? Ecommerce is vital for business online (or for industrial companies RFQ carts) but there are so many options – know what features you are looking for before purchasing a solution. Payment system, product photos, search engine friendly structure are all important elements.
>> Update Problems. If you’re working with a company who have been doing redesigns for a long time, this shouldn’t be an issue. But when interviewing with company ask them if they will be doing any of the following:
- Renaming pages – if you have good SEO results – do not rename pages!
- Redesign Sites in Flash – For some companies who have a strong brand awareness, you can create a site completely in Flash as you are not depending on the search engines to drive traffic. But for the vast majority of us out there, we need to use Flash in moderation and make sure the search engines can still gain access to crucial information.
- Session Strings. How do you know if there are sessions strings on your site? If there are urls like: www.example.com/cart/widgets.php?id=fa9c455lk67%8900_%grU9 you have a session string. Try to avoid those.
Overall the article was a great resource. However, there were a view points that are important to include:
- Search engine optimization. When going through the work of a redesign, make sure the company or person you are using is optimizing the site. This is especially important for industrial companies. The competition is fierce and you need to utilize everything you can!
- Keyword Research. When redesigning your site, make sure you understand what key phrases people are typing into the search engines. You can use this for your title tags, and as part of your internal linking structure. (for more information in linking, view the post: Linking Methods.
- Ongoing maintenance. Just because you have a fancy new site doesn’t mean that everyone will know about it. Try to find an ongoing maintenance plan that will help you promote your search and get you great results in the search engines. After all, your website is your best sales tool.