Take a Longer View of Website Redesign
Budget Constraints Don't Have to Derail Website Work
Organizations often cope with an uncertain financial future by pulling back, even eliminating, projects considered non-essential to the core mission. Planned improvements to your website don't have to fall victim to this fate.
In a time when more people are relying on the Internet for information and services, it's important for associations to ensure their websites present an engaging and useful experience for their members. In the current tumultuous business climate, however, some organizations might be reconsidering making improvements to their sites, opting instead to wait for a return to more stable financial conditions.
A website redesign does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. In fact, breaking the project into different phases can help you muster the resources needed over an extended period of time and allow you to accomplish all of your objectives.
Create a Plan to Guide Work
The first step in any website redesign is to create a plan for accomplishing all your goals and objectives. This plan will be shaped by a number of considerations, including the scope of the work and the resources available for the project. In a sense, website redesigns are akin to home remodeling, and while there is an appeal to having everything done at once, it's likely you'll have to approach the project in phases.
The scope of the work will depend on changes you want to make to your website. Do you just want a fresh, more contemporary look? This can be accomplished relatively quickly and inexpensively, similar to repainting a room and buying new furniture. However, if the work involves structural changes — such as adding functionality or installing a new content management system — this will require more time and resources and might dictate a phased approach.
The plan will also help you manage resources, in terms of both money and expertise. For example, if you're facing budget constraints, you could move forward with the first phase of the work and push other phases into the next budget cycle. In addition, you will need to determine whether you have the needed expertise — for example, updating templates or writing code — in house. And even if you do have the internal expertise, you'll want to consider whether your staff can handle the added burden of a website redesign, especially if their bandwidth is already stretched.
Hiring a third-party vendor could alleviate both concerns by adding expertise without placing additional burden on your staff. A vendor, however, should be transparent and upfront about anticipated costs to ensure you remain within your budget parameters.
A Framework for Building
Your redesign plan will come in handy when you're ready to start the actual redesign work. It will give your build team — whether it's internal, a vendor, or a combination of the two — a blueprint for how to proceed. The team will want to make sure that any work they do in the initial phases feed seamlessly into any planned changes in the future.
For example, if you're planning to implement a new content management system you'll want to ensure you choose one that not only meets your requirements today, but also can be scaled to handle future needs. The Sitefinity CMS, for example, offers different packages and price points that reflect the number of concurrent users and levels of functionality.
A Guide to Good Decision-Making
There are a number of considerations and decisions involved in a website redesign — Who should be involved in the website redesign project? Are we meeting all the needs of our members in an engaging, efficient way? What additional capabilities do we anticipate needing in the future?
At first glance, a website redesign might appear to be a daunting task that isn't feasible in the current business climate. Using a phased approach that follows a carefully crafted plan, however, can help you accomplish your objectives while remaining within any budgetary constraints.
President Vanguard Technology