This past spring Google decided to reward sites that were mobile friendly. With approximately 50% of internet searches being done from a mobile device it’s more important than ever to make sure your website is mobile responsive. It’s more important than ever to budget a redesign.
Let’s get started.
1. Identify where your domain name is registered and who actually owns your name – If your domain is registered under your previous designer’s name now is the time to get the information transferred to you. If you are dealing with an ethical design company they can help you get through this process. This can take a little bit of time if your previous designer is MIA. Should you not be able to get a hold of your designer all is not lost. Registrars have processes in place to help business owners recover their domains. For instance, GoDaddy has you fill out a Request for Change of Account form. Submit all the supporting documents that you can on why this domain is yours. This could take 5 to 10 business days to complete.
2. Determine where your current site is hosted – There are times when your domain registrar is different than your hosting company. Sometimes domains are purchases through companies that are the cheapest but hosting is done through another company because of better support or service. Sometimes your web designer might self-host their client sites.
3. Document account usernames and passwords – It’s always a good idea to document all of your account login names and passwords. You can pick up a cheap book at the dollar store to log them in. Or you can purchase nice books online that are like address books but set up for your login and password information. The simplest way is to create a word document and save it to your desktop so it’s always handy. Remember, if you have to create an account (even for one time) save the information somewhere.
4. How is your email managed? Will it need to change with this upgrade? – Are you still using Yahoo or Hotmail to run your business email? Don’t you think it’s time to stop and start using an email account with your domain? Take a look at it from the view of a customer. They may have to wonder about the professionalism of the company they are dealing with. Many hosting company offer free email accounts when you host your site with them. Using some of the free email services could land your email into your customer’s SPAM box. Is that where you want your message to be?
5. Do you already have a Gmail account and Google analytics set up for your existing site? – When I do a new website for a client I set up a Gmail account that is tied into their website for various plugins I use. This is also necessary for your site to have Google Analytics set up. If your designer didn’t do this, ask them to set up one. Remember, they need to have access to this account also for logging in to Google Analytics. Don’t make it your regular Gmail account.
6. Get a vector version of your logo – You don’t know how many times I’m given a JPG of a company’s logo. JPGs are good for a website graphic…if it is the correct size I need. I can usually make it smaller, but more times than not I need to increase the size (I’m usually given a small thumbnail sized image). When you have your logo designed your graphic designer should give you a file with the original drawing file (usually an Illustrator file; don’t be surprised is some won’t turn this file over if they retain the creative rights to it), an EPS file (Vector based so it can be scaled up and down), JPG (various sizes work best but many designers will send a large one that can be scaled down), GIF ( they are like JPGs but have a transparent background; so when you place the logo on a colored background you won’t get the white box behind the logo), TIFF (works in just about any program but is not a vector format), Full Color (CMYK and RGB), Black and Reversed, and Favicon (these are the little logos that appear in the corner of the address bar in your browser).
7. Collect photos and other graphics you want to include in the site – Supply your designer with all the photos you can dig up on your business and your products. The more the better. The designer will choose the best one that looks the best on the website. If there is particular images you want used please specify that. If you don’t have any photos your designer will work with you in using stock photography or can help you get custom photos made.
8. Build your wish list - Browse websites for inspiration and ideas on what is possible. Don't just look within your industry. The more information you give your designer the better website you will get.
A redesign process shouldn’t be difficult if you follow these steps. How often should you redesign? That is up to you and technology. If your business changes dramatically then redesign your website. If technology changes, like what Google did, absolutely. But if you keep your site updated on an ongoing basis a major redesign won’t be necessary.
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