What to Research Before a Website Rebuild

What to research before a website rebuild

Rebuilding a website is exciting, but it can also be quite stressful. It’s important to start off the process on the right foot so you can avoid headaches down the road. Here are a few things you should research before a website rebuild.

Get the technical stuff out of the way

You’ll be surprised how many companies do not know their domain or web hosting username and password. Make sure you have these credentials handy as you’ll need them to update your website. If you have an IT department or have someone who does your IT work, he or she would have this information for you. IT can also fill you in on what your email hosting situation looks like. Is the email hosted on a local server or is it a third party service. Emails can get messy and sometimes lost so these are great conversations to have before hand.
Also, let your new web development company know if you’re looking for a new hosting company. Most likely they can supply that service for you as well. I would suggest to ask about the security of the hosting service as spam and malware is a nightmare these days.

Review Your Online Traffic

If you are keeping in track of your website traffic with Google Analytics, take a look at it. Try to find out your top visited website pages and look for pages where visitors spend the most time. This can give you an idea what your online visitors are interested in. You can dig in quite a bit to your online data, but at the very least try to get a high level understanding of what your online visitors are interested in on your website today.
If you are not keeping in track of your website traffic, start tracking immediately. It’s better to have some traffic data than no data.

Ask For Input

Depending on the size of your company, you may need to have a talk with your sales department and ask them what they would like to see as an improvement in the new website. Reach out to the administrative department and ask them a few questions as well. Most importantly, listen to your audience and find out if your clients are struggling with the current website in any place, shape or form.

Conduct a Website Survey

By putting together a survey with a series of questions can help you to decipher what’s needed. You can use a third party service like SurveyMonkey to put something together. Ask questions like, “Why do you visit our website?” and “How well does our website meet your needs?”.
Now if you have the resources, you can create an online form that could live on your current website. After completed and submitted, the form can then email you the client’s feedback. You can always ask your current web development company to help you put something like this together if things get a bit tricky.

Speak with the CEO

You’ll need to make sure that whoever is managing this project has a clear view of the company’s goals. Find out the goals first, then start thinking about how your new website can help make them happen. Make sure to have a discussion with your CEO and find out their point of view. Their opinion should have less to do with what the website looks like and the content that’s on there, and more to do with bigger picture company goals.

Find the Right Web Agency

To find the right web agency it is never easy. It helps if you have a budget in mind before you start looking. Putting out a generic RFP with no idea of budget can lead to trouble. We recently heard a story of a client getting quotes back that range from $5,000 to $75,000. Three months went by and they still had no idea who to work with.
There are many stories like this one but at the end of the day there needs to be the right fit. The right fit starts at the web company’s portfolio. There’s nothing written on taste but take a look at that portfolio and get a sense of the type of work the web firm has done. Take a look at the type of clients they’ve worked with. I would suggest to review their social media channels such as; Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This can give you a sense of what their culture is like. You never find a bad client testimonial on a web company’s website but if you find recommendations on LinkedIn, I would look at those as brownie points. Last, look for success stories the web firm as shared from their existing clients.
I hope these research tips help you rebuild your website the right way, with the right web company, the first time around.
What research tactics have you used to help rebuild your website? Share your insight at the comments!

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About Fred Schall

Fred Schall is the co-founder of Schall Creative. He has been designing and developing websites since 1997. You can find him on Twitter @mrfredschall.