From the Trenches

Redesigning Your Website? Ask the Right Questions and Get the Right People On Board

Will Davis | September 21, 2009

Seth Godin blogged Friday on Things to Ask Before You Redo Your Website, and like most of his posts it was enlightening and made you think.  Seth provides just under 25 bullet points on the difficult and most important questions you have to ask before you redo your website.  While it’s a great post, I do have a small difference of opinion on one part.

The questions are right on track, with the focus on the strategy of the website vs. the technology.  Too many folks go wrong right out of the gates by making their first website conversation about the technology requirements or having the website look JUST LIKE a website they like, vs. the strategy and business objectives.  Once those are in place, the other items can fall out of that next.

So I think the approach and the questions are right on, and taking the time to do this is the right first step.  However, there is one place where I differ slightly with Seth.  Many companies will be able to ask and answer these questions themselves.  In my experience though, many more need additional outside assistance to help them step through this process.  In many organizations there is still a deer in the headlights look as we start talking about the web.  In the best ones they realize this and bring the right folks onto their team to help to navigate this.  A client recently described themselves to me as “They don’t know what they don’t know” when it comes to the web, and I think that is often an accurate assessment.  While these questions should serve as the starting point for redoing your website, I think it’s just as critical to make sure you can provide the right answers – or get somebody on the team that can help you get there.

If you tried to plan a new home from the ground up without an architect, I’m sure there are things you would miss.  Making sure you have the right plan in place out of the gates is the only real way to succeed in your website project.  Understanding what is important and what doesn’t need to be a focus right up front is critical.

After all, as Seth closes, everything is not an option.

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