As the Web world continues to evolve every day, Astek moves right along with it. While we offer a wealth of services related to newer Web strategies and tools such as social media, good old fashioned websites are still alive and strong.
Sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin if you’ve been given the task of redesigning your company’s website. Having been through this process numerous times, I’ve shared some of my own thoughts and good articles I’ve read recently that can help you through the earliest stages of redesigning your website.
Write your Website Redesign RFP (Request for Proposal)
Like most shopping expeditions, you will find the best product or service for you if you know what you’re looking for ahead of time. This starts by drafting a document of your requirements, which are unique to you. This will help you define your objectives and come to the table with a clear roadmap.
I’ve sometimes found myself in the position of helping prospective clients write their RFPs, whether or not we get the work in the end. I’ve been on both sides of this, and find that working through the RFP with someone who has been through it before can help you immensely.
The most important thing your RFP should do is clearly outline all the parameters of the project to structure it for your vendors so that you can align the format of the proposals you receive. The more specific your requirements, the easier it will be for you to compare quotes. Comparing apples to apples will help ensure you’re picking the right vendor for the right reasons.
RFPs take on numerous forms, but the basics should include project overview, goals, services requested, key roles, expected formats, special requirements, technical requirements, existing integration points, submission details and timelines. For extra credit, you can also create a site map, which is a bullet list or flow chart of the expected pages on your website.
- Creating a Web RFP from MarketingProfs. (Free account required for full article)
- Seven Tips for Improving Your Website from Entrepreneur.com’s Daily Dose.
Illustration by Matthias Pfluegner
Choose the Right Partner for You
Not all Web vendors are the same. They range from individuals to large agencies. With so many options, it’s less a distinction of good and bad and more a matter of alignment with your culture, goals, work style, capabilities, and budget. Some Web professionals focus purely on design. Others do design and development and perhaps hosting. As agencies grow larger they tend to offer more services such as strategic marketing and ongoing campaign development. Full-service boutique agencies like Astek are rarer.
Your RFP will help align the formats of the proposals you receive, which will make them easier to compare. If you didn’t get very far with your RFP, never fear. A good Web consulting firm will be able to guide you through the process. It just might take a little longer to get there. Most websites don’t tend to do a whole lot on their own, so you should consider how this will fold into your overall marketing strategy.
Like anything, you’re better off with a firm that is really good at a couple things than okay at a lot of things. Many Web firms have their own content management systems (CMS), like Webany, so you should specify if you want a proprietary or open source CMS. Mobile is becoming essential for websites, along with SEO and social media, where it can be difficult to determine the true level of experience being sold. Ideally you will find all these disciplines under one roof to reduce the amount of time you’ll spend managing multiple vendors.
Always be sure to ask for references with whom you can speak and examples of past work.
- Choosing the Right Web Developer by Scott Robinson
- Preparing Your Company for the Next Digital Evolution by Doris Nhan
If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Good luck!