If you are an owner of an established business, facing the task of hiring someone to redesign your website can be quite stressful. And if you are not very web savvy or technical, that stress can be compounded by all the uncertainty in your decision making. What makes one web designer a better choice than another? Is a more expensive web designer better than a cheap one?
To answer these questions and hire the right person to redesign your website will require you to have a little bit of working knowledge about websites. But don’t worry, none of this is too technical and you can use this blog post as a guide to avoid costly mistakes when interviewing the person or company you are thinking about hiring to redesign your business website.
What’s at Stake if You Hire the Wrong Web Designer?
This all comes down to how much your business relies on the website for getting new business or conducting business transactions. Would your business be severely affected if your website was down? If the answer is yes, read on! If the answer is no, it may be that you are missing out on a lot of business (and profit) that a proper website redesign might bring you.
No matter what the case, what follows are critical mistakes to avoid when you are hiring someone to redesign your business website. This is by no means meant to be a guide for a web designer, but rather the nontechnical business owner that cannot afford making a costly hiring error.
A Completely New Website is Built When You Really Only Needed a New Theme
Probably the costliest mistake a business owner can make is paying a web designer to build an entirely new website when it could be that the current website is just in need of a theme update. This is particularly true with WordPress websites which are considered the gold standard for small business website platforms. WordPress and similar content management systems are easy to redesign by adding a fresh theme and tweaking design elements, not only saving you money, but also avoiding potential disaster if the web designer you hire rebuilds the site from scratch on a platform more familiar to them without having the technical chops to avoid major SEO issues (we’ll explain a bit more about this below).
The bottom line: You should only hire a web designer for a website redesign if they are NOT building a new website but rather adding a new theme. If a website is going to be rebuilt on a different platform, you should be hiring a Web Developer who has the technical skills to avoid some very costly mistakes! We recommend reading our blog post about web designers vs web developers if you want to learn more.
One last word of advice here: if you have a WordPress site, we recommend sticking with it!
Not Getting a Thorough Analysis of the Current Website Before the Redesign Begins
This is probably the most critical step in improving any existing website and you want to make sure the web designer or developer you hire can share their analysis with you before they change anything. What they should be looking for (and recording) are mainly things having to do with SEO (search engine optimization), like page traffic stats, webform submission stats, and keyword density of important web pages – not only for your site, but for your main competitors as well. Ideally they will also crawl the site to look for existing errors and get information about every URL on the site.
Not Having a Backup of Your Old Website
This can be devastating if there is a problem or you are not happy with the final design. You may already have a backup strategy in place, but it is the new web designer’s job to make sure this is the case and to make sure you can access that backup before they begin. Always, always, always make sure your website is backed up before making major changes like a redesign!
Not Discussing Other Aspects of Your Website That Could Be Improved Upon
Your web designer or developer should discuss with you (or at least provide you with a list) of other things that are missing or could be improved upon from the current website. All too often we hear of web designers not discussing any actual improvements with the business owner or manager, and simply creating a fresh version of a website that is in desperate need of underlying improvements.
It should also be noted that in many cases these days, there are compliance issues that may need to be addressed for the website depending on what type of business it is and who and where the target audience is.
One last Word About SEO and Website Redesigns
Yes, there’s that “SEO” word again. But please understand, if your business relies on your website for day-to-day business in any capacity, mistakes here can be financially devastating!
Here is a common scenario we’ve encountered:
Business Owner John has to decide between Web Designer Joe or Web Developer Jane, who costs considerably more. John hires Web Designer Joe happy to save some money and Joe gets to work on a brand new website. The new site is completed in a few weeks and looks great! Business Owner John pats himself on the back for saving the company so much money.
Months later, business severely drops off and no one can figure out why. The reason? SEO!!!
The new website had different URLs (basically web addresses) for all the new web pages. So when Google tried to send potential customers to the established URLs of the old website, the page came up missing (the dreaded “404” in web parlance). Eventually Google stopped sending traffic to those old URLs and docked the new website for things not being done properly. Basically, the new website disappeared from search with the exception of a few search terms related to the business name – a devastating loss for any modern business.
Fixing this mistake can cost a lot, but not nearly as much as the business that was lost. Had Business Owner John hired Web Developer Jane, he may have had to spend a bit more, but in the end, he would have saved that money many times over in avoiding lost revenue.
Hiring the right person for your business website redesign is critical! If you are in the process of choosing someone to redesign your business website, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of web developers, digital marketing professionals, and SEO experts can ensure that your website redesign is done right.