Refreshing Your Website - A Must Have Playbook

A website is a living and breathing representation of your brand. It’s the front runner and communicator of your value to others. Your website is the #1 place people go to find out more information about your company, so it needs to be functional and be attractive to your target audience. This means creating a stunning home page along with useful landing pages, ensuring you have a consistent yet pioneering design, and weaving the right SEO keywords throughout so that you can be organically found. Join Hanan Rasool, CEO & Founder of Digital Rift Agency, and Emerald Lindskog, Senior Customer Success Manager at Expert Marketing Advisors, and Sarah Nichols, Engagement Manager at Expert Marketing Advisors, to talk about tactics, strategy, and planning your website refresh. They cover:
  • Recognizing global design indicators you should keep up with
  • Solving bounce rate, SEO issues, and low conversion rate problems
  • Deciding whether you need to refresh or redesign your website
  • Best practices & planning for executing website refreshes and redesigns

[00:00:00] Emerald Lindskog:
Hi everyone. Welcome to our webinar this morning. We’re gonna go ahead and give everyone a minute to get started.

Okay. All right. Let’s get started. Everyone. Good morning, good afternoon, wherever you are. Welcome to one our monthly webinar from Expert Marketing Advisors. We’ll be discussing everything you need to know about refreshing your website. My name is Emerald Lindskog , and I’m joined here today by Hanan Rasool , who’s the CEO and founder of Digital Rift Agency, as well as Sarah Nichols, our senior engagement manager here at Expert Marketing Advisors.

Hanan leads a team of website developers and designers with decades of experience and is our partner at eMa to support our clients in these areas. Sarah, Hanan and I have worked together on many website projects over the last few years for our clients, and we know that websites are really your main player in any company’s demand gen strategy.

It’s kind of your storefront, if you will, and so your website is a living, breathing organism and needs constant attention revamping, whether it’s backend development. Creating educational resources aimed at your target demographic or redesigning webpages to increase conversion. We know that all of projects related to web dev can be very time intensive.

You’re usually coordinating with multiple stakeholders across your company both ex internal and external. So these can be big projects and we wanna make sure that we are gonna be touching on some things to help you succeed in refreshing your website, both technically and organizationally. So this web webinar is kind of designed to be the first of a series in website development.

So we hope that you will check back with. Each month we’ll be doing something and tackling a different subject along web dev, and you can always find all of our webinar resources on our website and on demand at any time, as well as our YouTube channel. So let’s go ahead and get into it. So what we’ll be covering today is, Deciding when to refresh your website.

What are some of those indicators that will help us decide understanding what is the difference between refreshing and redesigning, looking at your ideal website refresh workflow, and some best practices in managing these complex workflows and working with your teams. So we do want this to be conversational.

Feel free to please drop any questions inside of our q and a box and we’ll be sure to answer all of them live. So Hanan, let’s kind of get into it. So let’s take a look at what is a website refresh versus a website redesign and deciding which one you need to do.

[00:03:31] Hanan Rasool:
Well, first of all, thank you so much for having us over here.

And yeah, this is a question which pops up every time. We talk about website development or refreshing the website, and there’s a common misconception that, you know between website refresh and redesign, some people use it interchangeably. However, the technical differentiation over here.

Refresh entails anything which is design related change. That could vary you from a simple updating of the color palettes or your brand guidelines to a complete overhaul of how the website looks and feels including the page layouts. However, what it does not entail is The backend of the website, how the website is functioning under the hood, sort of you know, your CMS, how your search is functioning how your mega menus are built.

That sort of a thing remains under the ambit of redesign. So if you talk about redesigning the website, that can entail everything which is under, which is within the refresh. Plus when you touch the backend of the website, the cm. How the databases are managed what kind of technology using at the backend that is when it falls under the ambit of redesign.

So first of all, you need to make sure what exactly do you want to cover, what your goal is whether you need a simple website refresh, and that will do the trick, or you really need to go towards the redesign. So some of the things that you need to. Is number one. You know, define the goal clearly.

Lay it out that, okay. The reason why we’re doing you know, taking on this undertaking is there is an underlying issue. For example, it could range from low conversion rates or, you know, something like that. That’s what companies usually face as well, that this page is not converting. It used to be fine, but now all of a sudden we’re, we’re seeing a drop in traffic.

People are coming, but they’re bouncing. We’re seeing high bounce rates. So for that you basically define, okay, do I need to go towards a website refresh or a redesign? Then you need to also consider the fact that what is your timeline that you’re tackling over here? What that will also lead to.

What are your budgetary constraint constraints over here? Is there something you know, foundational that you need to change in your website? For example, some features you need to add, you need to add on. Layer within the website or you know, whether your CMS, the current CMS that you’re using, is it up to date?

Does it have all the security patches? Is it too reliant on the plugins or not? So these kinds of questions and considerations you need to take care of. You need to tackle them before deciding whether to go with a redesign or to go with a refresh.

[00:05:59] Emerald Lindskog:
Definitely. I think also, you know, budget and timeline are probably some things that.

You definitely need to consider, especially with the greater team’s involvement of decision making too.

[00:06:12] Hanan Rasool:
Yeah, yeah, definitely. And that basically rolls the whole project that drives everything.

[00:06:17] Emerald Lindskog:
Perfect. Awesome. So let’s look at when you should decide to refresh your website. What are some of the indicators that we’re gonna look at to help us make our decision?

[00:06:30] Hanan Rasool:
Yep. So often companies you know, they think about that. Okay, we, we’ve We have a website. It’s functioning right now. When, when should we go about it? And what are the certain indicators some major indicators that we rely on over and over again. That is how is your balance rate, how are your conversion rates the basic indicators that Google Analytics also provides you.

What is the time spent on the website? If you see that all of these are going in the wrong direction, for example, you’re having high balance rates, low conversion rates, or the time spent on the website, or the average number of pages that are viewed is reducing as well. And it’s often a combination of these.

So you don’t just look at just one set of you know, KPIs. It’s a holistic picture that you have to view. And from there you define, okay, now maybe, you know there’s an underlying. So we might have to do something about it. And that’s an indicator for when you should, you know, start off with your website refresh project.

Now if you have when you’re considering a website refresh. And looking at these indicators just keep one thing in mind that not everything might be related to design or the website features. It could sometimes be your messaging that it’s outdated. Could sometimes be that you your competitors have, have come up with a better offering.

So you have to look at the content. Plus you have to look at what your website is currently how it’s currently designed

[00:07:49] Emerald Lindskog:
Yeah, I would say it’s definitely, it could. Visual, but it could also be like you’re saying, the content that needs refreshing. So deciding when to, when to do what. So maybe besides like Google Analytics or looking inside of your c m s, are there any other tools you recommend that people are using or have in place that will give them some of these key performance indicators or metrics?

[00:08:12] Hanan Rasool: Yeah. The basic tool, the the primary tool that we recommend to everyone to use is fully utilize the Google Suite. So Google has a lot of different tools built into it. Peoples usually do not use Google to its full capacity, number one. We should do that. Look at Google dashboard. Look at, look at Google Ads.

Look at Google Search Console. Look at Google Analytics. Do you have the analytics properly configured? Do you have all the instances, conversions properly configured? That’s important. But outside of Google we rely on mos. We rely on SEM Rush, on Streaming Frog these kinds of different tools.

And there’s a plethora of tools out there. I’m just mentioning those that we usually rely on. And you know, as long as the tool is providing you accurate information it’s just a matter of how you mix these together and make it work. It depends on you and your team how you want to you know, enable your tech.

And from the visual point of view that you mentioned obviously, you know, when we talk about website, the most important thing is the brand. Look and feel, how your website is looking. And that brings us to the second point that, you know, you have to look at what the global design indicators are and how everyone else’s website is doing, especially your competitor’s websites.

You don’t want to. Create a website and then, you know, leave it as you mentioned, it’s living and breathing organism, which needs to be updated every now and then. So for that, we recommend to look at the global design indicators. Some of the ways you can do that is by, you know, start off with a simple Google search.

What are the new design I. Or you, you could look at some industry thought leaders or com you know, platforms, for example, triple avoids, pin trusts, and just keep an eye out the way the trends are leading.

[00:09:54] Emerald Lindskog:
Mm-hmm. , definitely. I think it is important to stay on top of the trends. How do you maybe can you talk about if there are any certain global design features you’re seeing right now?

Or also how can people, you know, I know I get overwhelmed by what’s the latest marketing trend, you know, what’s happening now, but how do you, how do you advise teams to really evaluate what design trends make sense for their.

[00:10:19] Hanan Rasool:
That’s a very good question. Since there’re, there’s just so much content which has been created by everyone, and there’s so many design trends, you’ll probably see 10 different design trends happening in a year.

You don’t want to jump on each bandwagon. You have to first wait and see that whether this you know, this is pertinent to our industry, the industry you’re functioning in whether it’s you know, something which others are doing and is. Fad right now. So others are following. It does not necessarily mean that you should also do that.

So for that, I would recommend that first of all, look at your industry. Define where you function and look at your competitors. Look at the industry leaders and also whenever you are searching the farm, since these platforms will be you know, featuring all kinds of industries. Basically want to focus on, for example, right now, the trying design trend going on is web 3.0 websites, which is you know, moving from light websites to a darker theme.

Websites using a lot of 3d, a lot of. Illustrations, people are moving away from stock imagery and going towards customized designs, customized illustrations. And with that, you just have a lot of leverage, you know? For a stock photo, you’re very limited to the scene and there’s not much you can do on that.

Probably, you know, add some animation to it, but if you’re talking about illustrations or 3D, 3Ds look really slick. And illustrations you can incorporate all kinds of different ideas that go beyond, you know, just the the scene, which is set in the camera. Mm-hmm.

[00:11:52] Emerald Lindskog:
So Hanan, we have a question from the audience, and that’s, are there any like leading blogs that you follow to keep ahead of website design trends?

Or where are you kind of going online to find out what’s, what’s trending now?

[00:12:08] Hanan Rasool:
So what we do is we obviously, you know, have a few blogs listed out towards HubSpot blogs. They basically consolidate all the data from different blogs and that’s usually a good, good source for us to know that what is happening in the. Industry. Secondly, as I mentioned, there are two platforms that we visit a lot.

One is Dribbble . The other one is Awwwards . So evolves basically features all the latest websites which which are trying new, new things, different things. And that can give you, you know, the outer edge of what the industry is doing. Whereas on Dribbble and even on Behance, you can look at different portfolios.

People are always sharing. You know, this is the new style of how you want to design a blade or a website front. And that’s just a good place to get inspiration at the end of the day. You just want inspiration and then you design it yourselves.

[00:12:58] Emerald Lindskog:
Definitely, definitely. Okay, great. Let’s move on to our next points here.

[00:13:07] Hanan Rasool:
Okay, so once you know these are two primary, we featured the two primary reasons why you want to do that. Then obviously, you know while you’re, while you’re thinking of a design refresh, it could also be because your brand is revamping itself, you’re changing the brand guideline, the look and feel of the brand.

You could have new colors you could have a new logo, you. To just completely revamp your website for that as well. And that is pretty much linked to the rest of the points. You know, you’re, you’re a small startup. You used to be a small startup. Now you know, you’ve progressed, you’ve developed more product features, you have more content to talk about you have more depth in the product.

You might want to you know, have another portal incorporated within your website for the users. So for these kinds of reasons, you might want to look at a design refresh website refresh or a website redesign altogether. And I would say, I basically call it. Sorry. Yeah, go on. Sorry.

[00:13:58] Sarah Nichols:
I would add to that, that I think some sometimes folks just wanna look bigger than they are as a company, especially in the startup world. So it’s an opportunity maybe at out of the gate you’re like, we gotta get something up. And you have somebody on your team who has, you know, moderate skill and in developing websites and they put something up that, that’s workable in the beginning stages.

But maybe you’re up-leveling a bit, you wanna look larger than you are. And that’s a great time to really pick up the pace with your.

[00:14:28] Hanan Rasool:
Yeah, absolutely am. That’s a very good point because at the end of the day your website is your marketing asset and you want to first digital imprint, and that will take you a long way. And especially for startups, they want to look bigger than they really are and. That is what drives their, their funding rounds as well, their receives as well.

They look at the website first and foremost to assert whether this company is serious, whether the players are mature, whether they have all the information available over there. And, you know, once you receive that kind of funding or you have up-level yourself your product portfolio, That’s when you would like to, you know, sort of come out of your shell.

You might think about revamping the brand look and field. You started off with something small, an idea. Now the concept has developed into something greater. You have more product lines that you want to talk about. And along with that, once you know you do, you are doing a refresh. You might think about what other features you want to introduce into your website.

Would you want to bring in more functionality? Do you want a dashboard where people can log in an online portal? So these kinds of things usually drive the need for a website redesign already fresh.

[00:15:35] Emerald Lindskog:
So one of the questions we got from the audience is if we, they know it’ll be a range, cuz of course everything with, with websites is, but can we talk a little bit about what we think an estimated budget might be for a refresh versus a redesign?

I guess my first thoughts are whether or not you have those capabilities of internal team members or if you’re gonna need to hire maybe an outside agency to support you on those efforts.

[00:16:02] Hanan Rasool:
Yeah. I think let’s let’s assume that they’re going to hire an outset agency because if you have in-house resources to do that you know, we can talk to the timeline, but not the budget.

Depends on, you know how your company has hide the people, but a design, a website refresh or a redesign, especially a redesign can take anywhere from three months to about five months time period. And you sometimes it goes up to a year. Depends on how much complication you want to build into.

It depends on where the current website is. And you know, for example, if you have a huge website, it has a lot of pages, hundreds of pages, a long history, you’ve built it. Over a decade and now you’re deciding on changing or refresh completely redesigning the website and changing your c m s and going to a different technology.

Now, undertaking that kind of project will take some time, a lot of planning you might want to incorporate within that you know, your brand guide, new brand guidelines. So all of these complications, these things they add on to the time. But the way this cannot be answered without specifically, you know first knowing what the requirement is that is sort of like you know, a disclaimer that I want to give right? But on average, , what we’ve experienced is if it’s just a design you know, website refresh where we’re just changing the brand guidelines, the page layouts, the underlying technology remains the same. It takes about two to three months. And if it’s something more than that we are going towards a new CMS then obviously it takes about, you know, starting from three months goes up to six months.

[00:17:34] Emerald Lindskog:
Perfect. Thank you for that. Awesome. So let’s kind of get into maybe the practical side of things and talk really about what is a best practice and workflow look like when you’re working through these projects.

[00:17:47] Sarah Nichols:
So we’re gonna put our project management hat on a little bit in the approach to the refresh or redesign workflow and kind of talk through ideal processes.

You know, this changes a little bit by the company, so it won’t necessarily work in this order, and things always overlap and cascade. But this would be kind of our best practice for the process to follow when moving towards a website refresh or redesign. So there’s work to be done before you ever get to the exciting part of designing and developing your.

And our first thing that we always recommend is pulling in all of your internal key stakeholders who are gonna contribute their opinions to the website. It’s very frequent for us where, you know, we get two, three people from the team in, we go through weeks and weeks of like planning. And then at the last minute, they’ll pull in the CEO or somebody else in their team who’s a key decision maker, and they come in and they have a very strong opinion that the work that was done is not in line with the vision that they have.

And so, That can, oftentimes you have to start off from scratch or you have to kind of like tweak all of the work time and attention that you’ve already put into the entire process. And so really identifying from the get-go, who are the people whose opinions really matter and make sure that they’re an active part, even if not on a day-to-day basis, but, Set like marks along the way where they’re checking in and giving their opinion to make sure that you’re going the direction that they want you to be going.

Beyond that, having a really good idea of your ideal customer profiles, ICP, who is your website speaking to? Because that really drives all of the messaging on your site, the visuals that you’re choosing for the site. What’s gonna appeal to that persona? So very clearly defining who is, who are you hoping is looking at your website and taking action, and how are you appealing to their goals, their problems, their pain points within your.

And Hanan, stop me along the way if you have . Anything to add to that? I think you have a lot to add on the user journey mapping. Yeah. After identifying those I C P, what journey do we take people on in the website? So they fall onto a page, let’s say the homepage. Where do we want to be taking them throughout the website so that they’re finding the right assets, getting the right information?

And I don’t know if you have anything to add to that. You’re kind of the pro here.

[00:20:16] Hanan Rasool:
Yeah. Absolutely. I mean all of this is interlinked. All of these steps support each other. They support the whole process and drive the whole process. Starting from the way you first point that you mentioned you know, I, again, cannot emphasize enough how many times this has happened with you, with me.

You know, we’ve experienced this, that the internal stakeholders were not all introduced at the right. And specifically talking about the user journey mapping, this is something which will impact your content. This is something which will impact your site map. Something which will really drive the content and the design and the layout of the website.
So the way you do user journey mapping is, After you’ve identified your ideal customer profiles you interview conduct deep in-depth interviews with them one-on-one interviews to understand what their pain points are whenever they’re considering. And it basically covers the whole buying process, their thought process of when they want to, for example, purchase a SaaS software.

Where, where’s the, what’s the first you know, source of information they look for? Do they go on Google? Do they look towards their colleagues towards other companies? How do they start off their search right to the point where they, you know, make the decision? What are the pain points? What different types of assets they would like to look at?
How much time specifically do they spend on the website over a period of month, or could be two. What’s the whole you know, timeline for making that purchase? And that is how you basically drive your site map and your content that okay, the person you know is A C C F O comes in looks at the website likes the website.

What kind of content would you like to display on the homepage for that person if you’re going to be running some digital marketing? Lead capturing campaigns. How should the landing page be designed? What information should be displayed over there and so on and so forth. So it’s all interlinked.

And one thing that many companies to skip over is the journey mapping. And I feel that is very, very essential for, for having a website that works, for having a website which creates good leads and you know, Once you’ve covered all these bases, you wouldn’t wonder about, oh, you know, we have all this in place.

Why isn’t it working? You’ll find the answers in the journey mapping. Yeah.

[00:22:26] Sarah Nichols:
Thank you. Yeah. And next step after that is really based off of that user journey map is defining the actual site map itself. So this is pre-design. It could be as simple as a spreadsheet or sketching it out on a piece of paper.

What items, what’s in your top navigation, what are your subheaders and what’s gonna be in your footer? Mapping all of that out so you know exactly what content you need to create for that site. And then in addition to that is keyword research. So moving into the content piece of it. When writing copy for your website, we really wanna have our keywords in mind so that you’re not keyword stuffing per se, but we have SEO optimization in mind as you’re writing your content.

So having clearly defined keywords is helpful to get going. It also helps in the backend of your website as you’re putting in meta titles, descriptions, things like that. And a big question that we get, we put it as the next step. Step six is finalizing the content and copy for the pages. There can be debate at times.

Is it design the page and then write the copy to fill in those gaps? Or is it writing the copy first and then designing around that copy? It really can go either way. However, our recommendation, just in the times that we’ve been working with different clients is to really start with the copy first. Make sure that your messaging is really strong, you have the appropriate keywords in place.

You’re solving the, you’re answering the problem that your ideal customer persona has, and then you can design around that. Because otherwise you can have this really fancy, beautiful design, but it doesn’t leave the space that you need to write the copy. Or you find yourself writing copy that’s longer than what fits the space and the design, and then you have to kind of go back board a little bit.

So for streamlining the process, we’ve found that copy comes first and then design comes thereafter. And then beyond.

[00:24:22] Hanan Rasool:
One thing again. The advantage to, to doing that is you can always know once you’ve started with the design phase, you can always come back and, you know if you want to modify the copy, it’s easier to modify the copy and add on more to it.

[00:24:38] Sarah Nichols:
So yeah. How’s easier to change than design? Yeah. And then after copy would be to define your, the tech stack that you’re using. So what plug-ins do you need? Security plug-ins site speed optimization. But this can include, are you using WordPress forms to capture information or are you using HubSpot Marketo forms?

What’s your marketing automation tool to make sure you’re integrating that in the correct place. And then also defining the brand guidelines as a final step. Sometimes people try to conquer. Website design and brand in parallel. And that can be a little bit challenging just because it’s nice as you’re doing the design to have clearly defined colors, to have your logo in place, that you’re just inserting that into your design easily instead of kind of going through the debate as you’re trying to design.

It’s just so much more streamlined approach. And then just one point to keep in mind as you’re choosing fonts, that it’s Google friendly fonts. Easier access, don’t have to pay a premium, things of that nature. And I don’t know, not if you have anything to add onto that.

[00:25:37] Hanan Rasool:
Yeah, that reminds me what you just mentioned, that, you know, people sometimes try to do it in parallel the design and the brand guidelines.

And it reminds me of you know, An experience we had not long ago where, you know, the brand guideline wasn’t defined and we were also working on the website design. And whenever we decided on a brand guideline color, they would look at the mock design and they’ll go like, no. Maybe we can change the colors a little bit and that would be actually driving the brand guideline and that delayed the whole process.

Whereas the brand guidelines should be, if you’ve properly designed brand guidelines, which have which have clearly listed down all the colors, different shades which are required, that is supposed to drive the design. And would, that would really streamline the whole work process as,

[00:26:24] Emerald Lindskog:
Hanan, someone’s asking is there, like, where can we find documentation of what are the Google friendly font?

[00:26:31] Hanan Rasool:
Just go to just Google font. I mean, just they have like a long list of all the font which are available and you can just search it on Google and yeah, that’s about it. You’ll, you’ll have it and you don’t need to pay any. Premium price for it. They’re free to download. And most, the good thing with Google is most of their font already come free, downloaded in most of the programs that we’re using.

Could be your Microsoft office, could be Figma, could be anything else. But if some font is not available already pre downloaded in that you can just download the file over there from Google. Nice.

[00:27:07] Emerald Lindskog:
Okay. And then one more question, going back a little bit, but if you guys can expand a little bit on interlinking and best practices and the considerations involved.

[00:27:16] Sarah Nichols: 
Yeah. This kind of maps together, the user journey mapping the keyword research and the copy itself all kind of come into play with interlinking. What we like to do is that we have a. It’s dedicated like working document for each page of the website. And as we have those SEO keywords, we assign those keywords to a particular page.

And then so then we have that top of the page on our working document. So it’s always guiding the copy that we’re writing and then also the assets that we’ll pull in. So we’d say we can give recommendations and say these are the things that we would consider. Interlinking on the site or linking on this site, internal linking, external linking, all of those considerations as you’re drafting the copy out.

And that’s guided by the user journey mapping. So maybe you’re on a solution page and you’ve said, I wanna have this solution guide, relevant solution guide on the page. We wanna make sure we note on our kind of working document. We wanna include that here, link to that on a different page. And so it, it’s an active process as you’re writing the copy, what you know stream, do you wanna take folks through?

What kind of journey do you wanna take them through on the website? And then how does that relate to your SEO efforts as well? I dunno if you can expand on that

[00:28:31] Hanan Rasool:
on, or, it’s such a, it’s such a huge. Huge topic that I think this deserves.

[00:28:36] Sarah Nichols:
Yeah, it’s own dedicated interlinking.

[00:28:37] Hanan Rasool:
Yeah . But, but to put it simply, you would want the users to spend more time on your website, go from one product offering to another.

You would want them to travel through your solutions. Could be the, the way you’ve defined your solutions, you don’t have your solution offering is, Solving all of their problems let’s say solution A solves 50% of the problem. And that’s not enough for them to be convinced to start working with you.

But your solution B or solution C might you know, solve the rest of the 50 person. So you would want to interlink different solutions. You would want them to go through all of your solutions. If you have any special playbooks or white papers that you’ve written as much content as you have, you would like to display over there.

Obviously you can’t make a very long page so people, you know, most of the people, they won’t scroll to the bottom of the page. And most of the good copy are you know, important points will be missed out. So that’s why we used Interlinking. You could. A blade over there. It could be a hyperlink, could be a small section break over.

There could be a side panel. You know, the options are just limitless. Yeah.

[00:29:41] Sarah Nichols:
In your messaging. It’s really like, that’s interesting. Tell me more, like giving kind of the hook to people. Like these are the key features or key benefits, whatever it might be. Oh, like, that’s interesting. That’s, that really speaks to the pain point that I’m having.

Tell me more. And that’s an opportunity to link to something that expands on that topic in greater detail. Exactly.

[00:30:00] Emerald Lindskog:
Yeah. I think you, in your resources is really one of the best places to have your internal linking as you, for example, like on our website, eMa’s website, if we have a blog that’s on say a topic like SEO o throughout our blog, we’re gonna.

Interlink to another case study that we have that showed how we drove organic traffic through seo, or we’re gonna have it linked to a webinar on the same related topic. So definitely as you’re building your resource library, interlinking comes into play there too.

[00:30:31] Hanan Rasool:
Yeah, and it’s an ongoing process.

Like once you’ve built out the website, your interlinking will not stop as you churn out more content, more webinars, you have to keep on going back and making those definitely.

[00:30:43] Emerald Lindskog: 
All right, let’s move on.

[00:30:47] Sarah Nichols:
So now we’re to the more exciting part, what everyone is hoping to show up on day one and be able to do, but it is not really the case.

But when we start the design and development process, where we like to begin is wireframes. And this is more of just a 2D look at the website. What are the bones of each of the individual pages before we get started on design? What’s gonna be in the header? Will there be a certain image? How will the text be justified?

Just a very, like basic look at the layout of each page of the website, both on mobile and desktop. From there, once that’s reviewed, approved, everyone’s happy with the general look and feel and direction of design. That’s when we transition over to those high fidelity designs where you get to see what the, the developed finalized website is actually going to look like. Anything to add to that Hanan in that process.

[00:31:40] Hanan Rasool:
Yeah, and on this we are basically, we, we usually use Figma for this and the advantage that Figma provides us, you can actually prototype everything you can, you know before even you start developing a single page, you can actually see.

Just from design, how your whole website user journey mapping is going to be. And you can create those hyperlinks and you can like get the whole experience, user experience just at the design phase so that, you know, if you need to calibrate something, you need to reconfigure something you can do that.

And that’s the, that’s the best practice that we follow. 

[00:32:18] Sarah Nichols: 
So yeah you’re absolutely with you over. And then the third step is that this is regardless of refresh or if you’re starting from scratch or redesign, no matter what the case may be, we always recommend having a sandbox environment or a staging site to do everything.

So even if you’re just doing a simple refresh changing colors, we like to do all of that in a sandbox environment so that we have the opportunity. To see it. How does, how does that change impact other areas of the website? Like, will it cause a bug or a problem? Is everyone happy with it before we actually push it live to production?

It gives everybody the chance to take a closer look at it before it’s actually live and external facing to the rest of the world. We, we recommend using things like global headers and footers that go across the entire website making sure pages are dynamically designed. And not any, any thoughts on design of that?

[00:33:08] Hanan Rasool:
These are, these are just some of the best practice practices that we we recommend to everyone because you have to keep the future in mind. You’ve designed it once the website is complete, but every time, you know, you’re gonna have you’re gonna have new updates, you’re gonna be churning out more content.

You might want to change the leadership page, or you might want to obviously, you know, you’ll have your own HR portal as well. So you need to make sure that your pages are dynamically designed and the global you, the headers and the footers are globally designed so that you just change them once in the template and it’s applied across the board.

And you don’t have to basically build the. every time you’re making a change.

[00:33:46] Sarah Nichols:
And then once everything’s built out looking good, everyone’s happy, we still want to address on page optimization. So things like, The speed of the site, the, the loading time, making sure that that’s really fast so that people don’t bounce off your page because they’re waiting for your imagery to pop up on the page.

Open graph settings, meta descriptions and tags. These are things that are in the backend and address s e o efforts. But really important to have. They’ll pop up sometimes in the tab at the top, your title of the page itself. So you want that to be on point and in line with the messaging on the page, any redirects that you have to have in place.

So maybe. Redesign the site. You’ve gotten rid of a few pages, but those pages are out there in the world, whether it’s on social or you’ve shared it, a link on an asset or something like that. Making sure that people went and actually directly went to that site, that you’d be redirecting them to the new page and the content that’s replaced that dedicated thank you pages for all of your forms.

So when you’re capturing your leads, You wanna send them, give them a good fluid user experience, thank them for downloading your asset, for example, and then addressing lazy loading and just JavaScript differing, so a lot of the technicalities in the back end of the website. And then once all of that is done, We’re still not quite ready to push it live, but almost there.

And the most important piece of the puzzle is really the website testing. And this is an opportunity, depending on your situation, whether if you’re working for an agency, doing it internally, whatever the case may be, but getting as many eyes on the website as possible before you push it live. Looking at it in multiple browsers.

So look in Safari, look in Chrome, look in fire. You wanna look on desktop, mobile, see how everything’s working and functioning? Is it working as anticipated? Are you noting any bugs? Having everyone give you second, third, fourth set of eyes for copy, making sure there’s no spelling or grammar issues across the website that everything falls within your brand guidelines appropriately.

Are the links that you have on the page are they the color that they’re supposed to be in line with your bra brand guidelines? Are your buttons having curved edges, verse, you know, square, all the different considerations that come into making sure it’s perfect and up to par to push live. And then from there, launching your website.

Very exciting moment. And not in a second. Maybe you can give some recommendations of when to do that, but anticipating the fact that there might be a problem when it pushes live more than likely minor, but things happen. And just be ready once it goes live to have your team. Take a look at it, continue to test in QA and make sure everything’s working seamlessly.

So I don’t know. Henan, do you have a recommendation on when you would go ahead and push a site?

[00:36:25] Hanan Rasool:
We always prefer to push it live over the weekend so that you know, it’s the bus. We don’t have business days. People are off. Not many people are viewing the website, and you can actually test it in a live environment.

So if anything is not functioning your internal team can test it over the weekend. If they find a small minor bug, they can fix it right away. Before, you know, on Monday before u p r hits the, hits, the new stand you have everything inch perfect and everything’s working. So, yeah, that’s the, that’s what we recommend to everyone.

That’s the safest way to go.

[00:36:54] Sarah Nichols:
Yeah. And so a lot of these things kind of work. And this rolls into our next point, which is a continued look at kind of the project management aspect of things. Best practices for managing these workflows. Nothing ever works out perfectly. Processes change. You have overlap, you’re working in parallel.

But one thing that we like to do is create a Gantt. And this is just a very simplistic example. These can get highly complicated. But as you’re moving towards website de design and development, scope out your project, depending on how complex it is, how long is it gonna take? And then lay out your steps from there and what’s dependent on the next thing.

So people be like, well, why isn’t this happening as fast as I want it to? And we can point back and say, well, the copy isn’t finalized. We really need this person, whoever’s owning that copy. To finalize that before we can move forward with this next step. And it helps really the team visualize what needs to happen, what’s dependent on other tasks where are the bottlenecks basically.

And so we like to track the status. Is something in progress? Is it and review? Is it complete? And just track that project along the way. So just a good example of a potential template that you could use to track your project timeline for project planning. This is a great place just to capture all of the information.

There’s a lot of links that get thrown out when you’re using, when you’re using best practices and you have a staging site, you’re gonna have a dev site link for people to review. And depending on the scope of your project, you might be pushing pages live at a different time. Sometimes it’s just a full introduction of a new website all at one time.

But regardless, this is a good project planning template that we like to. Week by week, what are we accomplishing? Who owns that? What’s the status? What’s the dev site links that can be communicated out to the greater team? Everyone can take a look as things are developed, and then is it approved to actually go live?

So just another template to to utilize if needed. And then finally website qa. Our process for website qa, we like to have one working document that everyone has access to. And when we say, okay, everybody, like, get out there, start testing the website. Look at the different browsers. This is the one place where we would capture all of that feedback into one spot for the developer to then take that and just start kind of picking away at those tasks.

And so whether the status of it, whether it’s open, is there missing information, is it in the hands of web dev? And it really gives a lot of clarity on who is taking ownership based on the stage that we’re at in the QA process. You know, working, whether you’re working in different time zones or just different workflows, we wanna be very clear about where those changes need to happen.

So give the specific section that needs to be changed, what browser, what needs to be fixed, and then a visual reference for that. So they can set, instead of saying like, you know, in title two on the page, you can give them a visual reference of where to go. And then is it done any notes? So just another template at your fingertips if it’s helpful.

[00:39:59] Hanan Rasool:
I would say it’s really helpful.

[00:40:01] Emerald Lindskog:
Yes, really helpful when we’re all working.

[00:40:04] Hanan Rasool:
You know, once you’re testing the website and you have a lot of eyeballs, especially internally with internal stakeholders everyone sort of results to jumping the gun and just sending the message that, okay, this is wrong and this is wrong, and you need to have like a proper mechanism to capture all the information which is relevant.

I, and this. This saves a lot of time. We love this document.

[00:40:25] Sarah Nichols:
Sometimes you have to be pretty firm about using this document. Like Hanan mentioned, I think people, they’ll, they’ll be on it and they’ll say, you know, I found a spelling error on this page, and they’ll throw it into Teams or into Slack and that’s, it just doesn’t give visibility to the whole team.

So this is something to really push for one clear spot for everyone to go and give their.


[00:40:48] Emerald Lindskog:
Well, thank you all so much, Sarah and Hanan for speaking with us today and for everyone that’s joined us. We’ll give everyone a few more minutes if they want to ask any questions. We’ve been answering them along the way. Or if you all have any other points you wanna speak to, I wanna remind people they can always find all of our webinars on demand, on our website at any time, including our presentations.

And you’ll find that at and you can stay up to date with our upcoming webinar topics, including this website development series that will be upcoming on our LinkedIn page, expert Marketing Advisors. And we really appreciate your time today, Hanan or Sarah, do you have any other points you wanna make before we say goodbye?

[00:41:30] Hanan Rasool:
Just thank you so much for having us and it was a pleasure talking about this. And yeah, as you mentioned earlier, it, this is such a complex, it seems like a simple topic, but it’s such a complex topic and we can do a webinar on each one of these workflow stages on its own. So yeah, I’m glad that we’re starting this.

It’ll be like a webinar series and we’ll be tackling more topics in in depth later on. So yeah, looking forward to that.

[00:41:58] Emerald Lindskog:
Okay, great. Well, thank you all so much. Have a good rest of your day.

[00:42:03] Hanan Rasool:
Thank you.

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