Is your website starting to feel dated and clunky? Do visitors struggle to find information or complete key actions? A website redesign may be just what you need to stay competitive in today’s digital landscape. Redesigning your site can improve user experience, update the look and feel, and add new features to support your business goals. However, finding the right web design partner is key to a successful project. In this article, we’ll examine the key factors to evaluate when choosing website redesign services. By doing your homework upfront and asking the right questions, you can avoid common pitfalls and ensure you select a provider that truly understands your business and can deliver the improved online presence you’re after.
Get Crystal Clear on Your Goals
A website redesign is a big undertaking, so before anything else, clearly define what you want to achieve. Ask yourself – what are your current site’s biggest pain points or limitations? How could an improved design directly support your business goals and bottom line?
For example, do you want to:
- Increase conversion rates for key pages and actions like signups or purchases.
- Improve site speed and mobile experience. Studies show even 1 second of delay costs you 7% in conversions.
- Create a sleeker, more modern look to better convey your brand. First impressions matter.
- Add new functionality like online booking or live chat to connect with customers.
- Optimize for search and generate more organic traffic.
Get down to the nitty-gritty and specify exactly what success looks like for this project. Trace every goal back to a business objective like boosting revenue, lowering bounce rates, or shortening sales cycles.
Doing this upfront alignment will pay dividends once the work begins. You’ll evaluate design options and features based on how well they ladder up to your core goals. It also ensures your web partner has a clear mission.
Do Your Homework to Create a Shortlist
With your goals defined, it’s time to start searching for potential web partners. Cast a wide net early on as you compile a list of providers to consider.
Leverage online directories like Clutch and GoodFirms to find agencies that specialize in website redesigns. Google them to read reviews and evaluate their portfolios. Check their existing clientele – do they have experience in your industry? That’s a big plus.
Narrow down the list by assessing the quality of their previous work and the feedback from past clients. Look for demonstrated expertise specifically in website redesign projects similar to yours.
Shortlist around 3-5 providers that seem to best fit your budget and needs. Resist the temptation to go with the cheapest option – website design is not a commodity. This is a foundational investment for your business.
At this phase, you want to gather initial impressions of their capabilities and approach. But hold off on making a final decision until after deeper discussions with each agency.
Dig into Their Past Work and Expertise
Now it’s time to dive deeper with the 3-5 firms on your shortlist. Schedule discovery calls and use these conversations to assess their suitability.
Ask to see examples from their portfolio that are similar in scope and objectives to your project. Pay special attention to past website redesign work. Look for aesthetics you find appealing but also evaluate the usability and functionality. Does the design seem intuitive and seamless to navigate?
Discuss their specific capabilities across key areas:
- UI/UX design – Do they have in-house experts focused on optimizing aesthetics, usability, and conversion paths? Can they share their design process?
- Technical development – Ask about their programming capabilities and expertise with modern frameworks. Will they handle technical work in-house vs outsourcing?
- Content strategy – How do they ensure copy, layout, and visuals work cohesively? Is content production included or will you handle this?
- SEO, analytics & testing – Confirm they develop sites optimized for organic traffic and conversions. Do they provide ongoing performance optimization?
- Project management – Ask about their typical process, project phases, and how they collaborate with clients.
Gauge both their hard skills and soft skills. You want a partner that clicks with your team and truly grasps your brand, goals, and audience.
Dive Deep Into Their Expertise and Past Work
Now it’s time to dig deeper with the agencies on your shortlist. Schedule discovery calls to assess their capabilities and suitability for your project.
Ask to review examples from their portfolio that are similar in scope and goals to your website redesign. Pay extra attention to their past redesign work. Evaluate both the aesthetics and the usability – does the design seem intuitive to navigate?
Discuss their specific capabilities across key areas:
- UI/UX design – Do they have in-house experts focused on optimizing aesthetics, usability and conversions? Ask to see their design process.
- Technical development – Understand their programming capabilities and expertise with modern frameworks. Will development be handled in-house or outsourced?
- Content strategy – How will they ensure seamless integration of copy, visuals, and layout? Will content production be included or is that your responsibility?
- SEO, analytics & testing – Can they build sites optimized for organic traffic and conversions? Do they provide ongoing performance optimization?
- Project management – What does their typical process look like? How many project phases? How closely do they collaborate with clients?
Look for both hard skills and soft skills. You want a partner that truly “gets” your brand, goals, and target audience. The relationship should feel like a natural fit.
Align on Project Scope, Timeline and Investment
Once you’ve selected your top contender, it’s time to align on project scope, timeline, and budget.
Schedule an in-depth briefing to walk through your goals, requirements, and existing content strategy. Get their expert recommendations on the optimal approach.
Ask many questions and share any concerns to get them on the same page. Make sure you feel confident they understand exactly what you’re looking to achieve.
Request a detailed project plan with milestones, key dates, and launch timeframes. Ask how many design reviews and feedback cycles will be included.
Discuss what’s in scope versus any optional add-ons like copywriting, photography, analytics integration etc. Get an itemized budget accounting for each project component and milestone payment schedules.
Make sure the proposal clearly captures all elements discussed – this protects both parties. If anything is still unclear or you have hesitations, keep the conversation going. It’s vital to align on expectations from the start.
Understand Post-Launch Support and the Next Steps
Before signing on the dotted line, ensure you’re aligned on post-launch support and future enhancements.
Ask detailed questions about the ongoing maintenance, troubleshooting, and content update assistance they provide after launch. Do they offer service-level agreements for uptime and response times?
Also, discuss policies and typical costs for adding enhancements down the road. No website is ever really “done” – you’ll inevitably want to add features and functionality as your business evolves. Agree on a framework for scoping and quoting future change requests.
Ink the Deal with Your Chosen Partner
Once you’ve selected your web design partner, it’s time to formalize the agreement. Carefully review the final proposal and contract to ensure it captures everything discussed, including:
- All project deliverables, phases, and timelines
- Milestone-based payment schedule
- Sign-off process at each stage
- Your exact business goals and target outcomes
- Assumptions and dependencies like content production
Don’t gloss over the fine print or leave anything to chance. Reconfirm all expectations before signing. Consider including clauses related to confidentiality, quality standards, or compliance with laws.
Getting alignment upfront is the best way to ensure a smooth website redesign process that delivers the results you want, on time and on budget.
Redesigning your website is an exciting endeavor that can pay huge dividends if done right. But choosing the wrong partner can turn it into a costly headache. By thoroughly evaluating providers, asking the right questions, and doing your homework, you can feel confident in the agency you select.
To recap, focus on these key factors as you assess potential web design firms:
- A proven portfolio with relevant examples, especially redesign projects
- Demonstrated expertise across design, development, content, and optimization
- A collaborative approach that prioritizes understanding your brand and goals
- Detailed project scoping, planning, and budgeting
- Post-launch support for maintenance, updates, and enhancements
Rushing into a website redesign without the right partner would be like building a house on a shaky foundation. It seems like a shortcut at first, but the issues will compound down the road.
By investing the time upfront to make a careful decision, you can reap the rewards for years to come in the form of higher traffic, improved conversions, and a future-proof digital presence. The ideal partner is out there – go find them!