DESIGN@WORK

Website Redesign Series

Website Redesign I: Is It Time?

Web Evolution: birchwoodcenter.com

birchwoodcenter.com v1.0v1.0 ~ 2005: We initially rebranded this Nyack, NY yoga and massage studio in partnership with Artin Arts. The first site design served their needs — they were able to update just enough information to keep it simple: yoga schedule, teacher bios, class descriptions. There was a schedule feed on the home page which was key information for their existing audience. The site was a good first iteration for the new brand.

birchwoodcenter.com v1.5v1.5 ~ 2009: The design update included expanding the page width, adding navigation, and redesigning the home page to show more images in a slideshow as well as creating space for promotions.

birchwoodcenter.com v2.0v2.0 ~ 2012: A revised fee structure and a subscription to a third party scheduling system necessitated a rethink of the website. The page frame was redesigned, the navigation was reworked, an upcoming events feed was installed on the home page, and the colors shifted based on a light design refresh of the brand.

You feel a little anxious that you haven’t been paying enough attention to your website. Maybe you don’t want to look at it ’cause it’s looking outdated. And you can’t easily update it with new  content. Or you badly want to add more functionality. Most importantly, it’s not driving:

  1. Business
  2. Media coverage
  3. Donations

This is a problem. Your website is the home base of your online presence, and should be the core of your marketing strategy. The Internet is too free and easy to not utilize to its full advantage, especially for the limited budgets of small businesses and nonprofit organizations. So why aren’t you paying more attention to your website?

The answer might be some combination of:

a) ain’t got the time;
b) just don’t know where to begin;
c) afraid of how much it will cost;
d) don’t know who can help me; or
e) just redid it five years ago, I have to do it again??

First, you can strike (d) because you know me. Let (e) go — five years is way past the expiration date for any website. Technology changes too fast, your business has inevitably evolved either in positioning or services, and it is beginning to look outdated after two years. The content and imagery at least should have been updated consistently over time. I suggest a light design refresh two years after an initial site build, then a complete rethink after four years. By then you’ll know how the site needs to evolve better to serve your business. The faster your website evolves and improves in serving your business, the faster you’ll begin seeing great results.

That leaves (a) time, (b) how to begin, and (c) cost. Let’s face reality for a moment. First, you have to make time, this is too important. And it does require a time commitment, especially in the beginning. While we do the heavy lifting of planning and leading the project, create the information architecture, concept and design of the site, and work with a developer to execute the design, we need you to provide feedback at critical points. To save time, we begin with a web design workshop to kick off the project, so we’re all on the same page as to what we need to get done. This information download will provide us with the fuel needed to deliver back a realistic proposal for the cost, and a project plan on how to move forward.

Boom! You’ve begun the process, and you know how much to budget for your shiny new website. Let’s get going!

Next up: Website Redesign II: Where to Begin
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