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Tatianna knows that I’ve updated my website 5 times in the past 4 years. She is going to lead her company’s website overhaul this year. This is the first time that she is taking on a project like this. She asked me what she needs to pay attention to before she starts.

I asked her if this is a complete overhaul or a partial overhaul. Tatianna told me that her company is a start-up and has grown very fast. They’ve not refreshed the website for over one year. The CEO wants to refresh the home page, products, and customers pages.

Here are the elements I told Tatianna to focus on:

  1. Design
  2. Content
  3. SEO
  4. Site Migration

There are many things that she needs to pay attention to, but I prioritize these four as the key focal points.

Design

I went to her company’s website. Since it’s a partial overhaul, I asked her if the company is interested in a big overall haul in the near future. If they are, are they thinking about updating the current design elements?  The current design is very photo-stockish and business-like. Are they looking into being more icon-driven, like Dropbox or video-share company Loom’s website? I told her that design is a business decision. Does the company want to refresh the home, product and customer pages using the same design or choose a completely different design for a future complete website overhaul? It’s important to have that discussion now. I told her, based on my past experience, management cares about design more than content and copywriting, perhaps because it’s visual and easy to critique. Everyone always has something to say about design. She needs to be prepared for that.

Content

Her site has a lot of content. She is not touching the resource library. If she does, she should use this opportunity to do a complete content audit. Delete the old content, refresh and update content that is still relevant. Categorize content based on customer journeys, buyer personas, products, solutions, and even industry verticals. She asked me if she should evaluate content by most views, more popular, most download, etc. I told her she can, but bear in mind, that this is historical data. Most popular content may be from back in 2015. Most downloaded may be a piece of content for the product that is no longer exist. At the end of the day, content clean-up can be manual and subjective. Tools can help to some extent, but humans need to make the final decisions.

SEO

You can’t overhaul the website without SEO. It’s important to understand keyword lists and how customers search and incorporate these words into copywriting and content. It’s important to work with someone who has SEO expertise. Period

Site Migration

I told her that I spent at least 6-8 weeks after the new site was launched cleaning up and updating broken links. This is especially true if you decide to retire a big chunk of content. Many content pieces are interlinked. You need to run MOZ or other similar tools to check the broken links and 404 errors. I told her that she needs to set aside time and budget for this. She also needs to educate internal stakeholders that, when a new site is launched, it doesn’t mean the website is done. The reality is that more work is ahead to ensure SEO and all links are working properly.

I told Tatianna that the site is never DONE.  There is always something we need to work on or fix. The software is updated on a regular basis, so is the website.

I’d love to hear your lessons learned when you are done. Just to compare notes. Tatianna, best of luck with your website overhaul.

All right, you know where to find me. Send me your questions or thought.

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Keep hustling, my friends. You got this!!


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