How Designing Your Website Is Like Renovating Your Home – Part 2

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Your home is your oasis; it is a reflection of who you are and is your most valuable asset. Having lived in it for a while, you know what works and what’s missing. By fixing this in your renovation project, you make your home a more comfortable place to live.

Likewise, your website is your 24*7*365 virtual salesperson, and the focal point of your online marketing efforts. When you consider designing it, you have few goals in mind and if it’s a second attempt you know what’s missing in your current site. Before you start crafting the content and design for your website, you need to be crystal clear about your audience. You have to be consistent with the desired branding, messaging, and your unique value proposition across your entire site. Your visitor should be able to relate to you, understand what you can do for them, and why they should consider you and not run to your competitors.

And usually, both crave for your time and attention.

How  Designing Your Website Is Like Renovating Your Home

The experience of designing your website is very similar to renovating your home. Both usually involve major decisions and often for a good cause. Like any good investment, it needs to be managed proactively. Generally, you would not frequently renovate, as it entails your time and lot of costs. At times, if you want to incorporate unique ideas, it could even match the price of your home or 100 times the cost of a basic website.

You give a thumbs up when you have enough budget. ‘Enough’ does not mean, not planning a little bit of extra funds to accommodate some unanticipated spending.

Knowing When You Are Ready For Renovation and Fresh Design

The right time to renovate your home is when you are ready for a huge change anticipating your future needs. A number of things could trigger the decision to remodel. It could only involve work like replace or repair the plumbing, roofing, or windows. It may be time to make a tired-looking and cluttered living room more ’lively and spacious’ or placement of an ‘elegant’ kitchen or adding a ‘swimming pool’ in the backyard. However, usually it means a major overhaul that could take a while to finish.

You created a website and have forgotten all about it. The triggers for redesigning your website include:

  • It looks worn out and dated and doesn’t open on all browsers
  • It is not user-friendly
  • It hardly get any visitors
  • It does not reflect your business direction
  • It looks unattractive on mobile devices
  • It takes too long to load
  • It does not attract top talent
  • It is hard to find information
  • It does not convert any sales or leads
  • It is time-consuming to update the content

“As you do not frequently embark on such projects, it becomes a good time to do this with flair and style. It gives an opportunity to incorporate many relevant, new and creative ideas.

Develop Your Wish List

To help arrive at a realistic budget – it starts identifying what’s missing and collecting new ideas that appeal to you, taking into account your present and future needs, by

  • Listing what you like in the homes of family, friends or neighbors you visit, particularly if they have renovated recently.
  • Designs from home décor websites or magazines that charm you and merge them with your requirements

Developing this ‘wish list’ involves listing the specific features you would like to include on your site.

You may not want to live with the dust while renovating and move out of your home for a while.

Be Realistic – Setting Your Goals – What Should You Renovate or Redesign

In this era of readily available home loans, you may want to live beyond your means – just to have that marble bathroom or elegant kitchen. If you are totally committed to the dream of something that you cannot afford at the moment, see if you can renovate in stages.

There are many aspects that could be upgraded, if you have not considered them, it will result in a scope creep and call for extra budget.By giving it a thought to the importance of each item. Is it something you need? Alternatively, is it something you desire, but not essential if your budget cannot accommodate it?

“The secret to success lies in careful planning based on a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. You could use a scoring system to help you decide how important something is or add elements in phases.

Before committing your time and money, you need to consider the pros and cons of a lot of factors while deciding whether or not to redesign, by answering these three questions:

  • How much you can afford to spend?
  • How much you should spend?
  • Where and by when should you spend?

“A thumb rule is: Balance both functionality and look-and-feel. If you invest in high-quality finishes now, you will not regret it.

The pros include:

  • Added brand value giving an impression of a dynamic and growing brand
  • Gain edge over your competitors by appealing the buyers online
  • Enhance your user experience with personalization and intuitive navigation
  • Invest in quality features and functionality (quality content, landing pages, chat room, etc.)  that will stand the test of time
  • Moving with the times, and your website is attractive and easy to use on mobile devices

The cons include:

  • Potential to over capitalise and overspend
  • Regular visitors may take a while to get used to the new looking site
  • Your website page URL’s might change during renovation impacting your current SEO efforts.

Don’t Overlook Your Time and Effort

You have outsourced your website design to an expert partner after an extensive search. However, that is not the all. You need to spend time to let them understand ‘what’s in your mind and what your customers care.’

The scope of work determines the time you need to devote. It is important for you to factor in the time, to make it as less inconvenient as possible for you. Your role involves you to do the following:

  • Define the scope of your project
  • Request bids, compare and negotiate
  • Hire the right professionals
  • Revise the plans based on suggestions
  • Get necessary approvals
  • Renovation begins
  • Review the progress
  • It is time to pick out your finishes
  • Finally, the end is here  – ensure everything is completed.

“Moreover, along the journey, ensure continuous communication with your partner(s).

Along the way, many decisions will need your involvement. Surprises will pop up, that would need to be addressed by you. You need to schedule reviews at regular intervals. On the plus side, you can catch any issues early, and you can see the progress (or any lack of progress) at agreed milestones. On the flipside, you have to bear with the inconvenience until the project is complete.

“Be ready to allocate a fair amount of time to your project, even while you’ve hired others to do the work for you. Moreover, never get tired of asking questions if something is not clear to you.

Bottom Line – Is It Worth The Time and Money?

It is very uncomfortable if you have to suffer due to some damage in your home at times by ignoring the signs.  If it is a leaking roof or part of the walls has caved in, no matter how inconvenient a time it may be, you will need to fix it.

Likewise, from the context of a website:

  • If your brand is not visible when your customers are looking for you
  • Moreover, if they do manage to find you, they leave your site as it is not appealing and attractive,
  • There are no hooks to attract the visitors to visit you often,
  • And this is impacting your brand visibility and earning.

It is high time, you renovate your website. As you very well know, if a visitor is lost, it is very expensive and at times impossible to get their attention again.

“Be proactive with your investment, as it will definitely pay in the long run!

Part 1 of the Post discusses ‘8 Reasons How Building A Website Is Like Building A Home’. It’s all about understanding the building blocks to create a practical and engaging website.

Article was first posted in Marketers Touchpoint

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