So you are called to attend a meeting to discuss the upcoming website relaunch. People from management, sales to HR attend the meeting.
Such meetings often miss a clear path because everyone has different expectations and levels of knowledge. That could lead to someone opening all sorts of websites and people saying “oh wow that looks great, can we copy that for our site?”
You want to avoid that.
Be prepared, have a clear structure of how this meeting should go and which topics need to be discussed.
The design of your website is just one topic of many that should be discussed.
This post gives you ideas on how to structure a website relaunch meeting.
You are not starting from scratch, you have a site up!
The goal is to collect opinions from inside the company, but also share data to create a common understanding of how the current website performs.
People outside marketing often forget that there is an existing site up. This site gets traffic already.
Cover the basics, like
- Traffic in the last six to twelve months
- Top-performing pages and entry points
- User flow (which pages users visit in succession)
- Where do your users come from (geolocation), how long do they stay
- What are the sources for your traffic (Google, social media, newsletter, …)
Share this data with the group to get to a common ground on what you are talking about.
Most websites use Google Analytics to collect that data, it is an endless data trove, don’t overwhelm your co-workers.
Who is the target group of your website?
Try to avoid a discussion about the design of your existing or future website in the beginning. Instead, focus on the discussion about the target group.
An event venue website might want to reach event organizers in a certain geography, an agile software company for insurance tech wants to reach decision-makers in IT, and so on.
Did the target group your business wants to reach change?
Is the target group already served and additional audiences should be reached?
Collect the feedback, challenge it and ask where this feedback is coming from.
If your site is getting some traffic (> 10K unique users a month) you could try to collect feedback from your visitors on your website.
What is the goal of your website?
Increasing traffic is not a useful goal.
Be specific, and paint a picture of what these audiences should make of the site in the first 20 seconds.
You can come up with very specific goals for every audience.
The goal of an event venue website is to get inquiries from event organizers. A software company could offer a whitepaper that showcases how a certain technology is used.
Prioritize your target groups and the goals (call to actions) you want them to take. Later on, in the project you can think about the content that triggers the intended action.
Is the content alright?
Let’s say you have 100 static pages up, how many of them need to be edited, rewritten, or archived?
Do you need new content to reach a different audience? What type of content would bring across the message?
Your content needs to be relevant to the audience you want to reach. The best-case scenario is that your content triggers an action or helps to brand your company. Every single page on your site should have a goal behind it.
Discussing this could lead to a content brainstorming, but that is something you want to postpone at this point.
What are the requirements for the new design?
That’s the one question where everyone has an opinion. Open the floor, everybody is allowed to share a few sites he/she thinks that is awesome.
Ask for favorite sites, what they like about them. The goal is to show that there are very different views of what “good design” is. Especially the difference between the look and usability.
View the sites from mobile viewport (F12 in Chrome). That reminds everyone that a mobile-first approach is needed and that many fancy elements from the desktop do not work well on mobile.
What are the technical requirements for the relaunch?
Are you happy with your content management system?
Do you miss any crucial features that would make running your website easier?
Any 3rd party integrations, like syncing open jobs to your site, or connecting other internal data to your website?
These points might only get answered and discussed by people who are actively working on your website.
One simple goal could be to improve usability and reduce the time needed to edit content.
Is it a relaunch or a refresh of your site?
Words can make a difference. Relaunch sounds like a big project you need lots of resources for, refresh could mean you rework some design- and content elements on your site.
You can give a website a new look and not touch the content at all, or you could edit all content and not touch the design.
Try to find out what your co-workers are unhappy with. Is it design, content, or the underlying technology?
This first meeting should allow you to get a feeling of how big this project gonna be.
Collect opinions, but channel them in categories
Different people from different backgrounds have completely different views on what the site should do for the company. As a marketer or designer, you will deal with people that may never have been part of a website relaunch project, and it may sound weird of what they want. But hear them out.
Channel everything in specific categories. Someone might say “we need a background video on the homepage”, another says, “a friend told me he does not understand what our company does”.
With discussing and answering all these questions you are laying the groundwork for the project.
All that should go in a document that is shared and the scope of the project is agreed on, only after that you should move on to creating the site concept.
A website is an ongoing marketing project/process
Depending on the type of company you work for, strengthen that the relaunch of a website is the starting point of an ongoing marketing process.
The days when your company page was a static page that gets relaunched every few years are over.
Today, a company website is a central part of your company’s success. That is clear to everyone reading this blog but maybe not everyone attending such meetings.