When it comes to redesigning a website, cost is an important factor. Handing the project over to an experienced agency or development shop might seem like the easiest option, but it can also be the most expensive. If your team can handle it, choosing to undertake some parts of the project internally can save money, but it also might be met with some resistance – especially if web design and development isn’t your specialty.
So what’s the best course of action for you? It depends on the specifics, and the scope of your redesign. Whether you choose to tackle the project internally, or outsource it, there are some ways to save money.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
It all starts with a purpose. Before giving your team the go-ahead, or requesting help from a potential partner, consider the goals your redesign will help you accomplish. This might seem obvious, but having a specific purpose for your project ensures that everyone involved has a common vision.
Clarifying your purpose can, in part, be accomplished through stakeholder interviews and user research. This process has little to no cost, and gives you insight into the changes or additions site owners and site users want to see. Interviews refine the direction of the project, and make its goals and desired outcomes more explicit.
Another beneficial pre-redesign step is to reexamine your marketing personas. If your site has not been updated for some time, it’s possible that your content or design no longer successfully serve your intended audiences. Updating these personas allows you to better define internal goals for the project and restrategize your content and marketing efforts for the redesigned site.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
At the start of a redesign process, it’s common to have high expectations for the redesigned site. It’s important to ask yourself about the new features will you add and how much they will improve your site.
Site redesigns don’t need to reinvent the wheel. While the final product should certainly be an improvement, keeping expectations and the scope of the project both simple and realistic saves time and money down the line.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, REPURPOSE
If you’ve had a website for awhile, you’ve likely got a large repository of content that’s built up over the years. One of the best places to start your site redesign is with a content audit.
Analyzing how certain pages and content types perform will let you know which content practices to maintain, and which to change or adapt. Removing and archiving outdated or irrelevant website pages reduces the size of your site, and thus the scope of your overall redesign. It also cuts down on the amount of hours a third party would have to spend doing the same task.
It’s important to remember that not all outdated content is a total loss and it can be repurposed and reused for the new site. For example, perhaps you have a blog post that really underperformed but the topic is still relevant to your business. Instead of archiving the post and never revisiting the topic, consider rewriting it to reflect the current state of your business, or turn it into another piece of content like an ebook, infographic, or social media post.
If your current website is difficult to maintain and manage, then a redesign is the perfect time to consider migrating to an open-source CMS.
Open-source software is freely distributed, and offers teams more flexibility when it comes to creating, editing, publishing, and collaborating on website content. Open-source software is supported by a community of developers that constantly contribute to, and update the platform to increase security, fix bugs, and rollout new features.
Whether you choose to outsource it, handle it internally, or use some combination of both, managing expectations, leveraging existing content, and migrating to an open-source CMS are just a few ways to reduce the overall cost of your website redesign.