The Arduous Journey of a Site Redesign: Everything You Have to Be Prepared for
There comes a time in every creative professional's life when a site redesign is in order. In my case, my site redesign was way overdue, so I couldn't postpone it any longer. What I wasn't prepared for, unfortunately, was how frustrating and long the whole process was, from the time I committed myself to the site redesign until its completion!
I'm a copywriter, so I use my professional website as a deadly marketing tool that advertises my numerous services, shows off my portfolio, and lets prospective clients and editors find me and get in touch with me. A good amount of business has been generated through my website, so I only thought it natural to finally spruce it up and turn it into a sleek, killer site - to increase conversions, natch.
However, the road from my design vision to its successful completion was long and hard.
It all began when I finally decided that my site needed a massive facelift, and I'm talking a major overhaul and makeover. After all, this was my old site. Pretty damn pathetic, eh? Of course, it was! Sure, my picture was the only saving grace, but the old site was your basic WordPress CMS, which is absolutely the most basic site that any creative professional could have.
When you're just starting out or are okay with only being at a certain level in your career, then a WordPress site is fine and dandy, but if you want to step it up and tell the world that you're a pro and on top of your game, then you'll need a site that's sleeker, cutting edge and more modern, for sure.
So what did I do? I immediately committed myself to getting a site redesign that was highly unique and would make me stand out with force immediately. That's why I settled on parallax scrolling for my new site. Not only is it ultra-nifty, but it's also still hot enough not to have worn out its welcome.
Putting the Plan Into Action
My next step was actualizing my intention by finding a highly qualified web-design company to handle the redesign. Little did I know that getting professionals to design a site that's not WordPress-based, doesn't use crummy web templates and runs on its own custom CMS would cost a pretty penny. Well...you live and learn!
I did so much comparison shopping by contacting one web-design firm after another that I found on numerous "best web-design firm" lists that I almost had a conniption. Alright, not really, but I at least got a clearer picture on the pricing structure of an extremely sleek, modern and professional design. Many of the high-end firms charge five digits - I kid you not - for websites since they usually work with companies and businesses of various sizes.
That left me out in the cold. However, fortunately for me, one guy at a highly rated firm got in touch with me to give me the name of one of his design guys at the firm who designs and develops websites as a freelancer, on the side. Awesome, I thought, since that cut the cost for me down to a few thousand bucks from five figures, but getting a guy at a firm who does freelance design on the side has its good and bad side.
All told, from the time I started researching my site-design options to the time my brand spanking new site went live, it took approximately five months. I'll write that again: five freaking months! That's definitely a con of going with a freelance designer since he has his day job that subtracts how much time and effort he can invest only on your project. Of course, since the guy works for a top-notch design firm, the end result was impressive (hey, I'm biased!), so I'd say I got my money's worth, nonetheless.
Still, though, as the five months dragged on, I could see my designer couldn't devote as much time as quickly to my project as I wanted him to. Sure, in the first month of initial contact with him, before I paid him the first installment, everything was rosy, and there was no hint at all of any protracted length of time for completion. Naturally, though, you can attribute that to a professional wanting to land a new client. Then, after my first payment, reality set in and things started to go slower and slower until they were just chugging along.
The months that followed were filled with countless emails back and forth, many design mockups I'd see, lots of fine-tuning to the design, hosting issues that were worked out, and me pressing my design guy to hurry up, to no avail. Yeah, the guy has a day job, but still! C'mon! It's not like I was paying him chicken feed. Clearly, I wasn't high up on the guy's priority list, but that's just the nature of the beast.
The Final Resolution
Nonetheless, in spite of the frustration of how much longer than expected it took, my final site design and the site's functionality blew me away. I'm a happy customer though I obviously wanted the process to go faster; sometimes, I felt like I was an afterthought!
Today, my site is live, it looks aesthetically stunning and I obtained the professional look that I wanted all along. It's really an amazing thing when your website goes from the conception in your head (though my designer did a stellar job on the design and development, everything you see on my site is actually intact from my initial conception, with only very small changes from my designer) to an actual entity that's live for everyone to see!
Any other creative professional out there with a memorable story (good or bad) of a website redesign? If so, then unburden your soul in the comments section below.
Books on Amazon that will help you with your site redesign:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marc Schenker is a freelance writer, blogger and editor who's written on web design, conversion, photography and entertainment. You can find out more about him on marcschenkercopywriter.com.