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Making a business argument for redesigning our business website

  • # April 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Hello Hello.

    I’m working at a company that has a bad website.
    I’m going to give a presentation to our decision makers as to why I think I should be tasked with redesigning/developing a new site…

    My reasons..

    • Search Engine Visibility is extremely poor.
    • Functionally, the site is badly designed. The navigation hierarchy doesn’t make sense, information is too segregated, and the site doesn’t work well on a variety of computers/web browsers.
    • Text is rendered as image which creates usability issues, and further hinders search engine visibility.
    • It has a dated, generic, amateur look to it.
    • It is slow.

    I’m having trouble drafting a lucid business case for redeveloping our site. I believe their attitude is that it’s, “good enough” and ultimately not that important to their core business objectives.

    Frankly, I’m realizing that I’m not that good at selling this redesign. I don’t have a business background, and the language and business logic aren’t intuitive too me.

    Does anyone have suggestions related to my quandary? I’d like to pose this question to other design forums too if anyone has suggestions..

    # April 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Can we see the site ?

    # April 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Sorry, I can’t disclose the site. It’s not all that relevant to my question though!

    # April 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    You list some pretty solid reasons to redesign. Just expand on them, explaining why the current set up is, for example, resulting in poor search engine visibility, and how a redesign could change this.
    With skeptics a big thing is to list key benefits of the redesign, though you do have to keep perspective that some of the results can be hard to measure.
    If you’re using some kind of site analytics, reference those numbers and how they can be improved.
    Depending on the business, consider showing their site compared to a competitor’s site that you think is working.
    In the end, some businesses just don’t think they need to a good web presence and there’s nothing you can do about factors beyond your control. I recently talked with a restaurant owner who’s site looks like it was made in 1999. After presenting a case for redesign, the owner was still extremely apathetic to the idea due to 1. Business was good and consistent so he didn’t really see a redesign benefiting him that much and 2. (I only know this because I have friends you work at said restaurant) He’s extremely tight with his money.

    # April 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    WhiteInk, those tips are extremely helpful.

    Specifically, comparing our business site to others. We’re in an architecture/medical/planning industry. Our site, by contrast to some of the industry leaders, really looks amateur.

    Analytics is a great strategy to explore as well. Their response will likely be more favorable to, “this should generate an additional 2000 visitors annually, a 47% increase over last year” versus, “we’ll have a really good looking site that will look better and totally get more hits”.

    Our company is busy and successful, so there isn’t this hunger to market for business we don’t have time to do. Your story about the the restaurant owner rings true here. However, I would say that this attitude is problematic, presupposing the future. Websites are time intensive projects that will be deployed in an environment that may look slightly different than the one we’re in today. As such, one might argue that it’s important to improve upon what you can, so that you don’t wake up one day to find yourself behind the curve.

    # April 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Sounds to me like you’ve got a fairly good business case already. Business people like bulleted lists, and you’ve got a solid one right there! :)

    What I’d probably do is what Whiteink is saying – I’d go find a really great website within your industry, and a very poor one.

    I’d start giving them the poor example, have them look at it for 5 seconds, then ask them what the company is or does. Then, do the same thing with the really good example. They will probably have an idea of what the good example does. And then explain that what they just did was what most web users do: judge a site and what it does in about 5 seconds and decide to leave or stay.

    Then use your logic above in a nice little presentation binder and inform your superiors that your current website is about as bad as the poor example. Pull some numbers from Google on how many people might be looking for your business and how you are effectively outside the selection process for the average web user. Then just see how they react!

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