Prepping for a Redesign: Audits

Prepping for a Redesign: Audits

For an organization to continue to be successful in a global market, it needs to adapt and evolve to meet the latest marketing mandate. Even the most compelling brand changes and evolves to stay relevant. Your website needs to reflect these changes. If it doesn’t represent your brand, than it’s not working effectively.

You know you need a redesign (and maybe a replatform; it’s a good time to do both). Now what? Budgets are tight and demand is high. How do you begin a redesign project?

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Conducting Audits

To know what to ask for, you need to take stock of what you have. What content is on the site? How is the site performing? What tools and integrations do you have? Before you can bring in a digital agency to deliver on your future brand vision, you need to take a step back and evaluate your present-day site. This is where audits come in.

There are several types of audits you should conduct on your site:

  • Data
  • Content
  • UX
  • SEO
  • Demand generation
  • Operation
  • Tools / software / integrations

Identify your key health metrics: Set your baselines and average and historical, or key insight as to where you site is insuccificnet. Deep dive into all relevant performance metrics. Where are conversion points breaking down? Where are the opportunities costs?

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Once you have your data audit complete, handoff to your user-experience team. Your UX audit will look into your current information architecture and what improvements can be made, taking your data audit into consideration.

Your content audit may be the most time consuming, depending on the volume of content you have. However, using the date audit as backup, now is the time to purge any assets that are outdated or no longer performing. Include the value of each asset, not just a list to help inform the decision on what to move and what not to move to your new site. Make sure to take an audit of demand generation before purging assets or pages in case there are active campaigns running that you need to end or reroute.

Next, conduct your SEO audit, building on both the data audit and the content audit. This adds another layer of information to help you determine what your site might be lacking. What content has SEO equity, what drives traffic, what ranks, etc. Also, think future-forward; what are some of the industry topics you should rank for but don’t presently?

Your website doesn’t just belong to you. Many other teams, both within marketing and throughout the organization have connections to your corporate site. An operation audit is recommended, especially if you are a global organization. How do different offices interact with the site? What are some of the regional requirements they need? This is also your opportunity to discuss and list out how the workflow and process for the new site will work going forward Address what’s working and what’s not ahead of time to ensure a smooth relaunch.

The last audit to complete is the tools, software and plugins audit. List out all the integrations you currently have on your site. You may even want to do a cursory compliance audit. Is your site up to today’s compliance standards? Are there any new regulations coming down the pipe that you can do with the redesign and replatform (e.g. GDPR)?

All of these audits serve as the basis for your narrative, outlines in the creative brief, which we will discuss next. However, a pro tip to get ahead of the game; use your narrative to start pre-selling and expectation setting for why you need a new site. Start your pitch and build your allies going into the brief. Make sure your CIO / CTO, marketing ops and IT are ready to be your co-champions. Make them hungry for the investment case.

Eric Williamson

VP, Digital Marketing Acquia, Inc.

As vice president of digital marketing, Eric Williamson leads the team that oversees all of Acquia's digital properties, editorial content development, analytics and insights, and the digital and social marketing efforts for the brand. In addition, he also leads the brand strategy for Acquia.

Before joining Acquia in 2017, Eric spent 10 years working in the advertising agency world. Most recently he was SVP, digital & social at MullenLowe Group, and before that he was VP, digital strategy at The Martin Agency. During his time on the agency side, he worked with a variety of brands, including Google, Microsoft, Intel, GEICO, Pizza Hut, Acura, Royal Caribbean, Hyatt, and Ulta Beauty.

Eric and his family are originally from Texas and currently reside in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He earned his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas.