Thinking about refreshing your website in the next year or so? Then the time to start is now. A good website rebuild is going to take you many months’ planning and execution, and you really shouldn’t be overconfident in how quickly you’ll get it done. I’ve seen far too many websites that were so overdue – with the managing director’s patience clearly having run out – that they were rushed to public display without all the crucial final elements having been put in place. That includes things such as redirecting all of the old pages to the new ones (“the visitors don’t know about all that stuff, just get the thing launched will you?”). The MD who overruled the marketing department’s protestations on that matter will also be the same MD who’ll be furious that the new site’s Google rankings have plummeted compared to the old site.
But the main thing which suffers in an overambitious website development timetable is content. Unless your old website is full of informative background articles already, it’s probable that you’ll be using the new site as a chance to bring in lots of good authoritative content. Whether you write this yourself or pay a technical writer to produce it, that content takes time to plan and create. Even if your website redesign is only a vague idea for later this year, now’s the time to think about the big questions your prospects might be asking, and to get some good articles written on those subjects. Once the real redesign is under way, it’ll be a lot harder to find the time and money to create that essential content.