When my business partner and I started out with Huemor we didn’t have a lot to work with.
We weren’t leaving large, prestigious agencies to strike it out on our own. We didn’t have a list of clients we were taking with us, and we didn’t really understand sales prospecting and pipelining.
The truth of the matter is, we were a couple of college grads without much experience. What we did have, however, was a ton of creativity and the drive to work really hard to be successful.
As visual design majors, we understood the importance of branding. People buy things because of how they feel about them. Those feelings are influenced by a strong brand identity.
Our website was our greatest chance of communicating that branded message to our audience, and we recognized early on, as a creative production company, it would be our biggest asset. So that is exactly why we've always focused on developing an innovative website design.
This article, however, isn’t meant to share all of the successes and failures of our early years as a web design agency; it’s to talk about a question I get from friends and entrepreneurs.
The question is usually poised something like this: “Your business is established and you already have a pretty good website, why do you keep changing it?” So here’s why we keep innovating the design of our website, and why we think you should too.
Building A New Website Improves How You Do Business
A website should be the full digital representation of a company and its offerings. So going through the process of creating a new innovative website design is the best opportunity for a company to analyze everything it’s doing. When we go through a redesign, we ask a series of questions about the brand:
- Does our brand identity match who we are today?
- Does the voice of the business accurately reflect our culture and values?
- What makes us different?
- Do we actually do the things we say we do?
- Why do our clients choose to work with us?
I can rattle off a million more, but as you can probably tell, none of these questions have to do with technical details. They’re business questions we need to have good answers for, and if we don’t, well, now’s the time to answer them.
Every single time we go through a website redesign, the answers to these questions either change or mature. It keeps us in check with both the growth of our company and how it’s evolving and the growth of the digital industry as a whole. This allows us to communicate the most accurate depiction of ourselves to the outside world.
Overall, we use it as the catalyst to drive ourselves forward. Sometimes the change is dramatic, sometimes it’s not, but there’s always room for improvement within our company.
Often, we find the answers have a ripple effect on how we do things within the organization. We might find our needs have changed but our processes haven’t caught up. That could affect how we communicate in our pitches, how we set the tone for company culture, and how internal communications are handled.
It Pushes Your Employees Further (In A Good Way)
Yes, predictability is comfortable. It also can be extremely boring. We use our redesigns as an opportunity to break people out of their daily routine. Things like fast-paced brainstorming sessions or full internal work days (dubbed Fruity Fridays because our site iterations have codenames like Dragonfruit and Mangosteen) get people excited.
This excitement continues through the rest of their work, and the rest of their work week. It also gives our team the opportunity to show off what they can do or figure out things they can’t.
We conduct these open sessions with a flat management approach. By giving everyone the same level of importance and say in the project we get a more diversified outlook on our brand. Employees are often capable of doing more than what’s in their job description, or what’s expected of them. We’ve had plenty of opportunities where employees have shown their leadership capabilities, or revealed a new skill we never knew they had. As you can imagine, these types of revelations are not only beneficial to the project at hand, but extremely valuable for the company overall.
It’s Our Biggest Sales Tool (And Probably Yours, Too)
This last point is kind of obvious based on the nature of our business, but might not be super obvious for you and your company.
People judge you on your websites design. If your website was built in 1999 on geocities and hasn’t been updated since chances are people think your business is sketchy and won’t work with you.
Our site has always been a direct reflection of what we’re capable of. This stems back from what I said at the beginning of this article: we didn’t have any clients or connections, so our only way to show people what we were capable of and generate business leads was through our website. Having a tangible example of our creative and technical prowess was what allowed us to win our early accounts.
Today, we continue to push our site with that mentality. Every year our team grows, learns new things, and gets better, and we make sure our website is a constant reflection of that. That, in and of itself, opens more doors for us.
If you don’t sell creative services (and I’m assuming the majority of you don’t) there’s other ways you can improve your opportunities for sales through your site.
From a general content perspective, you’ll get a clearer message of what it is you do, and what makes you unique. You’ll constantly be providing your most up-to-date product or service offerings information and finding opportunities to highlight key initiatives your company has been a part of.
Getting more specific with data is where you can really uncover new opportunities to make a truly innovative website. If you’re not tracking everything your users are doing on your website, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Look into tools like Google Analytics, Lead Forensics, and Hotjar to really understand who your audience is and how they behave.
With this type of information on hand, you’ll be able to identify what works and what doesn’t. You’ll be able to discover more about the information they need at key points.
Redoing our website design is the catalyst of change in our organization - it's not just a matter of web design vs web development. It helps us innovate and improve our company in various ways, from sales, to operations, to company culture. Much of this has to do with our focus on the bigger picture in terms of what a website represents, rather than looking at it as a lump of code. Leverage your redesign process as an opportunity to invigorate your business while also producing an innovative website design.