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5 Essential Questions to Ask Before Starting a Website Build or Refresh

There’s something about this time of year that gets us thinking about organizing our closets, clearing out unnecessary clutter in the basement, and doing some overdue yard cleanup. Warmer air and longer days often inspire us to work on things we’ve been putting off all winter. 

Just like we feel compelled to refresh our personal spaces each spring, it’s also common for business owners to think about giving their websites a complete makeover. If you’re feeling the itch to build (or rebuild) a website that truly communicates the value you offer to your customers, you’re not alone.

Recent studies show the “average lifespan of a website is about 2 years and 7 months.”[1]

Creating and maintaining a powerful digital storefront for your business is essential to keeping it visible and relevant to your target audience. There’s one thing startups and well-established businesses can bet on—your website will always be a work in progress. 

If you’re lucky enough to be in business for a long time, you may need to update your website several times throughout the life of your business. As your business grows and changes, it’s important that your website always reflects your current offerings and continues to speak to your ideal audience. On the other hand, if your business is just getting started, your website build process will be very different from a website refresh. 

However, both instances will require considerable research, reflection, and planning to achieve both long-term and short-term goals. 


Get Clear About Your Objectives

Whether you’re starting from scratch or overhauling an existing website, it’s imperative to ask all the right questions before you begin. As a creative agency that has built websites for businesses of all sizes, we can tell you from experience that starting a website build or rebuild without clear goals or a solid strategy is a recipe for disaster for everyone involved. 

From brand messaging to user experience, every aspect of your website deserves careful consideration. Remember, your website is not just your digital storefront but a powerful tool for engaging and connecting with your audience in meaningful ways.

When deciding to undergo a full website development or a significant overhaul, it’s important to understand everything that goes into making a website look and work the way it’s supposed to.


5 Key Questions to Ask

If you think it might be time to give your website the attention it deserves, here are some essential questions to ask before you get started.

Why do you really want to build or redo your website?

There are so many reasons to build a stunning website or make improvements to an existing one. Think about what you’re really trying to get out of your investment. Here are some examples:

  • Sell products/and or services online
  • Generate leads for future sales
  • Create brand awareness and establish trust
  • Provide tangible solutions to your ideal customers’ challenges
  • Position yourself as an authority in the industry
  • Provide valuable and relevant information that can’t be found anywhere else
  • Drive traffic to a physical location
  • Promote one-time offers and/or digital and in-person events

In many cases, you may desire to achieve all (or most) of the above. But if your website is already doing some of the above for you, a website refresh may only be targeting one or two of these goals. By identifying which one(s) are most important to you right now, you can often simplify the process by going all in on the ones that matter most.

That being said, the process of building or rebuilding a website often requires examining how each of these factors contributes to your overall objective, which is typically to continue growing your business and increasing sales. 

Pro Tip: Remember to create a system to measure your website’s performance! At Pivot, we identify key performance indicators (KPIs), such as website traffic, conversion rates, and engagement metrics, and integrate the appropriate tools to gain insight into areas for improvement and optimization long after the launch.

What’s working on your current website, and what’s not?

The quest to rebuild a website often stems from the realization that, in its current state, it is not functioning or performing in the way you want or need it to. First, identify what is working and celebrate that! Next, take a closer look at what isn’t working, which can help you better define your goals for the project. Here are a few ways websites sometimes fall short.


You’re not asking for the sale or lead. 

Do you have enough or the right calls to action placed strategically throughout your website? If you’re not asking for the sale or telling visitors how to make a purchase or learn more, you might be missing out on prospects who are ready to buy but don’t know where to start.


Your brand messaging is fuzzy, at best.

Does your offering sound like every other similar offer out there? Do you have a compelling brand personality that sets you apart from your competitors? If you’re saying what everyone else is saying without bringing a unique voice to the table, why should you expect people to buy from you vs. someone else?


Your website is difficult to navigate.

You know your offering and industry inside and out because of your passion for what you do and the high level of expertise you’ve developed over time. But your prospects don’t necessarily understand things on the same level as you. They’re looking for information and solutions to complex problems, and they want to be able to find it quickly. If your website is overloaded with information and poorly organized, visitors can get frustrated easily, causing them to leave to find what they’re looking for elsewhere.


Your website design is outdated, hard to read, or doesn’t function properly.

Here’s the harsh truth: if your website looks like it was created in the ‘90s or even the early 

2000s, most online consumers are not going to stick around and see what you have to offer. Are there broken links or unpolished pages? Is your text too small or placed over images, making it hard to read? If your website isn’t accessible, mobile-friendly, aesthetically appealing, and easy to scroll through, you don’t stand much of a chance in today’s market. 


Your focus is on your business vs. solving your customers’ problems.

People want to be understood and know that you understand their challenges. They want to know how you’ve helped others in similar situations. While it’s important to explain why your products or services are valuable, some businesses take this too far and neglect to address their prospects’ needs. If the majority of your website copy talks about how great your business is and doesn’t explain why someone might need what you have to offer, you may be unintentionally turning visitors off. 

We could go on and on, but these are some of the most common reasons we get from business owners looking to upgrade their websites.


3. Do You Have a Strong and Pleasant Brand Identity?

Is your brand engaging and aesthetically pleasing to look at? While a strong logo can be a powerful tool for creating a winning brand identity, it’s not the only aspect of your website people are drawn to. Additional factors that can attract visitors to your website include:

  • A pleasing color palette
  • Accessible brand fonts
  • High-quality and authentic brand imagery
  • Consistent brand messaging
  • Clear brand values
  • Distinct brand voice
  • Showing the humans behind the brand
  • Engaging content

If your brand identity feels inconsistent or undefined to your audience, it can be difficult for people to build trust and loyalty. If your prospects don’t feel connected to your brand, it’s easier for them to move on and find one they vibe better with.


4. Do you really want to write your own website copy?

The quality of your website’s copy can make or break its effectiveness. Consider whether you have the expertise and time to craft compelling copy on your own or if outsourcing to a professional copywriter would yield better results. Do you have time to write copy for all the pages on your website and to organize it in a way that makes it easy and effective for your web development team to implement it into your new design?

Often, not hiring a copywriter or full-service agency to provide this service will considerably delay the website launch, so it’s important to understand what you’re committing to if you decide to go this route.


5. What type of agency do you want to work with?

When embarking on a website project, it’s important to work with a web development agency that can help you achieve your goals.

Do you want to work with a big or small agency?

While bigger development agencies typically have more staff and can often move through projects fairly quickly, personal attention provided to each individual client is often lacking. Consider working with a small but mighty team of creative professionals who genuinely care about your business growth and are committed to doing what it takes to help you reach your goals.


Do you want to work with a specialized agency?

If your industry is highly specialized, you may prefer to work with an agency that has experience building websites in that field. However, many agencies excel in doing in-depth research and discovery sessions with your stakeholders to collect all the information necessary to present your brand in an authentic and accurate manner.


Do you want to work with a full-service agency?

While you may feel you only need to work with a company that offers web development and design services, it’s worth considering all the options. A full-service creative agency will offer expertise in everything from brand strategy to web development and design to SEO optimization and more. 


Will you need additional services beyond a website build?

For now, you may only need web development and design services, but what about after the website launch? Consider whether you might need additional marketing services to ensure you get the most out of your investment.


Ready to Build or Rebuild Your Website?

Make no mistake: building or refreshing a website is a significant undertaking; it requires careful planning and consideration. Once you’ve answered all the questions above (don’t skip this part!), you’ll be ready to create a website that aligns with your brand’s objectives, resonates with your target audience, and achieves your desired outcomes.  

If you need help from an agency committed to your success, Pivot can provide an integrated digital solution to help you stand out in a crowded marketplace. Contact us today to learn more.


  1. https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/website-lifespan-and-you/

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