Let’s be real, planning for a new utility website can be intimidating. We do it all the time and it can still be overwhelming getting started on a project.
As with all projects, the key to getting through your preparation is breaking it up into smaller pieces. Let’s take a look at some of the planning stages for a website redesign.
Gather pre-existing materials
When preparing for a website redesign, many existing materials you have on hand will be of use. In particular, locate and gather the following types of files and information.
- Your company logo is one of the foundational parts of your visual identity. Make sure you have a clean, clear, high quality version ready to use on the new website.
- The best format to use is a vector based format generated from the original digital artwork. EPS, SVG, and AI formats all work for this purpose. Vector files cleanly scale up or down in size with no loss in quality, giving our team the maximum amount of flexibility and quality to work with.
- The second best format is a high quality raster or bitmap version of your logo. Vector is the ideal format, but if you can’t find it, go for the highest resolution, cleanest looking PNG or TIFF file you can find.
- In some cases you may not be able to find any high quality version of your logo at all. That’s okay — we understand, it happens. Usually if you send us the best version you have available, one of our graphic artists can manually redraw it in software like Adobe Illustrator to give us a clean, scaleable version to work with.
Style guide and marketing materials
If you have a company style guide document for your utility, now is the time to locate it. Here are some helpful items the style guide might contain:
- Specific company colors and color schemes
- Information on the official company fonts
- Logo variations
- Logo display guidelines, such as recommended sizing and spacing
This information will be used by our design team to make sure your website shares a visual identity with the rest of your official materials.
Photographs taken by you or your employees can be a key piece of your new design. These can be used front and center in some areas of the design or simply serve as accent or background pieces.
Sort through any existing photography you have, wether it’s professional or just casual snaps from a phone. Keep a particular lookout for:
- Personnel photos and portraits (useful if you intend to feature a “meet the team” type of page on the website)
- “In the field” and “around the office” photos: photos of your company doing its thing
- Photos of your company building / location: can serve as a familiar site for site visitors or introduce them to your location before they visit you in person.
- Local landscape photography: many cooperatives and utility districts serve an entire area. Photos of the surrounding area, including well known landmarks and wildlife can serve to visually enhance your connection to the community.
Website analytics data
“Numbers don’t lie”. In the case of website analytics, these truths can be great information to inform decisions on content. Things that analytics can tell you include:
- Which pages are most popular
- Which pages people visit first
- How much time your site visitors spend on each page and the website in total
If you are running an analytics package, we’ll bet it’s Google Analytics, by far the most popular analytics package. To provide the information to our team from Google Analytics, you can export the data to CSV or provide our Read & Analyze permissions to the Google Analytics property.
Information and credentials for third party integrations
If you have third party services integrated with your website, now is the time to gather login credentials and make notes about how the integrations are set up. Here are a few examples:
- Payment integrations (i.e. SmartHub by NISC, SEDC, PCS, Invoice Cloud, etc)
- Mailing list sign up forms (i.e. MailChimp, Survey Monkey, iContact, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, etc)
- Job listing and applicant tracking (i.e. NeoGov)
- Third party form tools (i.e. Pronto Forms)
- Embedded calendars
Collecting this information will give our team a leg up in connecting these integrations on your new website.