The redesign and launch of a new utility website design takes foresight and careful planning to execute. Knowing what you want and what to expect is paramount to meeting your goals. Below, you will find some helpful questions to consider before meeting with one of our project managers, as well as some recommendations to guide you.
Who is your audience and why are they visiting your utility website?
Whether it is to pay a bill, check for outages, or transfer service, you should design your utility website around the expectations of your members or customers. Surveying your customers to learn what they find frustrating, or what they would like to see out of a new site, is a great way to get insight when making these important design and content decisions.
Who are your internal stakeholders?
Key stakeholders should be involved from the very beginning (rather than weighing in near the end) to ensure the success of the project. An unhappy, high-ranking stakeholder can upend the entire project and derail a finely tuned timeline, throwing the launch of the new website for your utility into chaos.
What isn’t working?
Explore your existing website from the mindset of a first-time visitor and ask yourself what isn’t working, and more importantly, why? Some common problems to keep an eye out for include:
- Broken links
- Incorrect information
- Confusing page names
- Discontinued forms
- Incorrectly displaying on smaller screens (such as mobile devices)
Migrating mistakes from the old website to the new one defeats the purpose of a redesign, so make sure you know what they are first. Our team of trusted web experts will conduct our own audit of your website as well, helping you come up with creative solutions for whatever problems we encounter.
What is the goal of the new website?
Knowing your goals for the new website from the very beginning provides clear-sighted direction for everyone involved. Some reasons for creating a new website or redesigning an old one for your utility organization may be:
- Your utility is rebranding, and the website needs to reflect these changes
- You want to increase the usability of the site by making it responsive to all screen sizes
- You want to repurpose all of your PDF forms to be made for the web
- Your website is simply outdated and built on old technology that is no longer relevant
Figure out the actionable goals you want to accomplish with the new site and then let that guide you forward to create a memorable online experience.
Domain & Hosting
Make sure your websites domain (the URL) is secure and renewed for the foreseeable future, and that it is hosted on a reliable server. The Powerful team is happy to provide a humanized web hosting experience, with SSL authentication and encryption, should you need it.
Timeline & Due Dates
Now that you have laid the groundwork for the utility’s website project it’s time to think about a timeline. It is best to map out the entire project from the beginning and agree upon important due dates so that everyone has the same expectations. Staying accountable to the timeline means keeping your project on track.
Deliverables and due dates go hand in hand and may include some of the following items:
- Logo files
- Photography and other media
Making sure deliverables are sent by their due date, as dictated by the timeline, keeps things moving forward.
Your utility website is often the primary way your customers will transact with your business, and the look and feel of it will help shape their opinion about the professionalism of your utility district, electric cooperative or other type of utility organization. A thoughtful, functional design will show competence that increases customer trust. When preparing for a redesign, ask yourself:
- What do you like about your current site’s look and feel?
- What don’t you like? Why?
- What are some examples from other websites you have seen that you like?
Make sure to include key stakeholders so you don’t have to change everything later on.
Often overlooked and undervalued, your website’s content is the main reason customers visit your site in the first place. Keeping content organized, fresh, and relevant can be the difference between your customers getting what they need or becoming frustrated and having a negative association with your utility.
- Thoroughly review your website’s content and ask what your customers need to know
- Do not use your site as an archive or repository for irrelevant content to your visitors
- Think about how best to organize your new website’s navigation structure
- Identify pages that need a little extra something to make them shine
- If using forms, decide if you want them web based or PDFs
Asking yourself these important questions before your project begins development will give you a great head start.
Building a new website may be huge undertaking, but we have developed a remarkably effective process and tools that can make the act of creation a joyful experience. By properly preparing for the utility website design project and knowing what you want before it officially kicks off, you can go a long way toward making it a smooth and enjoyable process.