Redesigning your website: 5 ways to avoid a nightmare replatforming

Whiteboard showing notes for website redesign

I've grown up in a marketing profession where 12-to-18-month website redesign projects were the norm. In fact I've endured more web redesign and replatforming projects than I care to count. Every one of them was an excruciating process involving many late nights, burned out teams, missed timelines—and yes, now gray hairs. Requirements documents took months to finalize, while wireframes and design mockups took even longer. And after all of that we’d finally get started on the actual project...about five months later.

If you're like me and have also suffered through year-long site launches or overhauls, you’ve been conditioned (read: brainwashed) to believe that this is just how it is. You know to expect nothing less than a long, difficult, costly, grueling project. But I’m here to tell you: It doesn’t have to be like that anymore.

Times have changed. The modern platforms available today can actually expedite projects from a 12-month (or more) process, to a 12-week process. It’s now possible to launch or relaunch a personalized, world-class experience faster and more easily than ever without draining your budget, team, and timeline. To help set you up for success, our resident experts—Chief Delivery Officer David Habib and VP of Product Meredith Rodkey—shared their "Top 5" best practices for avoiding a nightmare-ish redesign project in our most recent webinar. An overview of their tips and tricks can be found below.

5 Ways to Avoid a Lengthy Web Redesign

Once you’ve decided you need to upgrade to a new CMS, the first thing you'll want to do is assure your team that the project won’t take several years off their lives and result in needless cycles of work and rework. How? The answer is to have a plan, assemble the right team, commit to the process, acknowledge that change is hard, and pick the right partner.

Have a Plan
First things first. Have a plan! This might sound silly or obvious, but many people come to us without a plan or project scope, and without knowing what “done” looks like. Before you do anything else, you need to make sure you’ve mapped out:

  • Your basic requirements. What do you need/want to accomplish?
  • The prioritization of those requirements. What matters the most vs. which areas have more wiggle room?
  • Anticipated resources and costs. What is your estimated budget?
  • Your expected output and results. What does the finish line look like for this project?

Once you’ve completed your scope and requirements prioritization, it’s important to get buy-in from all stakeholders before embarking on the project. This way, everyone who needs to be aligned on priorities and the business/financial commitment can get on the same page before you start.

Assemble the Right Team
Another way to avoid a lengthy redesign process is to assemble a core redesign team. It’s important to enlist the right internal team to oversee and be a part of your project. This team should represent a cross-section of your entire company, or at least represent the parts of your organization that will be working within the CMS on a regular basis. Consider including representatives from:

  • Leadership
  • IT/Developers
  • Marketing
  • Editorial and Content
  • UX/Design
  • Product

While it’s important to include deciders—those with the final say on business decisions—make sure to enlist those who will be actively using the CMS on a regular basis. Whether laying out your requirements or assessing new platforms, including editors/publishers, in-house developers, and content creators very early on is a best practice. Creating a collaborative, communicative team is key to project success.

Commit to the Process
Once you have the right team in place, designate a leader that will serve as the main liaison between your team and your technology partner. Leadership needs to be fully committed to the project and the project leader must be:

  • Ready: prepared to go “all in” on moving to and launching a new platform.
  • Responsive: ready to respond quickly to both vendor and internal questions and concerns.
  • Realistic: willing to de-scope and prioritize different aspects of the project.

In our experience, the most successful customers are those who are ready, realistic, and responsible and go “all in” on the project from the outset.

Acknowledge that Change is Hard
Remember, what you’re ultimately doing is making a major change within your organization and adjusting the way people work. Maybe you’re even transforming the business from the ground up. Organizations, by nature, resist change and so you should expect some speed bumps along the way. Still, you’re getting something brand new, not an exact replica of what you had—change is what you signed up for!

But while change is scary and can be hard, it’s also a lot of fun. This is an opportunity to move past what is holding you back. It’s also a chance to reacquaint yourself with you business and its processes.

Consider what is working and what isn’t. Think about how this new solution will drive you forward and be open to new possibilities. Have fun and enjoy the ride!

Pick the Right Partner
If you're thinking about replatforming, it's important to select a technology partner who meets your specific needs—a partner who knows your business inside and out and is invested in helping you. Do the research! And request a demo. Any partner that you’re considering is going to be happy to show you all the bells and whistles included in their system.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, consider which vendor is the best fit for your requirements and culture. Keep in mind that you’ll be working with this partner for at least a couple of months. Make sure to pick a vendor you actually like doing business with. It’s not just the technology surrounding the solution, but the people behind that technology, that matter.

Accelerated Site Launches & Migrations with Brightspot

Over the past 18 months, we’ve taken customer feedback and market requests and turned it into the latest version of our next-generation CMS: Brightspot 4.0. With Brightspot 4.0, you have the power to launch an enterprise site in under 90 days. As a turnkey solution for high-speed deployments, Brightspot’s accelerator kits include:

  • Flexible Frontend Templates
  • More than 80 pre-packaged content types
  • 200+ Integrations
  • In-CMS Developer Tools

We call it “Start, Finish, Customize.” You get out of the gates wicked fast by starting with standard backend components and templates, finish the implementation, launch, then customize all the bells and whistles.


Related resources

February 19, 2021
Product managers sit at the heart of every project that a product touches. Their input will help you to get the best out of a product and flex its capabilities to best support your organization and its customers. Find out the formula for product success here.
4 Min Read
March 05, 2021
To celebrate International Women’s Day, our recent webinar on "The Future of Women in Tech" explored some of the varied paths available to women looking to build a career in technology.
5 Min Read
By Brightspot Staff
November 09, 2020
As the need to transform digitally increases, businesses’ likely first question is, "Where do we begin?” Here are the three key things to look for in a CMS as you start on the path toward digital transformation.
4 Min Read

All Brightspot Features

The Brightspot Content Business Platform is built by publishers and developers, and is designed to grow with your business.
A robust set of tools to manage sites, content, users and permissions, workflows, languages, and analytics.
Keyword-driven and comprehensive, filterable search and taxonomy features make folders a thing of the past.
Intuitive and designed for the work, including rich-text editing and collaboration features that make teamwork work.
Start publishing content rapidly thanks to built-in, extensible content types including text assets, media, pages and much more.
Drive deeper engagement and personalized experiences by leveraging authentication, profiling, segmentation and affinity features.
Built to be a bridge to all your systems and data, start with one of the 70 plug-and-play integrations, or build your own custom integration.
Meet users where they are thanks to syndication and distribution tools like RSS, sitemaps, SEO tools, social publishing and translation support.
Front-end agnostic means businesses can publish how they want—headless or decoupled—all from the same environment.

Move your business forward with Brightspot

Get the publishing speed you need with Brightspot. Book your personalized walk-through today!