Building a website is a lot like building a house. This article is designed to help you over the “what’s next?” hurdle that holds so many people back from tackling a website redesign. Whether your current site needs some work, or you want to knock your first website out of the park, contemplating the following questions before you start will save you considerable amounts of time, headache, and money.

1: What do you like about your current website?

There’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Make a list of all the elements that are working well for you in your current site and decide which ones can be carried over to the new site. You don’t have to start from scratch, but remember, what you like and what’s actually generating value for your business might not be the same thing. A professional design team can help you decide what makes the cut.

2: What kinds of functionality do you need?

The answer to this question might evolve, but it’s important to have a firm idea on what you need out of your website. Do you need a space to sell your product or accept donations? If so, a secure, robust payment processing system should be on the top of your wish list. Would you like to give visitors the opportunity to sign up for email newsletters or utilize a chatbot? Have you thought about including a customer relationship management system (CRM) to improve tracking and workflow efforts? The customization options are endless, so decide what features are most important and focus on those.

3: Who is your audience?

Understanding your primary user demographic is essential to the success of your website. The answer to this question affects everything from messaging and ad placement, to overall look and functionality. What makes sense to you might not be intuitive for your potential customers. Take time to get in their head and figure out what they are looking for out of your website.

4: What is your plan after the initial launch?

Think about content you plan to add down the road in order to stay relevant and generate new, quality leads. Having a post-launch plan in place before you even start on the new website will ensure your long term objectives are being taken into account during the design process.

5: What other types of marketing will you use alongside your website?

In order to get the most out of your shiny new website, you need to direct people to it from multiple sources. What types of marketing efforts make sense for your brand and how can you use them to generate traffic on your page? If you just sit back and wait for people to find your site, you’ll miss out on it’s full potential.