This past spring, I renovated my 52-year old bathroom — right down to the studs. When the contractor and plumber came to my house to talk about the project, they didn’t give me a quote right there on the spot — nor did they even give me a “ballpark estimate.” Instead, they asked me lots of questions:

** What did I not like about the current bathroom and why?

** Did I want to change the placement of the sink, tub, light fixtures, etc.?

** Was the ceiling fan of sufficient power to process steam from the shower?

We talked about the fact that I had a serious mold issue, that I wanted to remove a full length window that faced the street, and that I needed to create space for towel bars (the existing bathroom had only one!). I also had this funky linen closet that I wanted to close up on the bathroom side and turn into a coat closet on the hall side.

While I talked, they both took notes and made measurements. The plumber recommended the type of tub /shower I should purchase and told me to go look at them; the contractor asked lots of detailed questions about vanity height, type of mirror I wanted, tiles, etc. I stood there while they both fired away at me and felt my brain begin to fizzle.

I hadn’t considered any of this. I just wanted a new bathroom!

What struck me later, however, is how much this process dovetailed with how I help companies overhaul Websites — and how small business owners can become completely overwhelmed by it.

Because Websites are graphically rich, many companies begin the Web Overhaul process by calling a designer. This isn’t bad, but the problem often isn’t poor design. It’s that the Website doesn’t support a company’s business objectives (whatever they may be).

When the plumber and contractor came to my house, they didn’t ask what color I wanted to paint the new walls or what kind of fancy faucet I’d be installing. Instead, they asked lots of “get in under the hood” types of questions — questions that would help them understand how to create a bathroom that would solve my challenges (mold, privacy, hard water, and space, to name a few). The last thing on the list was what color I wanted to paint it.

Instead, I had to work with my contractor to develop a bathroom renovation strategy. The same is true for your Website.

Instead of beginning the Web Overhaul process with design questions, focus instead on two simple questions: “What challenges are we trying to solve?” and “How should the Website support our business objectives?”For the projects I’m currently working on, these challenges include:

  • “We’re not getting any leads.”
  • “We’re not showing up in Google.”
  • “Our product offering has changed.”
  • “We need completely revamped functionality.”
  • “We now sell products online.”

Once you have your challenges mapped out, you can then create a Web Overhaul strategy that ties into — and supports — your business objectives.

I’m happy to say that due to the up-front prep work, my bathroom renovation went very smoothly and stayed on schedule and on budget. Even better, I now have this cool new closet where I can hang coats. 🙂

Do you have a home renovation project you’d like to share? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Dianna Huff is the founder and president of Huff Industrial Marketing, a full service agency that tackles a host of marketing and communications challenges for manufacturing companies.

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