The filters in your home, the oil in your car, the lights in your home ... there are some things in life that are designed to last a specific length of time.
However, your website is not necessarily one of these things. Knowing when you should redesign your website is a little like taking a self-assessment quiz.
You have to carefully analyze several components, all while actively weighing the pros and cons of a new site before you begin the redesign process.
How To Know If It Is Time To Refresh Your Site
In a digital age when the consumer is always right and the top SEO rankings are given to the most user-friendly sites, refreshing your website is a task that shouldn't be ignored or put off indefinitely.
It is important to note that refreshing your company website doesn't mean that you have to create something that is entirely new. In fact, you might discover that your site simply needs a trip to the digital spa so that it looks and feels refreshed.
The true challenge in a website design is to first determine if
a) your site is meeting the needs of your visitors
b) if your site is meeting your business needs.
If you can't confidently say, "yes my website meets both my needs and those of my visitors," then chances are your site is overdue for a redesign. To help you with this process, keep the following questions in mind.
Is your site still performing well?
Redesigning your website is a business decision that requires a strategic approach, which means that you need to have first completed an audit of your current site.
In this vein, you need to analyze your site's performance to determine if it is still effectively reaching and engaging with your intended audience. If your site is still performing well, then you might just need to tweak a few things so that the site is up to date.
Has your company undergone a large change?
A major change is the perfect opportunity for a website redesign. Whether your company recently branched off from a large corporation, acquired a new business, or opened another location, if your company has gone through a large change then you have a great opportunity to create an updated look with a new site.
Do you need a refreshed look for an evolving brand?
If your company is constantly innovating, then you need to make sure that your brand's image remains up-to-date.
After all, you want to ensure that your customers continue to turn to you for the latest trends and insights as an industry thought-leader.
Once you have answered these questions, you will be able to decide if your site needs to go through incremental changes or a complete overhaul.
The Benefits Of Incremental Changes
By tackling a website redesign in small steps you can streamline the process while simultaneously making it as non-jarring as possible. The two key benefits of incremental change include:
- Saving valuable time and resources; and
- Maintaining a live site that doesn't scare away your loyal visitors.
Through incremental changes you can run A / B tests to determine track customer feedback and behavioral patterns.
Based on this vital data you can make larger changes that will help you to achieve user-centric goals.
Finally, you can use incremental changes to redesign the following elements without having to complete tweak or change the website's core structure:
- Replace stock photos with professional-grade photos of more natural looking situations.
- Replace the font with a more modern choice.
- Replace old-school website design features (we're looking at you gradients, drop shadows, and old textures).
- Replace old brand language with updated wording that will positively resonate and engage with your audience.
It is important to note that your incremental changes might take a bit of time to deliver the results that you desire from your new site. If, however, you still feel that your site is under performing, then it might be time to complete an entire site overhaul.
When Is An Entire Site Overhaul Needed?
While a large scale website redesign may seem like a costly and timely endeavor, it is necessary if your site isn't performing to the desired levels.
Remember that when your website isn't delivering, it isn't converting visitors into customers, which means that your bottom line is suffering.
The key site issues that a website overhaul will fix include:
- Resolving any architecture messes and SEO issues.
- Updating the look so that it is user friendly, functional, and visually appealing.
- Reorganizing your site so that you can implement a better content strategy, a more intuitive navigation, and best practice SEO tactics.
Completing a website overhaul is a great way to give your brand a new look.
However, it is important to note that a site overhaul typically shouldn't be completed on a yearly basis. An overhaul is most effective when you actually need to make the large changes.
Remember that above all your website should meet the needs and goals of both your visitors and your business. When you complete a site overhaul you are forcing your visitors to become reacquainted with your digital presentation.
Just as you don't want to find that the policies of your favorite airlines have changed from one flight to the next, neither do you want your visitors to become frustrated if they see a newly redesigned site too often. In other words, it is possible to have "too much of a good thing."
How Often Should A Website Be Redesigned Is A Case-By-Case Answer
Change can certainly be a great thing. But just like the keyword stuffing era of the dot.com boom, so too must change be approached with one eye on the current trends and another looking towards the future.
Whether you need to complete incremental changes or an entire site overhaul, redesigning your website is a task that should be completed when your site is no longer meeting the needs and goals of your business or visitors. In this vein, completing a website redesign is made all the more effective when you think about your users from the beginning and avoid common SEO mistakes.
To learn more, check out our blog post, "SEO Mistakes To Avoid During Website Redesign," and start your website redesign off on the right foot.