When should you pursue a website redesign? This is a question thousands of business owners wrestle with often. While there are many different factors that go into a website’s design, knowing when to begin the redesign process isn’t rocket science. It’s easy to get caught up in new trends or to be stuck in the past, but both of these positions leave your website vulnerable. The key is to find a balance between consistency and relevancy with your design that speaks to your audience in a personal way. For some sites this means a redesign, for others it means stop messing with it! So let’s get into the 5 reasons you should redesign your website and 3 reason to leave it alone.
Your website is your business' digital front door. Many of your prospective customers will form their opinion of your company based on its online presence. It's amazing to me the number of companies that seem to neglect their website, as if just having one is good enough. With more than a billion sites online, smart companies are using their websites to drive traffic, engage visitors and create value each and every time they come back.
5 Reasons to Redesign Your Website
1. It’s Old… Like Really Old
If your website was launched before the new millennium and you haven’t updated since then, you should probably contact a web designer… like now. On average, companies redesign their sites every 2 to 3 years. But just because you redesigned your site, doesn’t mean it doesn’t look or feel old. There are a few things that can give your site an older feel and we recommend that you stay away from these.
Too many ads
To much motion
Overuse of colors
Music plays when you load the page
If your site is running on Flash, that is another tell-tale sign it's time to make an upgrade. While Flash did enable us to do some nifty stuff in the early days, many of today's smart phones can’t read Flash. This is a big issue since most people use their phone to access the web. Flash also slows down your site, which again is a big deal when it comes to your users. Worst of all, having a website that looks and feels old conveys to your visitors an impression that you don’t really care. You want a site that reflects your business and gives them a great first impression.
2. It’s "Slow as Molasses"
Nothing will kill your online marketing efforts faster than a slow website. Nearly half of all website users expect a site to load within 2 seconds. ( It took you longer to read that last sentence.) When they say “speed kills” they are right. Because the public's attention span is getting shorter and shorter and you need to be sure that your site meets their expectations.
The reason many sites load slowly is due to heavy coding, use of an old platform or old servers. By redesigning your site you can fix most of these issues. By using a CMS like Wordpress and hiring a web designer that knows how to code, you can get a great looking site that loads fast. If you notice that your site is still slow after a redesign, it may be your server. Contact your hosting company to see if your site is on an older server and ask them to upgrade you to a new one.
3. It’s Not Mobile Responsive
More than half of Google’s searches happen on a mobile device. With the ability to access the internet from virtually anywhere, more and more people use their mobile device as their primary way to research and connect online. If your site is not mobile friendly, they will most likely leave your site. Google has even put an emphasis on Mobile with the 2015 release of the Google Mobile-Friendly update. This algorithm update gives more favorable ranking to sites that meet the mobile-friendly requirements. Now, just because your site works on a mobile phone, doesn’t mean it’s “mobile-friendly.” You can check to see if your site is mobile-friendly here.
Most web developers are now using what is called responsive design. A responsive website will adapt to the environment in which the site is being engaged. So if you’re on a computer, you will see the site in it’s native form. As the screen becomes smaller the site adapts to make it easier for the user to engage with it. Go ahead and give this site a shot. Drag the screen to a smaller size and you will see the content adjust.
4. No Longer Reflects Your Brand
If you have made a serious update to your company's brand and image, it’s a good idea to make sure that the new look and feel gets transferred online. Your website is an online reflection of your company, its values and its culture. If you say you are one thing, but your website contradicts that, it causes your audience to second guess you and could hurt your trustworthiness. Any time you do a re-branding, make sure that the redesign of your website is at the core of your discussions.
5. Low Conversions / Engagement
The overall purpose of every website differs from industry to industry, but one thing rings true across the board. If your site is not converting or engaging your visitors, it's time to rethink the design of your website. Many companies treat their website as an online brochure, but it can and should be so much more. Your website is a tool that can educate your prospects and build your brand 24/7.
Having conversion elements like a Contact Us page or an email list sign-up aren’t enough any more. Everyone has those on their site. What you need is to find a creative and compelling way to engage your visitors and encourage them to connect with you. This starts with awesome content and then delivering it in a way that speaks directly to them. We had a conversion issue on our website and by using the power of growth driven design we were able to solve this by delivering what our audience really wanted. We went from single digit leads per a month to averaging over 80 a month.
So that covers 5 reason to redesign your website. If you fit into any of these, we highly recommend you consider a redesign. If you're still not sure, take this quick quiz. Just answer a few questions and it will let you know whether or not you should consider a redesign.
The truth is, some things are just better left alone. And if what you have is working, why mess with it? I am a firm believer in the old adage, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” This doesn’t mean you stop improving, it just means you probably shouldn’t do a total overhaul. Now let’s get into 3 reasons not to redesign your site.
1. "Because I Feel Like It"
Redesigning your website just because you feel like it, is a terrible reason. While I fully believe in using intuition to help guide you, I’ve seen a number of businesses and agencies redo their sites over and over just because they’re bored. The reason this is such a bad idea is that it confuses your visitors. If the site looks different every time they come back they are going to have a hard time trusting your inconsistency. Don’t let your feelings dictate your decisions. Rather use them to spur your curiosity to find a creative solution. - (Tweet This)
2. The Competition Did
Similar to feelings, you shouldn’t let the competition dictate your actions either. If your website is engaging your audience and producing results, don’t mess with it. Your competition has their own reasons for a redesign and just because they are doing something new doesn’t mean you have to. Now, there may be things you can do to spruce up your site, but make sure that you are making those tweaks for your users, not your competition. I made this mistake and it cost me. Focus on who and what matters most and you’ll reap the reward.
3. “I Just Don’t Like the ______” (Fill in the Blank)
I have seen companies do a complete redesign because they didn’t like a single function of their site. This can be a devastating move. If there is an element of your site you don’t like just fix that. It makes no sense to start over because you don’t like a button, feature or color. Not only could this cost your company thousands of dollars it could also cost you traffic.
So whether you need a redesign or need to leave things alone, your focus should always be on your users. I’ve said it a thousand times, but your website is not for you! The sooner we realize this and create an online experience that adds value to our users, the sooner we will see results. The internet is all about creating connections and for most businesses that starts on your website. So, does your site need a redesign or should you just leave it alone?
Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
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