Website redesigns are not for the faint of heart. They require a lot of time, energy and patience. Nevertheless, thhe average business will need to redesign its website every two years or so in order to keep up with changing technology and stay current with modern web design trends. Fast forward to launch day, and the last time most businesses touch their site until the process begins again.
This just isn’t the way to do it. A website is a living, breathing, ever evolving machine. Use it to your advantage. Before you decide to kick off your next redesign, consider touching that site you’ve ignored since you last launched. Just make sure you aren’t redesigning for one of the following reasons.
1. Your CEO says it’s time to redesign
When you look at a site two and three times a day for a couple of years, you get tired of it. In fact, it gets really boring. We call this “design fatigue.” Design fatigue is simply internal. Your clients aren’t tired of it yet and new visitors aren’t bored at all! They don’t know any different.
Instead of jumping to the conclusion that you need a redesign, ask questions about your current site. What really needs improving? If the site is slow, you may need a technical overhaul, not an aesthetic one. If you aren’t converting leads, maybe you need a copy change. As a first resort to these problems, pinpoint the issue and work on that. A total redesign isn’t necessary just because one change needs to be made.
2. You want to start a blog
So, you have realized there is something to this inbound marketing thing…and you want to start a blog. Wonderful news, and kudos for coming to this conclusion on your own. Adding a blog comes down to adding more pages to your website. This is something you are more than capable of doing without a total overhaul. Start creating content and start putting it out there on the platform you are already using. You don’t want to waste valuable time redesigning your site when you could be putting content out into the world.
3. You want to be on trend
Design trends are just that, trends. Yes, we put a lot into researching trends and why they are popular, why they perform and eventually why they move out. If you have a mature brand aesthetic, you might not need a redesign. Keep your site fresh by updating specific elements and trying out trending aesthetics on landing pages and seasonal campaigns, but don’t fix what isn’t broken. Your visitors have come to know and respect your brand, so don’t jump ship just because something new came along.
4. You aren’t getting enough traffic
Traffic and design don’t exactly go hand in hand, so don’t force them to correlate with each other. Is your site lacking traffic? If so, that is more than likely a reflection on your acquisition strategy and not your site design.
A great website can increase engagement, but the design itself won’t bring them there.
5. Your bounce rate is high
Ok, so you can argue that this is a good enough reason to redesign, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If your bounce rate is too high, try some less drastic approaches. Begin by updating your website copy, removing your navigation (yes, the exact same principle we use for landing page design) or utilizing parallax scrolling to keep users engaged on a single page. If these more minimal changes help with your bounce rate, backburner the redesign.
6. You are getting a new CMS (content management system)
I know this may seem like a missed opportunity, but every time you decide to up the technology ante doesn’t mean that you need to up the design ante as well. Moving a site over to a new CMS is technically complicated enough without the hassle of re-strategizing your main menu and user-flow, updating personas and revamping on page copy. Leaving things as is will be much less disturbing for your tech team in charge of the migration. If a redesign is ultimately necessary, your team will be better versed on how to execute the functionality portion of the process having understood the new CMS.
7. You hired a new designer
I’ve been there. As the brand new designer on staff, its easy to be completely inundated in a backlog of projects because, hey, we have a designer. Don’t do this. Slow down, let them settle in and really show you their visual communication chops before you dump a website redesign project on their plate.
Small improvements will allow your new designer to become familiar with your site, it’s platform and your brand. This discovery phase will allow them to identify problems you need help solving.
8. Your competition just launched a new site
If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off too? I don’t think a single one of us avoided this speech growing up, but it’s funny how a single one of us didn’t listen.
If you are really worried that you aren’t keeping up with the competition, take a hard look at your existing site. Small, incremental improvements can lead to big results. Tweak a headline, change the color of a button or add a new offer. You may have more edge against the competition than you think.
9. Because a user complained
You are more likely to catch heat because you did something bad than you are to receive praise because you did something good. When a user complains, it sucks. Everyone gets set into a mini panic, trying to make up for a single bad experience. Take a step back and evaluate the complaint. Were they on a mobile device? Are they a new or returning customer? Keep an eye out for a large-scale issue. If there isn’t one, make the small fix and move on. A single customer shouldn’t dictate thousands of dollars in redesign costs.
Your website should constantly be evolving and growing, feeding on rich content. Eventually, with enough care, that tiny little site you built will grow into an amazing user experience.
Be sure to keep your site updated. If you are using WordPress as your CMS, you will need to monitor your site weekly for both plugin and core updates. Letting your site technology fall behind can be dangerous, as you might miss a vital security patch. A website isn’t a “set it and forget it” tool.
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