How Often Should We Redesign Our Website?
I recently had some meetings this past month with a few companies to discuss their WordPress website. Their website was over 10 years old and slowly decaying and I do mean decaying code.
(And, yes, I’ve been in this business long enough to have websites that we’ve managed for 20 years. Some are 10 years old.)
With the recent WordPress core updates and PHP (open-source scripting language) upgrades, we could no longer support the website. It was becoming a security issue since we couldn’t update PHP to the most recent version and they were several versions behind.
Another company whose website was someone newer by a few years was struggling because its theme was built on an old theme with very cumbersome code. It looked okay but it was performing slowly, the navigation could be improved, they were missing some crucial elements like the About Us section, oh, and it was not responsive (that first and last one are pretty big deals).
One of the questions we then get is the all-important, “How often should we redesign our website?” … or in other words.
“Are we going to have to go through this process every 3-5 years?”
In the past I would say, “It depends.” Now, I answer yes! Emphatically, yes with a twist.“Are we going to have to redesign our website every 3-5 years?"In the past I would say, "It depends." Now, I answer yes! Emphatically, yes with a twist. Click To Tweet
Why Do We Need to Redesign Our Website?
1. Technology Changes.
The reason is that technology is changing even faster now. With the latest iphones and macs and Unix devices, the software is constantly changing to keep up and that includes web software.
2. Security Changes.
I’ve written a few articles about WordPress website security:
Security Presentation [Video] – https://globalspex.com/website-security-video/
Manage WordPress Security – https://globalspex.com/managing-wordpress-security-infographic/
Protecting Your WordPress – https://globalspex.com/protecting-your-website-from-hackers/
3. Design Changes.
Designs are always changing. We’ve gone from flat to 3-D, from sharp edges to soft curves, from busy animations using Flash (which was discontinued in 2017) to subtle flows using HTML5.
How Do I Know I Need to Redesign My Website?
There are a few ways to tell that can give you a clue. As yourself these questions:
1. Is my website delivering results?
You’ve worked hard over the years, keeping it updated, and you find that it’s just not delivering results. Maybe it’s not user-friendly, or it’s not functioning properly. Are there too many errors and too many customer complaints?
What if you find that your website is not converting even after seeing 10,000 visits per month? I recently had a conversation with a business owner, and looking at their web analytics; we found that the people coming to his website were nowhere near his target demographics. No wonder he wasn’t converting! Time for some changes.
2. Is my website stuck with old technology?
Browsers upgrade all of the time. As time goes on, browsers have to stay relevant, keep updating security, adding features, while staying relevant with each new mobile device. We’ve gone from desktop to mobile devices and browsers and we need to adjust these changes.
With that, your website needs to adjust to these changes as well. Have you considered what your website will look like in the future on wearable technology? 3D might be a factor in 5-8 years as well. Voice search will be here soon.
For now, a COVID pandemic brought to light a lot of websites that were stuck in the past. Being able to add certain features like notifications and pivoting with new service options.
Does your website allow you to connect easily with other 3rd party tools? As Application Program Interface (API) technology grows and more businesses open up their online applications, there might be advancements that your company can take advantage of and improve its processes. For example, recently, we connected an e-commerce website to an inventory system.
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3. My business goals have changed.
As any business owner can attest, business goals can grow, change, shift as you review your bottom line or find new trends that you want to follow. Maybe you find you can best help your customers by moving from service-based to a product-based industry.
Have you grown your team and therefore customer service has shifted from a single person to a group? If so, consider changes to how you accept feedback and comments.
Are you competing for search key phrases? If so, you’ll need to consider a blog or the layout and content of your website to adhere to proper SEO (search engine optimization).
Have you started a Pay Per Click campaign? If so, you’ll need specific landing pages for each campaign which I would recommend you use a page builder that allows for easier, faster layout designs.
Planet Grass went through all the above. From a new Adwords campaign to a new e-commerce store selling his turfgrass within Houston. The owner needed to make some major updates to the layout as well as adding a new online store. No need to start over though! The website we built was flexible enough to handle the changes.
As your goals change the purpose of your website will change as well.
4. My web design is outdated.
You look at it every day and maybe you don’t notice it. If it’s been a few years since you had your web designer install a Flash header for the ‘cool’ effect, it’s time for a redesign.
Another indication that your website is outdated is you have employees that left years or months ago, and they are still listed as employees.
How about old photos of old projects that you would never admit to doing today. What if the photos are just so small you can barely tell what they once represented. In that case, you’ll need to consider photos that take advantage of today’s monitors and devices; large, crisp, and clear.
5. I can no longer update my website without breaking it.
#4 brings me to #5. Usually, outdated employee lists and projects arise because your team can’t make easy edits. In the past, if you didn’t know HTML/CSS, you couldn’t update your own website. Today you need to make changes regularly. Regular blog posts or simply updating your photo gallery indicate to Google that you are active and a resource.
6. My website’s platform uses outdated programming scripts?
I recently came across this issue. We built a website years ago. It included a 3rd party script that allowed our customer to edit their own website. Fast forward 5 years, and with the changes in browser technology and the programming language, this program became outdated. The original programmer never kept it up and is now obsolete. Basically, it’s broken.
Maybe you’ve found the Content Manage System (CMS) platform you currently have is too cumbersome. It’s actually prevented you from making changes.
7. My company has rebranded?
It’s that time, and you find that you need to refresh your company’s brand. We did this in 2020 for a local plumbing company. This may not indicate a complete overhaul, but usually, a re-brand can mean shifting colors, updating the logo, and overall changing the message.
8. My competition redesigned their website.
You’ve seen what your competition is doing. You’ve seen what others in your industry have done. I am not saying to copy your competitor’s website or be like your competitors. You should be unique. But, if you find that they have upped their game and are making strides, maybe you should consider doing what you need to keep your edge. On the flip side, maybe you know your website can be better than your competition.
Is this your opportunity? Is it time to make a change?
9. Do I Overhaul or Fine-tune My Website?
So if you are finding yourself agreeing with one or more of these statements, then Yes, it’s time for a redesign. The question now is do you overhaul the website or fine-tune it.
Agreed, it’s a daunting task to have to go through this development process every few years. But, maybe you don’t have to start from scratch.
If you have a healthy website and need some fine-tuning, your web designer can help make adjustments until you are ready or have the budget for the complete redesign.
Maybe you need to move an element from the middle to the top, change some text within your headlines, update the content, add video, etc.
If you find that you fall under statements #1, #7, or #8, maybe you need some editing and rearranging.
If it’s #2 and #5, you might only need to recode your website while maintaining the design. This allows you to make changes quickly without the long process of a complete redevelopment.
If it #3, #4, #6, this is the time for a complete development and design.
Don’t let your website languish.
In the end, ask yourself and your team and your customers, “Is our website a true representation of who we are, and does it do what we need it to?” If not, then it’s time to reevaluate and begin that web design process.
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