No! Say it ain't so!
I recently had a meeting today with a transportation company. Their website was about 4 years old. It looked okay but the navigation could be improved, they were missing some crucial elements like the About Us section, oh, and it was not responsive.
One of their questions was 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 4 years?"
The short answer is… it depends.
1. Is it working?
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. Has the technology changed?
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. What that, your website needs to adjust 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.
Does your website allow you to connect easily with other tools? As Application Program Interface (API) technology grows and more businesses open up their tools, there might be advancements that your company can take advantage of and improve its processes.
3. Has your business goals changed?
As any business owner can attest, business goals can grow, change, shift as you review at 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.
The purpose of your website will change as well.
4. Is it outdated?
You look at it everyday and just groan. 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 Another indication that it’s outdated is you have employees that left years or months ago. How about old photos of old projects. The kind of projects you would never admit to doing today.
What if the photos are just so small you can barely tell what they once represented. Consider photos that take advantage of today’s monitors and devices; large, crisp, and clear.
5. Can you can no longer make updates?
#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 can indicate to Google that you are active and a resource.
6. Does your website’s platform use outdated scripts or user interface?
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. Has your company rebranded?
It’s that time and you find that you need to refresh your company’s brand. This may not indicate a complete overhaul but usually a re-brand can mean shifting goals. This always mean a redesign is in order.
8. Has your 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 making some strides, maybe you should consider doing what you need to keep the edge.
On the flip side, maybe you know it can be better than your competition.
Is this your opportunity? Is it time to make a change?
BONUS #9. Overhaul or Fine-tuning?
So if you are answering Yes! to these questions, you are not alone. Agreed, it’s a daunting task to have to go through this process every few years. But, maybe you don’t have to start from scratch. If you have a healthy website and you need some fine-tuning, your web designer should be able to help make adjustments until you are ready. Maybe is’t just moving an element from the middle to the top, changing some text within your headlines, improving the content, adding video, etc.
What I mean is, if you find that you fall under #1 or #8, maybe you just need some editing and rearranging.
But don’t let your website languish.
In the end, ask yourself and your team, "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.