If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about your current website and whether it truly meets your needs or not. A website redesign isn’t always something that a business or organisation wants to do, but often is a matter of necessity. Whether your website has grown long in the tooth or simply isn’t performing as well as you like, it may be time to finally move ahead with your revamp.
But how often should you redesign your website? The truth is that depends on a number of different factors.
The Quick Answer
Time is money, so let’s get the simple answer out first. Typically, a good rule of thumb is that an average website design has an approximate “shelf life” during which it is seen as new, functional and convenient for users. For the typical brand, that timespan is between 16m – 2 years or so.
Now that isn’t a hard and fast rule – some sites may not need a full redesign in that time, and some may need to be refreshed more frequently as business goals or market demands change. After all, age is only a number, right? However, for the reader looking for a quick answer, it’s usually a good idea to think about refreshing your website about as frequently as most of us get a new smartphone.
Redesign to Tackle a Problem
Outside of that broad perspective, the main driving factor behind most website redesigns is the need to solve a problem that you’re having. For some organizations, that may be a decline in business or a drop in visibility in search results. For others, it may be a more dramatic spark like a site hack or a competing site stealing content. Whatever your concern, a smart redesign may help.
Maintaining adequate web traffic (or, more importantly, paying customers) to your site is the rent that your website pays for existing.
If your brick and mortar location started seeing a drop in foot traffic, you’d change something, right? Maybe make the entrance look a little more inviting, or launch an event to capitalize on the crowd exiting the yoga studio across the street.
Redesigning your website to improve the SEO, aesthetics, and content of your site can increase traffic, paying customers, and (most importantly) your income.
When we are building out a renewed site at Ocean City Marketing we discuss the challenges you want to overcome with you. If you want the site to drive leads, it’s important to focus on incorporating a flow of pages to lead to a form submission or information request page. If you want to sell online, on the other hand, you need pages to identify a visitor’s needs and provide them the right product or service solution as quickly and conveniently as possible. Or, if it’s greater visibility and traffic you want, you need to include pages and content that can be optimized for SEO – search engine optimization – to build up your online presence.
Looks and Feels Old
Another reason to invest in website design is more cosmetic – your site’s look and feel. Think of your website as a home. People arrive at the site and immediately get their first curb appeal impression of your brand. Is it telling them that you’re modern and engaged and capable of delivering the product, service or support they need? Or is it dilapidated, featuring outdated design elements like traffic counters or flashing banners and reeking of something past its prime? If the latter, a redesign is almost certainly what you need.
No technological evolution happens overnight. First, an idea has to be spread, then it has to be implemented, and only years after its introduced does it start to feel ubiquitous.
Cars didn’t used to have seatbelts; now they’re required. Smart phones used to be only for Silicon Valley CEOs; now they’re standard.
Website tech is no different. One specific example is responsive website design. Ten years ago, people only viewed websites on their desktops or laptops. But mobile users outnumbered desktop users four years ago. That’s an eternity in the internet world.
If your website has outdated features (like visit counters) or needs new ones (like a blog), it’s time to consider redoing your website.
Sometimes simply giving the home page and key categories pages some TLC and applying a new look to existing content elsewhere can be just the boost you need at a fraction of the time and expense.
Doesn’t Work Right
For your website to work for you, it has to…well, “work.”
If your site consistently experiences “404” error codes, crashing, slow load times, viruses, and other digital headaches, it might be time to redo your website.
Here at Ocean City Marketing we have tons of tricks up our sleeves to fix website issues and make sure they don’t happen again. Anti-virus plugins and SSL certificates can stop hackers from using your site to infect other computers (including yours). Moving your site to an updated server increases the number of simultaneous visitors your website can handle.
It’s also worth considering if your site works right for you and your visitors. Is it serving as an informational resource for visitors? Are they finding what they need easily? Are you able to make updates or changes to product information, service features or inventory items easily on your own? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” the answer to whether you need a redesign is a resounding “yes.”
Plan for the Future
Regardless of what steers you toward the redesign, you should try to make sure that any new site is as future-focused as possible to help you get the most from your investment. That means thinking about these “seven S’s” of site design:
- SEO: Is your new site ready and capable of being optimized for search engines?.
- Structure: Is the design and flow of pages built to make it easy to access relevant information, access products or reach a contact page?.
- Simple: Is your new site simple to access, update and manage for you and your team?.
- Sales: Is the new site able to process orders, shipping and other information if you’ll be selling online?.
- Speed: How quickly a site loads can impact user experience, so is your new site designed to be fast, even on mobile devices?.
- Scalable: Speaking of mobile, does your new site experience scale responsively to different screen sizes?.
Social: Does your site include your social media, whether it’s links to your social presence or a feed of posts from Facebook, Twitter or another platform?.
When Your Industry Demands It
If you’ve been in your chosen industry a while, you know that things change.
This is true of every business, from antique dealing to IT consulting. Even if the product doesn’t change (and sometimes it shouldn’t; remember “New Coke”?), the methods you use to develop, market, and communicate about your product change all the time.
And when you’re talking about technology (i.e. websites), things change even faster.
But this is also the perfect opportunity to roll out an innovation for your industry. The world is full of products that were originally invented for one purpose, but become popular for something else. If you have an idea for using a new technology for your specific business or industry, get a web developer working on it!
It’s okay to be the only one doing something, as long as you’re the first.
Time for a Change
There’s nothing wrong with coming to the decision that it’s time to put your current look out to pasture. The web is constantly evolving and adapting, and if you’re not moving to adjust with it, you’re bound to be left behind. Invest in building a new site not because you think you should, but because you need to if you want to stay relevant and offer the best content and experience to your visitors. Approaching a redesign smartly means you can work to make something that’s nimble and adaptable so you can update and change with the web. Remember that at the end of the day, redesigning and launching a redeveloped site marks just that – a launch of something new – and that work to improve and adjust it is never truly done. Your site is a living story about your brand – make sure it’s telling the right one.
Contact us today at Ocean City Marketing to discuss your re-design.