It’s a question every marketer asks themselves or indeed is asked to them by others. In this article virtualROI ask, should I redesign my website?
Money and time aside redesigning a website was traditionally done in order to keep the business online presence up-to-date, to keep the look ‘fresh’, but nowadays you need to think about whether there are technological reasons to redesign and if so what are they?
Technology is changing at a pace not seen for many years, design trends come and go but how sites are used is changing rapidly, social media and online interaction with prospects and clients alike is shaping how websites should look but also how they should/need to function.
A redesign of a website in this day and age is not just about changing the look and feel it can often be led by a much deeper technological requirement. The functionality, presentation, how they load and the speed they load, how well or how easily they can be updated are just a few of the many things prompting redesigns on a daily basis.
So with all this in mind we have listed below some questions to ask yourself about your own website. Have a read, have a think and ask yourself whether it could be time for you to redesign or maybe just adjust your existing site.
Is your website responsive?
There has been a big push over the last couple of years to make websites device friendly. With so many devices now able to access the Web it is clear that it is time to rethink the way websites are designed and it is no longer good enough to design a website that looks good on just a computer and a laptop. With smartphones, tablets and the plethora of other devices now being used to view your site the new requirement is for ‘responsive web design’ in essence meaning that a site will work on all devices without hindering user experience.
Is your website hard to update?
When was the last time you updated your site? Why ask? Well if the answer is because it is hard to update then you need to determine why. If it is because you don’t have time that is one thing however if you just don’t know how, then this could be a sign that your site might need a revamp. This could be as simple as installing a content management system (CMS) to enable you to update the site yourself, or as complex as totally rebuilding the site to allow for easy updating.
The need for a CMS can often be the reason for new websites being developed nowadays as it has become a must for your site to be easily updated and kept ‘fresh’.
Are there functions and features within the site that are no longer used or that don’t work?
As websites mature and grow it is often the case that certain areas are not used anymore and have become redundant or indeed areas that have stopped working on both a functional and marketing level. Social media buttons once prolific and put in prime real estate on a site have become exactly that with many web designers arguing that they are not as effective as they once were and advising them to be moved or indeed in some instances removed altogether.
Does your website take a long time to load?
Closely related to responsive web design above the trend is now to make sites load faster whilst downloading less information or in fact data. This is largely due to internet providers and smartphone carriers limiting the amount of data we can download. With these limits in place it has become the case that in order to better service visitors websites should not require them to download vast amounts of information, imagery, and scripts and eat into their precious data allowance.
A rule of thumb from many developers is that if your site takes longer than five seconds to load, then you should look into optimizing your site. After about five seconds on slower bandwidths, people become disinterested and will leave your site.
Is your site slowly losing visitors over time?
Is there a slowing trend in visitors coming to your site? Are you finding that visitors are not coming as often as they had before and when they do arrive do you know where they are going on your site? Analytics are a must in order to know whether this worrying trend is apparent and also to ascertain whether visitors are going past your homepage and further into the site.
It could be that once you have analytics in place and can answer the above that your site may not need a complete redesign but a content refresh/update but it is also worth mentioning that a slowing trend in visitors is in itself often a good indicator that either your SEO is not working for you or your site is becoming stale.
When was the last time the site was completely overhauled?
It seems like such an obvious question however the reason for not asking this before any other is because it is not a strong indicator of needing a new website. Traditionally people would say that a complete overhaul would be a must every 3-5 years but with constant changing technology and indeed technology trends coming and going in the web and the ways in which it can be accessed it is now almost impossible to have a rule of thumb regarding timescales for redesigns.
A good indicator is that if you just can’t remember when the last time your site was completely revamped then it could be time, mainly because just so much has changed over the last few years. That said if your site is till fit for purpose, performing well and doing what you need it too then just because it hasn’t been redesigned for some time simply isn’t a good enough reason to do it.
Do search engines even know you exist?
A lot can be said about good SEO in terms of getting your site on search engines, but it actually doesn’t require a lot of work to make certain things happen that are favourable for SEO. Search engines like sites with constantly changing content that are coded properly, and not heavily image based. While you can often help by keeping your site updated yourself, things like making sure the site is coded properly may need investigation.
If you are not really anywhere on search engines, then it could be time for a new site to help boost SEO and search engine visits. Since in the majority of cases people will find you through a Google search than directly typing in your website address being visible to search engines will go a long way getting visitors to come to your site. However once they are there it is up to you to make your visitors stay through fresh content and a nice looking site.
In conclusion it is your decision alone as to whether you redesign your site. Just because some of the details above may seem familiar it doesn’t necessarily mean that your website needs a full redesign, sometimes a tweak or a refresh can often do, so think carefully and weigh up your options before dedicating your time, resource and money to a total overhaul of your site.