A website redesign can be just the fresh start to reinvigorate your organization’s web efforts. We’re serious and this isn’t about building our business. Here’s why…
1. Web technology and design change quickly
Let’s look at just a few recent big shifts (dates are debatable and just for a rough idea)…
- 2008 Social Media becomes mainstream with Facebook and Twitter gaining widespread adoption. The stereotypical characteristics of Web 2.0 are starting to die out!
- 2010 Mobile revolution kicks into high gear. Your site had better look good on mobile / tablet.
- 2012 Broadband becomes ubiquitous through much of the industrialized world. Fast speeds mean sites can be more content rich with videos and big imagery
- 2015 A renewed focus on Site Speed as mobile use is accounting for a massive portion of traffic.
- 2016 Google AMP and Facebook Instant debut trying to help content publishers provide super-fast loading on mobile
Securely encrypting your traffic (HTTPS) is suddenly best practice.
There are usually a few big impact changes within 2-3 years. These shifts I mention don’t even begin to talk about the massive changes in aesthetics and design!
Minimalism, Skeuomorphism, flat design, material design, waterfall layouts – design philosophy advances and improves all the time. A fun exercise is to use the Wayback Machine and see what your company site or your favorite sites looked like years ago.
A general rule of thumb is you likely need a new site or at least an evolved site every 3-5 years.
2. You likely know more about how your website is getting used
Hopefully you’ve been tracking how people use your site and know which pages they visit, how engaged they are with each, and the typical flows from one page to the next. Doing a redesign / rebuild forces you to confront this and ask honest questions about what should get cut out.
3. It shows your company is alive and thriving
A new site sends strong messages to your customers. It indicates to them that your business is doing well. It might help them feel the love with a site that better serves them. A new site is also a great time to drum up some PR and get some brand exposure.
What does a new redesign / rebuild entail?
A new redesign doesn’t have to be a complete upheaval or a total rebuild from the ground up. For many reasons a ground-zero rebuild may rock the boat SEO-wise. If you are already on a Content Management System you love (yay WordPress) you can likely just re-skin and modify layouts. This type of more superficial rebuild likely won’t result in you deleting pages or changing URLs which is some of the aspects that can give your SEO a shakeup.
Maybe “Evolutionary Redesign” is a better approach for you?
This may seem opposite from everything we’ve been saying up to this point but in many cases Evolutionary Redesign can be a better approach than an entirely new website.
Consider a more mild evolutionary (as opposed to revolutionary) approach only if most of these are true:
- Your CMS is working well for you
- The site has increasing and trackable success
- The design is working and could be great with minor tweaks (e.g. fonts, padding)
- The site works well on mobile / tablet
- The site loads quickly
- Your users give you positive feedback
If the above don’t hold true, it might be a sign that you need to pursue a more aggressive redesign / rebuild.
The aspects you may want to address in a redesign:
- Aesthetics – does the site look dated? Does it still feel like the online representation of your offline brand?
- Site navigation – which menu items are being visited and helpful. Might be time to clean up and re-order.
- Are there elements that you should get rid of? Ads, banners, useless widgets, distracting sliders, neverending text? Approach the redesign with thoughtful strategy.
- Are there elements like Social Media sharing, email signups, comments, etc. that were added one-by-one over time. Perhaps these can all be re-worked to be intentional harmonious parts of the design.
Take a look at your competitors. Are they doing new things that might be really smart to borrow some inspiration from?
Dig deep into your analytics to see how people use your site. Google Analytics has some great behavior flow reports
Sidenote: in our 7 years we have had 5 major site redesigns ourselves.