Most businesses today have a website in some form or the other. And those who don’t are also increasingly taking to the net each day, which is a good indicator of the growing awareness of the importance of a website to a business.
However, a website, like most things in life is not permanent. At some point of time it either needs to be replaced or redesigned; both replaced and redesigned, of course, being the same thing. Redesigning essentially means creating a new site altogether, however, this time around you are saved from writing a copy for your website. You can simply copy the text from your old website, unless you want to change the copy too. Usually with most people, minor changes to the copy will suffice.
So when is the right time to redesign your site? There is no fixed time; however, there are certain indicators that can help you decide. I am listing 5 such indicators below:
1. Your site is old.
The first indicator, of course, is that your site is old and needs a redesign. You designed your site a long time back and since then no designer has touched or updated your site. The information is outdated and so are the images. This is a strong indication that your site needs a redesign now. How often or how soon should you redesign your website depends on factors like how well your business is doing, your personal preferences and your budget of course. My recommendation for most businesses would be to redesign their site at least every 2-3 years, if not more often. It is good to have a site that fits in with the times.
2. Your site has a bad design.
I get amazed looking at the number of sites that are so badly designed, some go to such an extent that they could be called outright ugly. I know, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, but beauty too can be defined within certain parameters. Though, the parameters may vary for individuals. The same is true for a well designed site. Perhaps, you designed your site when you just started out in your business and design was not important. Now that people take more interest in your website, it is time to revamp it and give it a fresh new look that matches your business profile. After all when you decide to have a website, you might as well have a good website that conveys your message well to its intended recipients. It should be well presented, pleasing to the eyes, navigation should be easy and intuitive, and information should be easily found.
3. Your site is technologically outdated.
This is particularly true with older sites where old and outdated technologies are being used. There was a time when Flash was used extensively. There are many sites that are completely done in Flash. As the awareness for search engines grew, many people realized that a complete Flash site was a bad idea. Flash also takes longer to load and people do not have the patience to wait forever. Also, over time, people’s perception of a good design also has changed. Flashy graphics, animated gifs, music etc are considered a bad idea today. Newer technologies are available today that makes for a better website in term of user experience, faster load time, faster execution time, less bugs & errors, less susceptible to viruses and hacking attacks etc. These are sufficient reasons to keep your site technologically updated. Also, these technologies are available at a much lower cost today. So getting an eCommerce website or a CMS site should be well within most people’s budget.
4. Your business has grown.
The needs of a start up, in terms of a website, are different than those of a growing or an established business. A start-up may not be too concerned with their website’s look or accuracy; however, for a growing business a website is an important marketing tool and therefore would be more concerned with its different aspects. So if your business has grown, you will also need to re-evaluate your website to make sure that it is up to date and that it meets your growing business requirements. You may want to publish your company news and updates on your website, engage your users through social media, look at expanding your business further using SEO, edit/update your website yourself etc. All these points may require you to re-evaluate and redesign your website.
5. High bounce rate.
If you have access to your website analytics and notice a high bounce rate, that is visitors leaving your site prematurely, then it may be an indication that your site needs to be re-evaluated and redesigned. Why are people leaving your site? Are users finding what they are looking for? Does your site take too long to load? Is your site difficult and confusing to navigate? A website has to be presentable and functional at the same time. Many people also do not understand the difference between print and online media. What works for print media may not necessarily work for online media and vice versa. It may be a good idea not to force down your design ideas down the poor designer’s throat. A website that is a piece of art may not be of much value if it simply confuses its users. So, a thorough analysis is required to determine the factors leading to the high bounce rate and a redesign would be required to correct these issues.
These are some of the important indications that should help you decide the right time for redesigning your website. Every website has a purpose for which it was built. The purpose could be as simple as providing information on the products and services a company has to offer, or more complex ones like generating sales. However, if the site is not performing well, it is time re-evaluate the possibly redesign the site.