Things to Think About when Considering a Website Redesign

By admin, July 14th, 2009

You’ve had your website up for a few years now and you feel like you need a change. How do you know the timing is right and what’s the best way to approach it? Hopefully you’ll get a few answers here.

What justifies a redesign

You may have a feeling you need an updated website, but what really justifies it? If you have one or more of the following, consider redesigning.

  • New or updated business goals – Your website is one of many tools in your business. It should be effective and contribute to your overall business goals.
  • Dated design – Your website is your online persona. An out of date design can give people the impression your business is behind the times.
  • Consistently reported problems – If you have people reporting the same problems over and over, this is a strong sign. Some examples of this are they can’t find a particular page or a feature doesn’t work like they expect.
  • Poor search engine performance – Up until a few years ago, many developers didn’t understand the importance website code played in how your site performed in search engines. This can make a big difference in the number and quality of your visitors.
  • New legal requirements – Government regulations change and occasionally that can mean new requirements on what and how you disclose certain information.
  • Your site requires plugins like Java or Flash – If your site requires a browser plugin for core functionality (like menus), you should strongly consider redesigning.
  • You require new features (blog, rss, etc) – Technology doesn’t stand still and some website features that seemed fringe a couple years ago are now commonplace and can have real business benefits.
  • You’ve been abandoned by your current developer – This happens more than you think. We have people come to us all time with websites they are generally happy with, but are unable to make changes because they can’t get a hold of their developer.

Timing a Redesign

Depending on the business, the typical lifespan of a website is two to three years. When the website stops accomplishing it’s goals, that’s the time to begin considering it’s redesign (there are plenty of examples of sites being redesigned weeks or months after launch because of a botched design).

Occasionally there are situations where having and old or out of date website can cost you money. If that’s the case, consider it an urgent project and get to work.

Most of the time (when it’s not urgent, of course), it’s best to coordinate the redesign with the introduction of a new product, service, location, etc. This allows you to cross-promote the two, thus reducing the overall marketing cost.

Your Budget

Depending on the designer and the amount of content on your website, it’s usually cheaper to rebuild a website from scratch than try to fix it.

That being said, sometimes there’s just not a budget. In that case consider an incremental redesign. Try to address the biggest problems one by one until they’re not so big any more. Incremental redesign will only get you so far, but it can save you some pain in the meantime.

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