How often should you redesign or rebuild your website?
If you ask the experts, you’ll get varying opinions, most of them starting with, “Well, it depends…” But here’s the good rule of thumb we follow: Plan to refresh your website every two to three years.
After all, websites don’t last forever – and they won’t be effective for long at all without proper maintenance. The rapid change of web technology can overtake what was once state-of-the-art and reduce it to a quaint relic in pretty short order. Therefore, it’s critical to consider the “shelf life” of your website when you first build it.
When considering your website’s longevity, these 6 indicators often prove that it’s time for a redesign – or even a complete overhaul.
1. Your business goals have changed.
If you’re going to have a website that accurately reflects the nature of your business, it needs to be as current as your latest business plan. Updating your website with your new objectives or philosophy should top your list of priorities.
2. Your site was built for obsolete browsers.
Browser optimization used to be the bane of web developers’ existence. IE6, DARN YOU!!!! Since then, general web standards have come a long way, with updated browsers creating relative stability. Yet, if your website was optimized for these older browsers, specifically those built five or more years ago, there is a chance that some aspects of it are dysfunctional or even completely invisible to many users.
3. Your site is underperforming or completely unusable on mobile.
In November 2016, more users accessed the web from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets than they did from desktops or notebooks. The growth of mobile is unprecedented and will certainly have an impact on your business, affecting the way clients/customers reach you. Additionally, Google is now using a site’s mobile friendliness as a ranking factor. Mobile is no longer a peripheral web platform, but a primary one – and preparing for this is a must.
4. The content needs of your business have outgrown your current website.
Some growing pains can be remedied easily by realigning your digital marketing strategy to lead with web content or performing minor updates. But it’s not always that simple. If you built your last website around a content strategy that has proven ineffective or your offsite blog isn’t delivering valuable traffic to your main hub, you’ll likely need to start from scratch. Keep in mind that your website should be a centralized location that houses frequently-updated, indexable, engaging content – and sometimes it takes a major overhaul to get it up to par.
5. Your site is lacking lead generation.
A website’s purpose is to get the necessary information to your customer/client base. Hopefully, leads for your business are generated from that connection. If your site’s only point of engagement is a generic “Contact Us” form, you’ve got a lot of work to do. The first step is to develop personas that sum up your target audience’s behaviors, needs, complaints and motivations for visiting your site. These personas, if accurately researched, will be invaluable guides in creating a site that resonates with users. Consider current customers as well as potential ones while analyzing user data. If you dedicate some time to this, you’ll likely begin to see how the personas’ influence will reach all the way to your site’s core and demand that you rethink and rebuild it from the ground up. As soon as the prospect becomes part of the website planning process, it’s as if you have a real, live, new member of your web team whose influence cannot be ignored.
6. Your site suffers from the Frankenstein Syndrome. (Our personal favorite)
Many businesses invest large amounts into their websites with the false expectation that it’s a one-time expense. But as technologies evolve, and the goals they expect their site to achieve follow suit, businesses often try to manage that shift as inexpensively as possible. They piece together “quick fixes” that don’t work together, creating a site that can look as disjointed and frightening as the green monster himself. Sometimes this method turns a once orderly website into a jumbled mess. Or it results in web pages that look like the Vegas strip, complete with blinking features all demanding the user’s attention – and no sense of hierarchy in sight. But a refresh is often the perfect solution to ensuring that your website portrays a unified voice and supports the best experience for users.
These issues are virtually inevitable as your site ages, particularly if the proper maintenance isn’t performed along the way. The good news is that none of them are unsolvable! If you suspect it’s time for a redesign or rebuild but aren’t sure which step to take next, or even where to start, we’re here to help! Contact us if you’re ready for an upgrade!