You came here for a simple answer, so here it is. Expect to redesign your website every 4 years. But take this with a grain of salt. Here is a simple set of questions you can use to decide if it’s really time for a new website.
1. Is your website still working for your business?
Simple right? It is if you are tracking things correctly. Look at your traffic reports in Google Analytics. Look at your goal conversions and e-commerce reports. If the trend is downwards you may not be meeting your customers’ expectations anymore.
Not tracking these metrics? You probably already have a gut feeling, but that’s harder to quantify. Get your tracking set up immediately. You are missing out on valuable business insights.
2. Is your website still working for your customers?
So you’ve reviewed your stats and you’ve seen some concerning trends. Ask some customers what they think of your website. No, I don’t mean friends and family. They won’t tell you the truth. Except Uncle Fred. Nobody likes Uncle Fred. Here’s a few ideas:
- Run a survey. Keep it short and specific. Offer a prize as an incentive. A $50 Amazon gift card is an inexpensive way to gain actionable customer insights.
- Record website sessions and generate heatmaps to see if customers are finding what they need. This will often reveal a few simple tweaks that will boost your conversion rate, avoiding a complete redesign. HotJar is a superb tool for this.
- Just ask. Mention it casually when interacting with customers. These informal chats can be very revealing.
3. Does your site look “old”?
This is a gut feeling test. Compare your site to others in your industry. Web design standards change quickly. If your site was “trendy” when it was built, it may actually have a shorter shelf life (2-3 years). Conservative designs often age better and stay relevant for longer (5+ years). This is also heavily influenced by your industry. For example, restaurant and lodging websites need to reinvent themselves more often, whereas insurance websites can wait things out a little longer.
4. Has technology changed?
Trick question. Of course it has. But we’re talking huge changes here, like the mobile revolution of the 2010s. Don’t jump on every new trend (there’s no need for virtual reality just yet), but make sure your business is compatible with whatever formats your customers expect. In other words, if your site is not responsive, stop everything and call us now.
5. Has your business model changed?
Your website needs to represent what you offer as a business. Duh. But businesses change all the time. If you started out offering B2B services, but now you want to switch to B2C services, that is a seismic shift in your business practices. More than likely your website will need a major overhaul to keep pace.
6. Has your branding changed?
When starting out, many small businesses never consider their branding. Instead they use that logo the “sign guy” made, or some template they selected when they ordered their business cards online. We get it, professional logo design can be expensive, and SMBs don’t always have the room in their budget. Until they do.
A logo represents your business both literally and figuratively. It also sets the tone for the rest of your marketing material. Dropping a sleek, modern logo into a traditionally set website can put your visitors ill at ease, hurting conversions. New branding often means it’t time to consider a redesign.
Bad reasons for a website redesign
While we’re on the topic, let’s talk about some reasons you shouldn’t use to justify a website redesign.
Because your competitor did it. It’s easy to get blinded by your rival’s flashy new website, but don’t fall into this trap. Check your own website against the competition as a whole, but don’t obsess over them. Use your free time to create great content and get found by new customers.
Because you’re tired of your website. You probably look at your website every day. Your customers only look at it when they need certain information, and as long as they know where to find that information your website is working. Don’t change it as a vanity project. Do optimize it to help your customers.
It’s been 4 years since my last redesign. Remember we said to take our intro with a grain of salt? There is no magic number. Our 4 year estimate is based on what we most commonly see, but you should be evaluating your website every few months to make sure it works for your customers, and continues to provide a return on investment.
So, is it time for a redesign?
We hope we’ve helped you decide if you really need a redesign, or if a few subtle tweaks will fit the bill instead. The key takeaway – try to remain objective and see things from the customer’s point of view.
When you’re ready, we’re ready. Call us at (508) 694-7126 or contact us for a free consultation.