You should redesign and revamp your business often to keep it representing your business well, but how often is enough? There are a lot of factors to consider when coming up with a schedule for refreshing your website.
We are going to help you go through each so you can recreate a website revamp schedule that matches your needs. The main aim is to ensure you don’t end up worse off when you revamp your business website.
Entrepreneurs often tackle website redesigns without a strategy in place and the results are almost always catastrophic. To avoid this pitfall, look at each website redesign factor as it affects your business to make decisions.
The generally accepted timeframe for a website redesign is every 2 to 3 years. Quite a few authorities in the online space agree on this, so we won’t be looking to establish a timeframe for your website redesign or revamp.
Instead, we will be considering all the factors involved in reaching the ideal period. One that works best for your business. This way, you don’t have to use the generally accepted 2 to 3 years but establish a timeframe that works for you.
Additionally, we appreciate that a website redesign or revamp can mean a lot of things. It can be anything from refreshing some text or graphics to a complete overhaul of the website.
In this case, we are looking at a complete website overhaul. That being said, a website is a dynamic marketing asset, and you should invest in constantly tweaking it to make sure it best represents your business.
After all, your website is at the nexus of your online existence. When it makes a poor representation, you have a poor presence online. So what are the points to consider before redesigning and revamping your website?
When the website stops reaching your broader goals
At Mut-Con we always look to employ our skills as business consultants to enhance the websites we produce, and the feedback from clients has always been great.
Our clients trust us to go beyond just web development and build websites that drive their businesses forward. As such, just as business goals change, websites should change to consistently match these goals.
Your website should be matched to longer as opposed to short-term goals. This will help you avoid revamping your website after every strategy meeting every other Tuesday. Instead, you can use short-term goals for occasional refreshes, but no major overhauls.
With this in mind, you can reserve website redesigns for major business changes that shift the direction of your business. Despite the heading of this point, the best point to revamp your website is not when it stops reaching business goals, but before that.
We often emphasise the importance of planning in business and its value cannot be over-emphasised. Planning the evolution of your business will help you plan your website revamps and redesigns.
Whenever you foresee a significant change in the trajectory of your business, it’s a good time to start planning your next redesign. The depth of the redesign itself will be determined by how much the business will change.
What’s important though is that at any given time, your website can support the goals you have set out. It is -after all- a tool in your business, a very important tool. If it’s not contributing to goals, you are losing out.
When you see a drop in SEO performance
A good website deserves to be found online. While pay-per-click advertising and other means are good for driving traffic in the short run, in the long run, there is only one true king. That king is SEO.
The ability to put your business in front of potential clients when they search for products is a game changer for any business. So much so that it should pretty much be the first priority for your website.
After all, how is your website going to achieve goals when it can’t even be found? As such, when your SEO performance starts to decline, it’s a good time to redesign or revamp your website.
While the exact recipe for good SEO rankings is known only by the search engines like Google and Bing, we can reasonably speculate the ingredients, and they usually amount to a “good” website. They encompass all the elements of a great user experience.
These include good site speed, security, well-written copy and useful graphics, mobile responsiveness, good site structure and navigation, and similar factors. In fact, optimising the points in the rest of this article can contribute to good SEO rankings.
In that regard, SEO considerations deserve the number one spot on the list of priorities when deciding on a website revamp. A prolonged drop in rankings may signal that any of the factors discussed here has gone neglected and a redesign is in order.
Make use of tools like Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to keep an eye on rankings.
As you start to slip, chat with a seasoned SEO consultant and they will help you identify the factors you need to work on to win rankings back. That could just mean revamping and redesigning your entire website.
When you start to experience significant security challenges
Security is a huge concern to many, particularly in the online world. It’s not particularly reassuring when even brands as big as Sony can themselves suffer security breaches.
As a result, your website visitors want to be sure they are safe when they interact with your website.
They want to know the information they submit won’t soon be used to target them with annoying SPAM marketing or even worse. It’s no wonder laws like POPIA and GDPR have provisions for the protection of information online.
This means security is not only an internal consideration but oftentimes a legal one as well. Needless to say, when you can no longer guarantee the security of your website, a revamp or redesign is in order.
Various changes, particularly changes in technology can render previously secure websites insecure in the modern landscape.
Once upon a time, SSL certificates were not a thing, then they became a nice to have, then an absolute must-have for all websites and mobile apps.
Programming languages and web development platforms like WordPress are constantly updated with security patches that hangle security vulnerabilities. In the short run, you can keep your website secure by implementing updates as they come.
In the long run, though, websites become so outdated that you start to see constant security vulnerabilities. When you are no longer able to provide a safe browsing environment for your clients like this, then you just need to change your website.
Because website development may not be your strongest suit, it may help to have a good website management package from a good website development provider to help you stay on top of security issues, and determine when it’s time to revamp your website entirely.
When there is a significant change in technology
Web development, much like any discipline that employs code is always in a state of change. Technologies change fast in response to changes in the greater technological space. Think of the changes to web development mobile browsing technologies must have brought.
Think of the changes to adapt to innovations like cryptocurrencies and wearable technologies. The fact is, so many technological revolutions have occurred that some of the original websites produced are unrecognisable today.
While a well-built website should be able to survive small innovations, this won’t last forever. Even the most well-built websites can’t survive significant technology overhauls.
When mobile browsing became a factor, even the best-built websites were not ready for this transition. This means even with a very well-built website, it’s important to keep tabs on the direction of technology.
The truth is, like most technologies, web development technologies can be a bit tough to stay up to date with if they are not your primary line of work. This is why you need a web development partner who is passionate about what they do.
You need a web development partner that not only has a good grasp of the basics of web development but the direction it’s taking. Take the time out to engage them on their web development philosophies.
What do they use? Why do they use it? Do they anticipate any changes and how are they future-proofing their clients?
You may not understand all the answers, but your business acumen should let you judge the answer of a person who knows what they are talking about.
Engage your web development partner to regularly check if it could be time to redesign or revamp your website. If you currently have a provider who can’t help you achieve this, then maybe it may be wise to start searching for a new one.
To reflect shifts in your market and industry
Different industries and markets tend to impose different website requirements for businesses that operate within them. Take, for example, retail stores. As e-commerce grew, it became necessary to provide clients with an opportunity to purchase online.
Over in the education sphere, the introduction of learning management systems (LMSs) made it necessary to offer the ability to learn online. These kinds of disruptions are always happening in the business world. Sometimes they reshape the nature of businesses entirely.
These changes are however a double-edged sword. They present opportunities as much as they present threats. Just think of the opportunity for growth presented to learning institutes by online learning.
With a good LMS in place, they can reach a border audience without geographic boundaries, give access to their learning content around the clock, reduce the need for staff intervention, try out new course content with limited risks of failure and so much more. Unlimited opportunity.
However, for the learning institution that fails to take advantage of this technological change, the threats are also real. These developments lower the barriers to entry and make the competitive landscape a lot tougher.
Businesses that fail to adapt to them may even find themselves having been driven out of business by this new competition. Just think of the number of retailers that died out because of failure to adapt to e-commerce.
Your website redevelopment and revamp strategy should be designed to protect you from the same fate. What are emerging trends in website technology that affect your industry or market? What changes will come from them?
Lucky for you, there are people in the web development space that like to keep track of these. They share these in helpful lists and blog articles. Follow their content. Once you find these developments significant, it’s time to redesign your website!
When your website is no longer visually appealing
Human beings are visual creatures! We dedicate a significant amount of our brain’s computing power to processing visual cues. The availability of visual information makes us process information faster.
More importantly for your business, visual information we find appealing helps us make positive decisions. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, you need a visually appealing brand to win clients over.
No one is going to engage with a brand with a shabby logo and an unappealing colour scheme. When it comes to your website, a poor website equals SPAM. clients are simply not willing to buy from, submit information or generally just browse a poorly designed website.
This applies to all the staples of a well-designed website such as mobile responsiveness, well-written copy, site speed and more. Considering up to 42% of lost conversions could be down to poor web design alone, it’s a factor you need to stay well ahead of.
But website fundamentals change. The most advanced websites we were capable of building back in the days of HTML 1 and CSS1 are significantly inferior to even the most basic websites you can build on modern technologies (assuming you have a half-decent web developer).
So while your website wasn’t visually outdated when it was built, time could quickly catch up with it. That’s why it’s important to regularly audit the visual appeal of your website.
Look at your competition. Look at lists like best websites of [insert year here]. Be brutally honest with yourself. How does your own website stack up?
When you find your website to be left by the wayside in terms of design, it may be time for a redesign or revamp. You owe it to your clients to let them browse the best version of your brand at all times.
When your website’s branding and content become outdated
Brand strategy is not all about logos, fonts and colours, but these are a huge part of it. Your business will not be able to implement a successful brand strategy without forming a recognisable brand, and brand recognition usually boils down to successfully implementing these elements.
Think of some of the most successful brands in the world. Think of, for example, Coca-Cola. How long do you think it would take you to recognise the word Coca-Cola if it wasn’t written in that signature cursive?
How long would it take you to recognise anything Mcdonald’s without that signature yellow and red colour scheme? The answer is a lot longer than both Coca-Cola and Mcdonald’s need you to.
The thing about brand elements, however, is they don’t last forever. Logos get redesigned. The voice and tone of messaging get revised. Even brand colours have been known to change over time.
Whenever a significant number of the elements that make up your brand are changed, it’s time for a website redesign or revamp. Failure to do so can lead to a brand that is not recognisable and this works against your business in two ways.
Firstly, consider a brand that is more popular offline, say because of physical locations. When clients visit you online, they won’t be able to recognise your business and may not engage with your website.
Conversely, if your brand is more popular online, clients may not recognise you in the physical world. A significant number of buyers still prefer to complete purchases offline for various reasons. As such, it’s important to make sure your website matches your branding across all your assets, offline and online.
Redesign or revamp your business website to reflect growth
As your business grows and evolves so will its needs from its assets. Keeping a website that doesn’t adequately reflect this growth can be detrimental to your brand. Take, for example, where your brand has expanded its service offering.
If these new services aren’t represented on your website it could cost you clients. After all, when clients visit your website, they expect everything related to your business to be up there. If it’s not, then it’s a reasonable assumption that your business can’t assist them with it.
Now think of everything that your business has achieved since its hay day. Have you gotten any new industry recognitions that could help clients decide on your services? Did you form any partnerships that help you better deliver your services?
Are there any client referrals or any other form of social proofing that prove your business’s expertise and authority? Or it could be as simple as something that reflects an evolved understanding of your market, clients, product and business philosophy.
All of this needs to be reflected on your website at all times. Whenever you visit a page on your website and feel it doesn’t accurately represent your business, a change is in order.
Read through your product pages, your about us sections, do you get a sense of the service you are providing? If not, do something about it ASAP.
While this can usually be remedied by a simple content refresh, when it starts to occur more and more, it may be time to redesign or revamp your website. If you do not, you may be costing your business an opportunity to put its best foot forward.
Redesign or revamp your business website for a great user experience
All the points above speak to one important factor when revamping or redesigning your website, a good user experience. When it comes to your business website, there is one thing you should never overlook, the end user.
Every effort you put into your website should be in service to clients. The temptation to add website elements that benefit just you or other vanity elements can be overwhelming but resist.
As such, a good starting point to consider in a website revamp is an improved user experience. Of course, this starts with gathering feedback from your users.
This should be a continuous process, not just something you engage in when you are already looking to redesign the website. There are basically 2 types of feedback you want to gather.
The first is unsolicited feedback, feedback that clients didn’t volunteer to you or feedback from observing clients use your website. You can, for example, use a tool like Hotjar to record visitor sessions and analyse heatmaps to better understand how visitors browse your site.
The second is solicited feedback that you actually ask for. You can send periodic surveys using tools like Mailchimp to your clients to better understand if your website meets their needs, or you can automate the process with a system like exit surveys from Hotjar.
All you need now is to constantly analyse this feedback. For the most part, there could be small changes you could make to the site to refresh it and improve the user experience.
But as the feedback becomes increasingly negative and it becomes clear that your website is not meeting the average user’s needs, then it could no longer be enough to just keep patching it.
It may be a clear sign that it’s time to revamp your website. When you get started on this revamp, build on the feedback of your users to make sure you get it right.
Your business needs a systematic way to determine a good time to redesign or revamp your website. This will allow you to make the most of limited resources and make sure your website redesign doesn’t negatively affect your business.
It’s not uncommon for companies to end up worse off after a website revamp or redesign and you want to avoid this at all costs. This is a simple framework to determine the timing of your next website redesign.
Next, we’ll add a framework for best practices when you actually get started revamping your website. The guide will feature some advice from our own revamp, making it a definite must-read.