Nowadays it seems like a majority of businesses have some sort of website. This often leads to conversations with clients about redesigning their existing online presence, and what it can do to improve their sales/leads/what-have-you. However, there is often some disconnect between today's over-crowded web design marketplace and the businesses we work with. It's crucial that both parties be in the same mindset when it comes to a "redesign" because it can sometimes mean different things. This confusion can lead to unhappy clients, lost sales, and unnecessary work for both the designer and the business. This article is going to pin down exactly what it means to redesign a website, the reasons why we do it, and of course whether or not your company should overhaul its own web property.
Why do company's redesign their website?
There are a number of reasons that a business or brand would want to consider redesigning their website. Regardless of the perceived meaning of the word, many companies know it's time to mix something up when;
- They want to stand out from their competitors.
- Their existing website doesn't perform well on mobile devices.
- The web presence they have now just isn't converting.
- Their customers are complaining about poor performance online.
- The website they have now isn't capable of new technologies (online retail, social media connectivity, etc)
All or some of these things can lead you, the client, to be unhappy with your existing website. You might even start tossing around the word "redesign".
But what do you mean by "redesign"?
As you can probably guess, you could take the concept of a website redesign to mean any number of things. Does it mean to just redo the layout of your existing site? Or maybe start a new one from scratch? Or do you need a whole new logo, color scheme, and brand identity? This is exactly where it gets complicated. On one hand, redoing the layout of your home page could cost you only a little bit of time, but on the other, you're looking at a few weeks of work and possibly thousands of dollars.
The problem is all of these scenarios fall into the scope of the very broad term "redesign". You'll want to take the time to truly pin down what you want to get out of your web presence. Then, speak with a website design expert to help you narrow down exactly what kind of work you need. A good designer will be honest and forthright about to what extent you should rebuild your current property. They may suggest a couple different strategies:
1. A complete redesign
This would be the largest amount of work needed to achieve your goals. You're starting from scratch. A blank slate to project your companies brand and intentions onto. Included in this often times are new logos and new color schemes, but not always. These are almost always rolled out when they're complete. Your old website will one day just be gone, replaced with a shiny new one.
2. Using small changes to optimize for leads and sales
Sometimes the base of the website may be strong and ready to build upon. Or maybe you're a well-established business that has an existing website that's long overdue for an overhaul. You won't want to confuse or anger your existing clients and make it difficult for them to find what they need. In both of these instances making small incremental changes over time may be best. The changes would be geared towards improving conversions your site, while slowly teaching your new clients where all of their favorite articles are at.
Another benefit to this strategy is the ability to monitor the effects the changes have on your metrics. By doing one change at a time you can measure the benefits (or lack thereof) in real time. This adaptive process can be quite advantageous.
This strategy can take some time though as each new change will need to be implemented over the course of a few weeks or months.
By being precise about what is expected during a "redesign" you can save a tremendous amount of confusion while laying the groundwork for a smooth transition into bold new marketing strategies.
It's crucial that both parties be in the same mindset when it comes to a "redesign" because it can sometimes mean different things. This confusion can lead to unhappy clients, lost sales, and unnecessary work for both the designer and the business.
Should my company completely redesign or incrementally improve it's existing site?
Much like the list at the beginning of this article, you can ask yourself a set of simple questions to determine whether or not it's time to upgrade your website:
- "Does my current website bring me new and excited customers?" If you answer no, or maybe, it's probably time to upgrade.
- "Do my existing customers ever talk about my website?" If your website is driving traffic to you, you'll know. Likewise, if it's not you won't ever hear about it.
- "How does my site compare to my competitor's sites?" Take a look around at your competition. What are they doing that you could or should be? If they look better and are easier to find, you can bet they're selling more than you.
- "Does my website look good on my phone?" Mobile web traffic now outnumbers that of desktop traffic. If your site doesn't work or look good on a smartphone, you're losing sales.
- "Do I have to wait for my page to load?" Fewer than 55% of all visitors spend less than 15 seconds on websites. If your page takes even remotely close to that to load, it's time to get a new one.
- "When was the last time my website was updated?" The best practices for web design have changed dramatically in the last year alone. SEO is different now too, and so are the capabilities of websites. You need to make sure you're taking advantage of them as well.
Talking about a website redesign can be tricky. Sometimes the meaning is different for you than it is for me and this can cause confusion, disappointment, or worse; lost revenue. Take the time to ask yourself the above questions and really think about what you want your web presence to do for you business. If you're drawing a blank, don't be afraid to ask a professional for their advice. Sometimes you'll be surprised by what needs (or doesn't need) to be done to your existing website.
If you have any questions, or just want to chat - don't be afraid to ask below!