Recently I ran across an article from Marketing Sherpa addressing the website redesign for a local business.
This made me think, when is a website redesign the right approach?
It’s difficult not to be biased when someone asks me if they should redo their website.
After all, that’s one of the services we provide, and it was my first foot in the door into the world of marketing.
Yet I realize it’s important to not be a carpenter who tries to solve every problem with a hammer.
In Rescue Spa’s case, it became clear that they needed a redesign, especially when you ask yourself:
What do you want visitors to do when
they arrive at your website’s digital front door?
This case study is an excellent example of why this question is so important. Rescue Spa was faced with the following challenges:
- Their website was chained down to a CMS (content management system) that was proprietary to their web developer
- Staff at Rescue Spa couldn’t make simple changes to the website
- Owners of Rescue Spa had to pay every time they needed to make the smallest of change
- The site needed serious design updates and streamline checkout
Rescue Spa’s website redesign wasn’t because they were bored with their brand. It was a practical need. They needed to be rescued!!
And how often should you redesign your website?
We were recently approached by Sabina Signature Landscapes, a local company that offers landscape design and maintenance in El Paso, Texas. Another company suggested that Sabina get a complete redesign.
However when you take a look at her website, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the design. It matches her brand perfectly, and it’s still very appealing to look at, even though the website is 5 years old! Kudos to the designer.
There’s just one problem. The software that powers the old website is so outdated that the programmer for the software has shut down their website. Unfortunately, there’s no way to reach him to update the site.
This is when it becomes critical to understand what it means to rebuild a website.
Many clients don’t realize that there are a few key elements to building a website, and they don’t necessarily have to be joined at the hip when you update:
- The graphic design: The overall look, feel, layout, colors, and branding
- The content: All the words and images that build a message for your audience
- The software: The programming that makes your website display your design and your content.
These are the 5.1 rules to help me determine
if a website needs to be redesigned or not
Over the years, I’ve developed some benchmarks that help me make an unbiased recommendation to clients. Here they are:
1. Poor Design
Rocky Mountain Mortgage had a website that was in serious need of a redesign. Graphically, it was incredibly busy and hard for potential customers to determine where you should click. By redesigning their website, we were able to increase the number on online applications by 400%! A key goal for the website redesign was to facilitate this process.
2. Outdated Technology
We looked at Sabina’s website and quickly realized that she didn’t need to rebrand her website. She just needed to update the programming that powered it. While the other company was charging a few thousand dollars to redesign her site, we were able to save her that money by just updating the programming. She can now invest that money into market her business or she can simply save it.
3. Proprietary technology
This entire post was inspired by the Rescue Spa’s website redesign. In fact, we formed 8 Signal out of this very frustration. As a business owner, you want to own and control as many of your assets as possible, and when a programmer is running your website on their platform, it makes it virtually impossible to find someone else to help you, and you get charged $60/hour to switch out one picture.
4. Change in market trends
There are many market trends that can influence whether or not you should redesign your website. Some of these are industry-specific, and others are just overall changes in the market.
A good example of the latter is the need for a mobile website for local businesses. If your website isn’t responsive, ie it adapts to the screen size of someone’s cell phone, tablet, or monitor, then there’s a chance you’re driving traffic away from your business and to your competitors.
5. Change in the purpose of your site – TAGT On Demand
As your business evolves, so should your website. This could be as simple as the messaging, as was the case with TAGT On Demand. 1) The first site we designed for them was more on the informational side. 2) As a new company, they needed people to know what they were all about. 3) With time, it served more as catalog for prospects to browse. 4) As they grew, it made since to integrate an ecommerce shopping cart with their website, and finally 5) they went through a significant rebranding that required a completely new look to the site.
All of this happened in a short span of 2-3 years. The purpose of your site may not change as frequently as TAGT, but it’s important that it’s updated.
.1 You’re not getting the results you want
When we originally designed a site for Brian Hall of Dockside Diver in San Diego, CA, we went with a more trendy design with left navigation and a one-page, scrolling design. Over time as the content on his site grew, we decided that a more traditional navigation interface would increase user engagement. So, we moved to a more traditional site design with navigation along the top. The new design has facilitated new feature, more content, and even more customers for Dockside Divers.
You don’t have to live with a website you don’t like. If your website fits into one of the 5.1 reasons above, 8 Signal can redesign your website in a simple, painless process.
We’d like to know what your biggest pain-point is with your website. Leave us a comment below and let us know!