Does your website need a fresh look? How to know if a website needs to be redesigned.

There are many factors that go into redesigning a website. Many experts suggest you should focus the majority of your budget and efforts on content and not on design. I could not disagree more! While the content of a website is of the utmost importance, the design is equally important. If the design is not clean and engaging to catch users’ eyes, they will quickly move on to the next site. Don’t get me wrong; if your content is not relevant to the visitor’s request, you will lose the opportunity to convert them to a customer. With that said, there has to be a balance between quality design and excellent content.

Good design attracts people and helps them focus on what the design team feels is important, but good content retains and converts them to customers. There are people who only care about content, but there are also many who care about the combination. Take a car, for example. Some people look at a car to get from point A to B, but most people care about the looks of a car, the features, and how it functions. A website is similar in that if it’s designed poorly, doesn’t function properly, and has bad navigation, a visitor is not going to be as interested in engaging with your content. This is why they are equally important.

A website is an additional component of your brand and should be handled with the same minimum standards as any other aspect of your brand. The voice of the content should complement the layout and design of the site so they are portraying the same message. If they don’t, you’re only going to create brand confusion. Below are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you decide if you should start thinking about a redesign.

  1. Is your website code outdated or obsolete?
    As technologies change so do the languages they’re written in. It’s very important to make sure your site stays current with the latest standards or your search placement will be effected. If your site is built completely out of Tables, that’s a good sign you need to consider a redesign and rebuild of your site.
  2. Can you manage your website?
    Today there is no reason why a site should not be built on a CMS (Content Management System). A CMS gives the site owner the ability to make updates to your site without the knowledge of HTML. This is extremely important these days if you want to stay relevant in the search engines. You have to continue to keep your site fresh and a CMS will help you do this easily.
  3. Has your company had a change in focus?
    Websites are often built when a company first launches. If this is the case, you need to evaluate the site and make sure the products and services are current. You also need to revisit the goals and make sure they are in line with the ongoing vision of the company. I have seen many companies offering a product or service on their websites that they no longer support. This is why having your site built on a CMS is very important.
  4. Has the company brand changed?
    If your company has updated or rebranded but neglected to update the website, then it’s time to redesign. There’s nothing worse than reading marketing materials and then visiting a website and it looks like a different brand. This will make people question your credibility.

These are just a few of many questions that can be asked if a site needs to be redesigned.  If you find yourself answering any of these questions, then you should put an action plan together.

Here are a few tips to consider when thinking about redesigning a website.

  • Have specific goals in mind
    You need to define the goals before you redesign the site. You should also create a list of wants and needs for your new site. This is very important as some items may be out of reach depending on your budget, but they may be phased in at a later date.
  • Inventory your current assets
    It’s important to make sure you inventory all of your current assets and make a list of what needs to be incorporated into the new site.
  • What features do you need
    Do your research and look at competitors’ sites to find any features you feel are important for the new site. Your old site may have just listed products, but now you’re ready to sell online. You will need an eCommerce function for your site.
  • Content strategy
    A content strategy is important to develop during a redesign. You should be thinking about adding value to the site over time. You will have better positioning on the search engines the more active you are with adding content to your site.
  • Make sure you have a budget
    Create a budget for this redesign. A budget will help manage the expectations of everyone involved.
  • Long-term marketing strategy and budget
    Now that you have decided to redesign your site, make sure you think about the long-term marketing strategy. You have to have a plan in place to help drive traffic to the site. It’s more than just publishing your site to the World Wide Web. You should also consider a budget for this ongoing effort. Things like Pay-Per-Click advertising and ongoing execution of content strategies will cost money but can be measured and adjusted as needed. Often times, this is forgotten and there’s not money left in the budget. Don’t let this happen to you.

So do you feel your site needs to be redesigned? If so, I would love to hear why.

photo credit: Kemeny_x via photopin cc

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