Just like you’d refurbish a physical office space to keep it appealing and in working order, your online presence similarly requires regular updates to stay fresh, functional, and engaging.
Why do a website redesign in the first place?
Before we get into the question of how often to update your website’s appearance, function, and content, let’s talk about the reasons for a redesign. There are reasons for a website redesign that fall outside this list, whether industry or business-specific. Still, you can consider these as general reasons to start thinking about a website overhaul.
1. Keep your website up to date with your business.
Your website should evolve as your business evolves and grows. You may find that as your product or service offerings grow or change, your website’s navigability or usability likewise changes. Often, business changes necessitate a closer look at how the information on your website is organized and displayed. A website redesign will allow you to showcase new promotions, products, or services in improved ways.
2. Improve the experience for your users.
More and more websites are designed with accessibility and usability at the forefront these days, making the Internet more user-friendly than ever. If your website hasn’t kept up with these changing user experience (UX) trends, you (and your potential clientele) may find that your competitors’ sites are easier to navigate and use, which can ultimately cost you customers. An updated website will be designed for ease of use, with enhanced responsiveness and navigability.
3. Make a memorable first impression.
If you’re like most businesses in the digital age, your website is the first point of contact with potential customers. And an outdated or poorly maintained website may not give the first impression you want your customers to have. Nailing that initial contact with potential customers is a great reason to consider a website redesign.
This is a big one that affects millions of users and businesses worldwide. By now, you likely know that not everyone online has the best intentions all the time. Unfortunately, outdated websites are more vulnerable to security threats like ransomware, malware, and data breaches.
These events can lead to compromised data, business and functional disruption, and lost trust with customers, all of which are difficult to recover from and taxing in innumerable ways. A website redesign provides a perfect opportunity to refresh your website’s update cadence and revisit your online health.
5. Search engine optimization (SEO)
While it’s not the end-all, be-all reason to update your website, there is evidence that Google rewards relevant and recently updated websites. That’s not to say that you need to change the dates on everything on your website or update just for the sake of updating. However, a redesign presents a perfect opportunity to evaluate your written and visual content and refresh how it looks and what it says, which may give you an SEO boost.
How often should my website be redesigned?
As is the truth for many things online and in real life, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should update your business website. Because every business is unique, the frequency you should explore a site redesign varies, depending on your industry and market, goals, and available resources, including budget, time, and personnel.
That said, there are a few general indicators you may consider to help you determine if it’s time for a website redesign.
1. Your website hasn’t been updated in 5(ish) years.
There are plenty of exceptions to this rule, but it’s worth considering a redesign if you have had the same web design for five years, give or take. Industry trends, user expectations, design trends, and technology change very rapidly, and five years is a long time to keep up with any one of those things, let alone all three.
Does keeping track of industry trends and how often you need to update seem like a daunting or overwhelming task? The right technology partner is an invaluable resource that can help you a. determine when it’s time to update your website and b. help you make the best plan for doing so.
2. Your website looks/feels paltry or out-of-date compared to your competitors.
As mentioned above, industry trends move exponentially more quickly these days, including web design. Many web designers advocate for design refreshes even more frequently than five years, often closer to two or three years, depending on your industry. If you find yourself visiting your competitors’ websites and feeling like yours isn’t quite up to snuff, it might be time to make some design changes.
Some updates are simple: Maybe you need to organize your content presentation more clearly on individual pages or make minor adjustments to buttons or forms. Other updates might require restructuring your website’s information architecture to better serve your audience, which usually means a more significant investment. Fortunately, when you partner with a reliable web design team, they can help you plan designs that will grow with you, recommend more manageable changes that will withstand the test of time, and help you recognize when it’s time for a total redesign.
3. User feedback shows evidence of decline.
If you use user surveys to solicit immediate feedback as people visit your website, you’ll immediately notice changes. But definitely don’t sleep on your long-term analytics data, especially if you don’t employ user surveys. Actions speak louder than words, so even if your survey feedback is positive, you might still see a decline in click-through rates or an increase in bounce rates, both of which indicate that something about your website may need to be updated.
Suppose users report issues directly, or you see a steep drop in performance. In that case, you’ll want to address these issues more urgently, as they may indicate technology incompatibilities or other performance issues best identified by a more comprehensive analysis, like a technical discovery.
4. Your brand has evolved.
Not all website updates are in response to harmful data or changes! Sometimes, your brand grows or changes, so your existing website’s design no longer reflects what you are or offer. Often, this results from your quick thinking, willingness to pivot in competitive markets, and growth mindset.
In short, if you’ve changed your logo, color scheme, or overall identity, that should almost definitely trigger a web design refresh. If you’ve changed your product offerings or business structure, that might mean it’s time for a complete website redesign.
5. Your SEO needs to catch up.
While it’s not the sole focus behind most redesigns, SEO is still a major deciding factor when businesses decide to redesign their websites. It might be time to refocus your website’s design around SEO if your website isn’t ranking well for relevant searches. This can happen whether your competitors’ websites have improved to outrank yours or you haven’t kept up with trends in your market or industry. Either root cause means that it might be time to think about a redesign that focuses on your website’s structure, navigability, and content presentation.
It IS possible to redesign your website too frequently.
While it’s vital to keep your website updated at a suitable interval, it’s also essential that your site maintains its quality and is allowed ample time to accumulate data and establish authority in your industry or market. Too many updates in too short a time can lead to a decline in quality or performance and incomplete or incorrect user data.
Decreased quality or performance can cascade to user dissatisfaction, increased development costs, and security issues, among other undesirable outcomes. Incorrect or incomplete user data leaves your marketing team either blindly making advertising decisions or waiting around for enough of the correct user data to make appropriate adjustments. Frequent updates can also hurt your brand’s image, as users might perceive flippant changes to your website as noncommittance to the brand’s identity or, worse, the business itself.
Balancing the frequency and quality of website updates
The best way to combat issues resulting from too-frequent updates is to design around your audience and plan ahead. When you keep your users at the center of your redesign, you’ll find yourself only making changes that users need. This user-centric approach pays off in the long run with both your desired audience and search engines like Google and Bing.
Additionally, a high-quality redesign plan consists of a timeline that ensures updates are thoughtful and well-organized. This carefully developed plan decreases the likelihood of errors and should include plenty of opportunities for quality assurance testing and feedback. These extra steps allow issues to be caught before they become problematic.
Website redesign: Much more than a facelift
Redesigning your website is almost always more than simply changing how it looks. It’s a strategic business decision to align your brand’s online presence with your real-life reputation and an opportunity to serve your customer base better. As such, the decision to redesign your website should be treated with careful consideration alongside an experienced web development team that you can trust.
Thinking about a website redesign? Need some guidance?
With over a decade in business, our experts are happy to share what we’ve learned when redesigning websites for companies of all sizes and in all kinds of industries. Check out our work, and feel free to reach out for a consultation today.