Website redesign. Two words that can strike fear into any website manager’s heart. However, redesign does not have to be a major headache – or a drain on your company’s marketing budget. With an optimised redesign schedule, you can minimise costs and boost user engagement. Knowing when it is time to revamp your site and when it is already performing at its best can significantly help your IT team in an environment of constantly changing web design trends. Here is how to master your site redesign schedule.
The Importance of Website Redesign
You might be thinking that you do not have to worry about your site redesign. You may have a relatively new website, or you have made minor updates over the years. If this is your thinking, you are underestimating the important role your website plays in the overall success of your company. In today’s business sphere, companies in virtually every industry need an aesthetically pleasing, high-functioning website that makes it easy and intuitive for its users to achieve their objectives. Anything less puts your brand at risk of looking old, outdated, or inauthentic.
Website redesign is not something you should keep placing on the back burner. This is a great year to revamp your site! As new ways to improve the overall user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) keep on emerging, each day that passes will make this hesitation worse. You can capitalise on video content, enhanced UX, flat design trends, and many other currently popular website design crazes that are must-haves for 2017. Additionally, and more importantly, you can update your infrastructure to accommodate changes more quickly, especially if your current content management system makes it too difficult or costly to implement changes.
A website redesign can help you fix problems your site experiences, such as slow loading pages or overly cluttered content. Think of it as a chance to make necessary changes to your site, not just to introduce your users to the newest trends. Redesign is an opportunity to answer user complaints and find ways your site can improve. An optimised website can make your pages rank higher in search engine results, increase site traffic, and lead to more conversions. With the right website maintenance plan, you will never have to worry about the state of your site again.
What Key Performance Indicators to Use for Redesign
While staying up to date with current trends is important, it is possible to redesign your site too often. Your users want the best UI possible, but they also want consistency and stability. Overhauling your site too often is not only a waste of precious business resources, but it can also turn your customers off. Redesigning too frequently can tell your users that you are not confident with your decisions, and force them to relearn your site every time they visit.
Not updating your site enough, on the other hand, can make your brand look outdated or like a spam site – a risk you should not be willing to take. Strike the ideal balance in your schedule using website key performance indicators (KPIs). According to Google Analytics, these are the most relevant KPIs to look for when deciding how often to redesign your site:
- Number of visitors to your page
- Satisfaction of your visitors
- Ratio of new to returning visitors
- How long visitors stay on your site
- Bounce rate (visitors that view a single page and leave)
- Traffic sources (acquisition)
- User behaviour and content interaction
- Page load time
- Average time users spend on a page
- Conversion rates
Google Analytics advises never to rely on just one parameter. Instead, take these KPIs into account when analysing the performance of your website. Beware of “vanity metrics” or those that do not truly showcase how your site is performing. Vanity metrics include raw page views, registered users, and downloads. These numbers do not necessarily tell you anything of substance. The numbers that matter will indicate your user engagement, the number of active users, and the rate at which your website is converting new customers.
Creating Your Optimal Redesign Schedule
Once you gain a handle on your website KPIs, you can track when your numbers are falling, and where you are losing users. For example, your KPIs may show that users are leaving your website when they come to your “Services” page. This could signal that you need to make a change on this page to encourage longer view times. Your number of new visitors could be falling, pointing to the need to increase lead generation and the visibility of your website.
Your website needs regular maintenance. Use your KPIs like a roadmap – the data will tell you exactly which areas of your site have room for improvement. Make changes, track your KPIs, and see if your changes are successful. If not, try something different and start over again. Update your contact form, prices, content, blog, cookies, and more on a regular schedule to make sure you never miss important opportunities.
Signs it is Time for Website Redesign
It can be difficult to know when you should invest in a redesign, and when your site is functioning fine as-is. Make your redesign choices based on your site’s usability, not what is currently popular. When you notice any of these red flags, it is time for a major website overhaul:
- Your site looks outdated. Look at your site. Is it too content-heavy, with low-quality images or no graphics at all? Outdated websites can signal to your users that your brand is behind the times, out of service, or even a spam site. Old-looking websites hurt your authority and will increase bounce rates.
- Your content is hard to update. Your website’s infrastructure should make it easy for you to go in and make changes. If updating your content is difficult or impossible without help from a developer, you need a total overhaul. A website that is not user-friendly is a major indicator that you need a new architecture.
- Your site leaves you open to security threats. One of the major reasons to redesign is the security of your website. Operating outdated components leaves you open to hackers. It may be time to install security plug-ins or use multi-factor authentication to increase your security.
- Your site is not mobile friendly. More users are accessing the web via their smartphones. It is important that your website functions optimally across multiple devices. If you have not invested in responsive web design, now is the time!
These are just four signs of many that it’s time to redesign your site. If you have any questions or concerns about your site’s performance, talk to a developer. Be proactive about your website’s health to avoid making major mistakes in UI and UX elements.
Making Updates vs. Rebuilding from Scratch
Depending on the state of your website, you will need to make the decision to upgrade your current infrastructure or perform a complete overhaul. To make this decision, look at your audience and more importantly conduct regular user testing. Is your website accommodating your target audience’s current needs? If the answer is no, you may need to rebuild from scratch. This might be the case if you have a severely outdated website (you have not redesigned in years), a significant element of your site does not work, or the purpose of your business or site has changed.
If on the other hand, your website still answers your user’s needs and allows them to achieve their objectives, you can likely get away with simpler, optimization updates. You may only need a content refresh, or a design change to a cleaner, modern appearance. Again, look at your KPIs to decide which aspects of your website may need improvements. Sometimes an overhaul is unavoidable. If more than half of your KPIs are reporting poor numbers, you probably need a complete redesign.
Redesigning your website is good for users, good for SEO, and good for your business. If you are still using Flash, your website does not work for mobile, or your site takes longer than three seconds to load, you are losing customers. Over time, website design flaws can lead to the downfall of your business. This is not an exaggeration – the website is becoming a critical staple to a business’s success as the modern consumer becomes more tech savvy. Do not risk the future of your business. Master your website redesign schedule to stay on top of your game, today and every day.
(Lead image: Depositphotos – affiliate link)