Redesigning your website can improve SEO, but it’s not always necessary.
Even the most modern website will age over time. Websites are commodities that often need to evolve in order to stay viable. Trends and styles change, often turning once “hip” websites into outdated embarrassments or relics of a different era (believe it or not, the Space Jam website is still active). It’s important to re-evaluate your www dot window to the world every once in a while.
With that in mind, it’s also crucial to note that a website redesign shouldn’t be forced if not necessary. A redesign can improve struggling metrics, but you must do it with a goal in mind. Modern digital bells and whistles may look pretty, but they need to serve a purpose for your brand and your audience to be effective. Is it time for a website redesign? Maybe. Maybe not. Here’s how to find out.
Has Your Business Changed?
No, the new couch in the break room doesn’t count. Rather, has your brand undergone transformations that impact business or could alter audience perceptions in a positive way? These changes can be improvements to your business model, philanthropic ventures that reshaped your brand’s mission statement, or any upgraded in-between your audience needs to recognize.
Now, ask yourself if these changes can be conveyed in a new webpage or blog post. If so, go that route instead of overhauling your entire site. Have business changes literally reshaped who you are as a company? It might be time to consider a website redesign.
If It’s Broken, Fix it
Website design is only effective if it displays properly across all platforms. If your audience can’t see or use your site due to a design flaw, it’s time for a fix. Here are a few aspects to consider:
- Mobile display: Modern websites must work on mobile devices. Period. Today, sites utilize responsive design to accommodate varying screen sizes on different devices.
- Abode Flash: iPhone and iPad don’t support Flash design elements, and search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo won’t read them for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. If you’re using Flash, you’ve crippled your site and analytics.
- Site speed: Load times tend to be more important to visitors than color palettes and animated features. Additionally, slow site load times negatively affect your SEO, and 25% of users abandon after only 4 seconds of load time.
(Before you consider a site redesign, you should address image sizes, content redundancies, and cached data to improve site speed.)
Comfort in the Familiar
Web elements may grow out of fashion, but site owners should be careful about making big, abrupt, unexpected changes. Users prefer the familiar, and a complete site overhaul may not be the best way to improve their on-site behavior. In fact, if your redesign makes it difficult for long-time users to navigate and find familiar content, you’ve introduced a problem rather than provided a solution.
If you’re rolling out a new website or making drastic changes to how your content displays, make sure to announce changes well ahead of the release date. Some brands even offer customers a chance to take part in the redesign process, and others employ a “try it, you’ll like it” approach to give users a chance to try a new website but revert back to a previous design if they’re not satisfied. Remember, users are your site’s backbone, regardless of design elements. If you don’t have them, your website is essentially a five star hotel in a desert wasteland.
Drawing Your Bottom Line
Though sites from last decade may benefit from a redesign, site owners with more current pages must have clear goals for the process. Website redesign is not a cure-all solution for poor marketing metrics, high bounce rates, or low sales. If there’s a problem (and it’s not your web design), it’s important to do some digging before you invest time and money into a complete site overhaul.