Your website is a valuable part of your marketing package, no matter what kind of business you're in. Whether you sell cotton seeds or windmills, your website answers questions about your product, shows prospective customers how to purchase and gives them a little something extra for their time. Somehow, it has become standard practice to completely redesign commercial websites every 18 to 24 months, but does your website really need to be redesigned?
It's Time to Redesign When...
You have lots of broken links or pages that are no longer getting any traffic. If you or the IT guy aren't keeping your links working or your pages relevant, this kind of negligence can quickly spiral out of control. Before you know it, half the page won't work or people simply stop visiting. A redesign and relaunch can correct these problems and generate new interest.
Traffic is dwindling. There was a time a website was a set it and forget it kind of marketing tool, but today's website are living, changing things. If your website isn't giving your viewers new information on a regular basis, they will stop coming by to visit. Sometimes you can integrate a blog or news feed into an existing site, but often a major overhaul is needed to make the content fit seamlessly.
It's time for lots of new pages. If you've got a new marketing campaign planned that will require the addition of many landing pages or the insertion of a great deal of new information, it may be time to have a redesign. Trying to integrate a lot of new information into an old frame that wasn't designed with expansion in mind can be a nightmare – a redesign with a look to the future can simplify the process.
Stick with the Status Quo If...
You need minor, but site-wide changes. It may seem like a redesign is necessary if you update your logo or make changes that affect the entire site, but as long as your website's frame can accommodate these modifications, that new logo or testimonials section can be easily slipped into place without major changes.
You wish your website looked more like the competition. Your website is as much a part of your brand image as the content contained in its pages. Boredom or jealousy is hardly a reason to go through a chaotic redesign. If your competition has a particular feature you like, check with your provider to see if it can be added without the jostling effects redesigns have on end users.
Your website is aging gracefully. Sure, a complete overhaul can give a site new life, but if your website is well-known and has a substantial following, a redesign may backfire. Users like things that are the same and work well, drastic changes could be damaging to your site's traffic and credibility. Instead, consider incremental changes, to allow long-time users to adjust as you tweak your site's look or hierarchy.