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There’s no hard and fast rule as to how often to redesign a website. As web designers, we have to resist the urge to suggest “you should redesign it NOW!” 😉
While there’s no set schedule for a redesign, here are some factors you should consider in deciding when it is time to redesign your web site.
1. Does your site look out of date, especially compared to your competitors?
Web trends change more often than clothing fashions. If your site looks as dated as Herb Tarlek’s plaid suit (Google that name if you don’t remember the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati), you need a redesign.
2. Are you on your second or third computer since a redesign?
If yes, you need a redesign–a site that works on Internet Explorer 6 is not state of the art by any stretch of the imagination.
3. Does your site’s code make your web designer cringe, sigh, or grumble?
Back in the old days, we built websites using tables for layouts due to limitations of browsers. We often joke that we’re not designing websites this afternoon the same way as we did this morning… while it’s not quite that bad, your web code needs to be current to display properly on modern browsers.
4. Do any of your pages have a “Last updated…” line that is more than six months old?
If so, your site at least needs some content updates. If that last update is more than 12-18 months old, you probably need more than updated content.
5. Is your website converting visitors into customers?
Check your web stats frequently–if visitors are leaving the site as soon as hitting the home page, you need to address this problem now. If the text hasn’t changed for months (or years), at least on the home page and your products or services pages, your content probably isn’t effective.
6. Is your web traffic down?
Search engines are continually refining how they rank web sites. While keeping your content fresh will help with your ranking regardless of design, searches do factor in the quality of your web code and page load times in your ranking. Older code could be hurting your search rank.
7. Can the site be made easier to use?
Visitors are impatient–if you don’t make things easy to find, they’ll hit the back button and look for the next site in search. We have many new design techniques to make things easier to find, and to drive visitors to the content you want them to see. Again, some of these techniques were not available a few years ago.
8. Does your website accommodate new technologies, such as the explosion of mobile devices?
Web sites designed for the desktop browser may not work properly on iPads, or smart phones including iPhones, Droids, and Blackberries. Even if they do function, a site intended to be viewed on a 20” monitor is, at best, cumbersome on a three-inch screen.
Blitz Media Design can provide a version of your web site that’s optimized for handheld devices.
These are just some factors to consider when contemplating a redesign. Web sites should be regarded as an evolving process, not a “one and done” product. You should always strive to improve your site, making a tweak here and there, updating the content regularly, and fixing something that’s not working as planned immediately.
As far as the design, you should evaluate it at least annually to make sure it’s still meeting your market needs and expectations. If you haven’t redesigned the site for more than two years, it’s definitely time to at least consider a complete overhaul!