Table of Contents
When do I need to redesign my website? This is one of the most common questions asked by website owners and there is no definite answer to that. While some claim that a website needs to be redesigned every year, others have perfectly working websites for years and even decades.
The thing is, only you can decide when to redesign your website because the process depends on several important factors and does not fall under a planned schedule. This said, let’s have a look at these factors in more detail.
What is a website redesign?
A website redesign is a complete website overhaul that involves major changes in the code, a possible migration to a new CMS, incorporation of new modules, an update of servers, a complete change in the site UI. Hence, it is a complex process that addresses practically all components of your website.
The main goal of a website redesign is to give a website a new look, update it, improve its performance, and make it more converting. Usually, website redesign brings the following benefits:
- Better brand representation and recognition;
- An increased number of conversions;
- Better user engagement;
- Better SEO
- Better performance of the site;
- Improved security.
Website redesign vs website refresh: are they the same?
In addition to website redesign, there is also such thing as website refresh. Unfortunately, many site owners confuse the two terms and as a result, they do not get what they wanted.
A website refresh, as the name implies, is applying several not so major changes to your website. In other words, the core of the website (the code, servers, the CMS) remain untouched but you can change the following:
- The UI part;
- Website content;
- New elements;
- Social media integration;
- Adaptation of new technology.
As you see, these changes are not so critical yet they also impact the site performance. A website refresh is usually done when you do not have the budget for the complete redesign or when you simply don’t need it.
And that leads us to the question: when do you really need a website redesign?
8 signs your website needs a redesign
In order not to lose money and time, it’s recommended to do a website redesign only if it’s really needed. But how do you know the time has come? Simply by looking at the following symptoms.
The design looks outdated or not attractive enough
As simple as that, but outdated or poorly looking design is one of the top reasons for the website redesign.
First, an unappealing website discourages the users from browsing it. If it doesn’t look good, it won’t spark any interest and, as a result, you will lose potential customers.
Second, an outdated design (especially compared to your competitors) shows that you do not keep up with the trends and do not incorporate them. This significantly reduces the level of trust towards your brand and impacts the buying decision of your customers.
Third, an outdated and unappealing website simply confuses the users. When they land on it, they usually have no idea where to start or what to look for. So they just leave and choose your competitors instead – and this is something that you’d least like to happen.
The website has a high bounce rate
If you think that everything is fine with your website looks, check the bounce rate. This is usually a reliable indicator of whether your website is performing up to your expectations.
A bounce rate means a percentage of users that only visit a single page on your website during their session, according to the definition by Google. That means they land on one page and “bounce” off it, never coming back. And the most common reason for that is lack of interest, poor navigation, or poor content.
Hence, if you have a high bounce rate, it is most probably a poor user experience. Of course, there is a chance that the user got all the necessary information from one page but it’s not very likely in most cases.
The website takes too long to load
It is a well-known fact that a good website should load in 3 seconds or less. Thus, if yours take much longer than that, you might be in trouble.
The thing is, modern users are quite impatient and they are not willing to wait for your website to load if there are other options available (and that load faster!). So a slow load equals lost users. This, in turn, leads to a drop in conversions and has an impact on your revenue.
The content is outdated or of poor quality
If your content is of poor quality or has not been updated in months, users will notice that and they will most probably lose interest in interacting with your website. As well, the content on the website (both text and visual elements) heavily impacts your branding and the message that you want to communicate to the users.
And don’t forget that poor content also has a negative impact on SEO. There is no need to explain why SEO is critical – so keep that in mind the next time you evaluate your content.
The CMS is outdated
This point is related to the one above. If you have an outdated CMS that is no longer supported, it won’t allow you to properly add and update your content. This will lead to the issues described above.
In addition to poor content management, an outdated CMS poses security threats, does not allow marketers to properly do their job, and overall drags your website down.
The website is not mobile-friendly
Modern users expect a website to be mobile-friendly and to work equally well on different mobile devices with different screen sizes and resolutions. Besides, don’t forget about the mobile-first indexing approach introduced by Google and you’ll understand why it is so important that your website is mobile responsive.
Poor SEO optimization
Once again, SEO is critical for any website as it makes a website more visible, attracts users, and contributes to the website ranking. Thus, a problematic SEO may be among the reasons for the website redesign.
The main issues with SEO may be as following:
- Broken links that lead to a 404 page;
- Lack of keywords;
- Poor quality of content;
- Duplicate content.
Of course, there can be more issues related to SEO and we’ve listed only the core ones. You can fix these issues in a selective manner but usually, SEO optimization is part of a website redesign.
You do too much troubleshooting
Let’s face it: if you constantly fix something on your website and spend too much time on technical issues, it will be easier and faster to perform a complete redesign.
You may not notice it but constant work on the technical troubleshooting may result in an impressive financial loss in the long-time run. We recommend performing a website audit and detecting the major bottlenecks. After that, you will have a better understanding of what to focus on during the website redesign and how to prevent similar issues in the future.
Bonus: your business has grown and/or rebranding occurred
Finally, another valid reason for doing a website redesign is that your company has grown and changed or extended its services. So naturally, you’d want to include them in your website and probably change the main focus of your content.
The recent rebranding also implies doing a website redesign since your website should reflect your brand and its message for the users.
A website redesign strategy
If you’ve checked all or almost all of the points above, it’s probably time for your website to be redesigned. In order to do so, you’ll need to follow several steps that we will now discuss.
Analyze your current website
Remember that a website redesign affects everything quite heavily so you’d want to analyze your website before implementing any change.
You will need to analyze the following:
- Your most valuable pages (and what makes them so valuable);
- Your visitors and their motivation (why do they visit your website?);
- The bottlenecks that stop people from navigating the site;
- How your team uses the website and what their purpose is;
- The best-performing pages;
- The worst-performing pages;
- KPIs to measure success.
This seems like a lot, yet it has to be done. We also recommend documenting your current metrics in a spreadsheet document so you can refer to them later on.
This analysis is obligatory as it will help you set goals for the new website and will help you focus on its most important areas (as well as on the weak areas of the current website).
Set the redesign goals
Based on the analysis above, you will be able to set your redesign goals. You will later communicate these goals to your team and together you can come up with the most effective ways to resolve them.
Maybe you want to reduce the bounce rate, increase the number of conversions, or grow organic traffic – list down all your goals and see how you can achieve them. This step is especially important during e-commerce development since the ultimate goal of any online store is to promote conversions among website visitors.
Define your target audience
It may happen that with a new website, you’d want to target a different audience or maybe you simply targeted the wrong audience before. Either way, before starting to work on your new website, first, take some time to define a target audience.
This is needed in order to define a user flow – a way of interaction between the users and the website. Put yourself in the shoes of your user and ask what value they will receive from your website, how they can get the needed information, and what possibly stops them on their way. This will help you significantly improve navigation and usability and will have a positive impact on the conversion rate.
Take care of your current SEO
Unfortunately, a website redesign results in certain issues related to SEO – for example, you might lose some of your traffic. In order to mitigate the risks and retain as much of your SEO as possible, we recommend the following:
- Document everything regarding your most valued pages;
- Map the new site structure;
- Create 301 redirects;
- Research keywords for the new pages and fill them in;
- Use canonical tags.
Choose the right CMS to use
As mentioned above, one of the core reasons for doing the redesign is the poor performance of the old website and/or outdated CMS. Thus, you will need to do some research and choose a new CMS that will satisfy all your needs.
You can also reach out to a development company and request a custom CMS. While it’s a more costly option, it will be 100% tailored to the needs of your specific business. More and more companies switch to custom CMS development so you might consider this option as well.
Even though website redesign is quite a complex process that demands a very careful and thought-out approach, it will reward you with an increase in conversions, better user engagement, and high performance. The two most critical aspects that we recommend paying attention to are planning and mapping out the new website and finding a reliable development partner who will take care of all technical aspects (including testing).
We also hope that our article helped you better understand whether you really need a full website redesign or whether a refresh would be enough. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter – in our next article, we will talk about the website redesign do’s and don’ts.