We all know the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But can this really be applied to your company website? Should you really hang on to an old website design just because it isn’t technically broken?
One company took a stab at answering the age-old question of how often should a website be redesigned and came up with every 2.66 years. Rather, this was the average shelf life of 200 of the most popular marketing websites. These sites are supposed to be at the cutting edge of marketing insight, so you’d think they would know best.
That said, there is no definitive answer to the question ‘how often do I need to redesign my website?’ Instead of worrying about timescales, it’s important to look out for signs that your current website isn’t working for you anymore.
The success of a website depends on a number of factors:
1. Can the website be found?
2. Can users get what they want from the website without getting frustrated?
Signs you should update your website
Let’s look at the first factor. Your website does not exist in isolation. It’s part of a wider network and it needs to be responsive to change. If it can’t be crawled and indexed by search engines for whatever reason, then you need to reassess if your website is working for you.
For example, if you have a stellar desktop website but a poorly designed mobile website, then you are unlikely to rank well in Google following the mobile-first indexing update. Ensuring your website stays up-to-date with the latest SEO trends is essential. So, if you’ve noticed your organic traffic falling it might be time to ask if you need a new website.
In many ways, Google dictates how we design and build websites. There are other search engines, but few have such a command over the design and build process. Google decided we needed structured data and decided to reward things like Open Graph integration. Designers followed suit by ensuring these factors are included in the design of new websites.
Follow the leader
The second factor concerns things like the user experience. If your website isn’t intuitive or if it creates a frustrating experience for the user, it’s time to scrap it and go back to the drawing board. Keeping up with web design trends is one of the reasons that companies feel the need to update their website.
A cutting-edge website is no good if your users can’t figure out how to navigate it. This is why there is safety in numbers and many website owners will follow the trends. Users feel more comfortable with a website if the layout is familiar to them. For example, the hamburger menu was controversial until users became more familiar with it. Now it’s a popular website design trend that helps to clean up pages without sacrificing a detailed menu.
Small changes for huge impact
Instead of putting your site through a complete overhaul every 2.66 years, it might be more beneficial to respond to user experience data and make small tweaks to the site to make it more intuitive and easy to navigate. You can use free services like Hotjar to learn more about how users interact with your site. From here, you can make small changes that could have a huge impact on your conversion rates. The underlying structure will remain the same, so you don’t need to worry about site migrations ruining your SEO efforts, but the appearance can be updated to keep things fresh.
Keeping up appearances
So far we’ve outlined some practical reasons you might want to update your website. What about all the other reasons that have nothing to do with functionality? Your website is a key part of your brand, so if it isn’t pulling its weight you’d be right to think about giving it a makeover.
If you’ve recently rebranded or expanded your company, you might find that the old website doesn’t fit with your new brand. Customers might not notice a change of logo, but if you use the rebranding as an opportunity to overhaul your entire website, this will have much more impact.
If you find yourself wondering how often you need to update your website, it might be because you know your website is due for an update. Websites are a lot like mobile phones. Your old handset might still function perfectly fine, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a pang of jealousy every time you see a friend with the latest model.
If you’re keen to get your website overhauled, why not enter our website makeover competition? Every month, we offer one worthy company the chance to win a complete website overhaul. Enter here – good luck!