Website Redesign: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

by Dustin Hall

website redesignOur websites are like our little digital babies. 

We love them dearly and spend just about every day with them (though some of us neglect them entirely...shame on you). We also want our babies to be beautiful and doted on. So, it's no surprise that we often hyper analyze our websites, diving into redesign projects prematurely or unnecessarily.

But how can we detach ourselves to objectively determine if the redesign project we're considering is going to deliver real business results? 

Here are 4 questions that address the most common reasons companies decide to redesign their websites. Your answers may help you decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.

1. Are You Redesigning out of Vanity?

website-redesign-vanityThis happens so often it's scary. We've all been guilty of it at some point in our careers. Maybe the CEO just wanted it done for their own personal tastes, you're tired of looking at the same ole' design or you think it's just not flashy enough (pun intended). 

Is it worth the squeeze?

NOPE - Website redesigns done under these conditions are a total waste of time and money. Everything is speculative and built for the wrong reasons. You're likely to have a very beautiful (and expensive) site that continues to collect more dust than leads.

2. Are You Redesigning for SEO?

Your search rankings and keyword performance might suck, but that doesn't necessarily mean your entire website is to blame. There could be any number of issues going on with your SEO, on-page or off. 

Is it worth the squeeze?

MAYBE - Let's assume that the issue is something related to your current on-page SEO (coding, meta tags, keywords density, etc). Even some of the most basic CMS platforms will allow you to change these items, no redesign needed! If you don't handle this yourself, ask your web master to make these changes for you. However, if you're still rockin' the old Flash based web design or have no ability to manage your on-page SEO elements, you should strongly consider a redesign.

Related: Google Will Soon Penalize Websites that are NOT Mobile-Friendly

3. Are You Redesigning to Keep Up with Competitors?

First of all, keeping tabs on the competition is NEVER a bad thing. In fact, I highly suggest you do this regularly (here are some free tools to do that). Staying up on competitor's keywords, ad spend, traffic ranking, etc. are all great things to keep tabs on and use to your own advantage. But what about keeping up with their web design? That's different.

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

NO - Even if your competitor has the coolest looking site you've ever seen, it doesn't mean they are converting more leads from it. Plus, copying a competitor's web design is like two single dudes wearing the same shirt to a party. Not original and not cool. Unless, of course, you know for a fact that the other dude's shirt gets a LOT of chicks (AKA leads). Terrible analogy, yes, but you get the point.

4. Are You Redesigning for User Experience?

website-designMore important than the design itself is how your website visitors interact with your website. User experience (UX) is commonly at the top of any design and development team's priority list because it pertains to how users/visitors feel about your site. So, are you getting complaints from customers that it's hard to find things on your website, that it looks terrible on mobile devices or finding that your bounce rate is through the roof?

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

YES - Ding, ding, ding! We've got a winner! Improving the way your site visitors feel about their online experience with you is a slam dunk reason for a new website design. It allows them to find what they want in a more simple, logical and faster fashion. It also allows you to keep people on your site longer, more clearly communicate your message and collect more leads!

Related: A Quick Introduction to Growth Driven Web Design

Focus on the Right Website Redesign Elements

Never forget that your website is a business growth tool and NOT simply a different type of brochure. This means your mission with any website redesign is to ensure the following 4 things:

  1. how to make it easier for visitors to understand
  2. how to make it easier for search engines to crawl
  3. how to make it better at converting visitors into leads
  4. how to make it more agile and manageable

All the technical stuff aside, just make sure every effort is spent on one of these things and you'll at least be headed in the right direction.

Related: The History of Web Design [Infographic]