Website Redesign: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

by Dustin J. Hall

website-redesign-worth-itOur 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 (and whether or not those reasons make a redesign truly worth the squeeze).

Are You Redesigning out of Vanity?

website-redesign-vanityThis happens so often it's scary and 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, regardless of whether or not it's geared toward any historical design trends. You're likely to have a very beautiful (and expensive) site that continues to collect more dust than leads.

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 technical or 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, have no ability to manage your on-page SEO elements, or perhaps have yet to make your website mobile-friendly, you should strongly consider a redesign.

Are You Redesigning to Keep Up with Competitors?

Keeping tabs on the competition is NEVER a bad thing. In fact, I highly suggest you do this on a monthly or quarterly basis. 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? Well, not so much.

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 positive attention (AKA leads).

Terrible analogy, yes, but you get the point.

Are You Redesigning for User Experience?

website-design-decisionMore important than the design itself is how your website visitors interact with your website, commonly referred to as "user experience" (UX).

UX is at the top of design and development teams' priority lists 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 redesign. It allows them to find what they want in a more simple, logical and faster fashion. And it allows you to keep people on your site longer, more clearly communicate your message and collect more leads! Bonus points if you take things a step further by gathering real-time user feedback and leveraging the data to make consistent design updates (aka growth driven 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 boring brochure.

This means your mission with any website redesign is to ensure the following 4 things:

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

All 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.


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