If you’ve been spending time comparing your website to the sleek, new designs of your competitors, you might be wondering if it’s time for a complete website do-over of your own. It sometimes seems easier to completely redo a site than to spend weeks altering the small details for an overall improvement.
Web designers and developers might even encourage you to start from scratch with a whole new design, but don’t immediately drop thousands of dollars at the first offer. Replacing your website entirely can be extremely expensive, so before you make any decision, consider what you can do to make small but effective changes to your current site.
Here’s how you can determine what’s causing problems on your website, updates you can make, and when the site truly does need a complete makeover.
What Is Your Traffic/Lead Generation Trajectory?
Your website needs to provide valuable information to your audience while also generating leads. If your website can do that, even if it’s outdated, then you’ll want to reconsider any major overhauls. Re-designing your website might improve the aesthetics, but it won’t necessarily improve your traffic or lead generation.
Think of a website redesign as a cost-versus-benefit scenario. Fancy graphics, a new layout, and updated tools can be exciting, as well as expensive. Do they really guarantee an increase in traffic or a surge in leads? Attractiveness isn’t everything, even if some web designs would have you believe otherwise.
Before you schedule a website redesign, determine why you’re doing it.
– Have your leads and traffic numbers have been on a steady decline?
– Is it really to help more people learn about your business?
– Or is it mostly just to compete with the aesthetic appeal of your competitors’ sites?
Starting over isn’t easy, so you need to have a good, data-backed reason for doing so.
How Does Your Traffic Correlate to Your SEM Strategies?
Are you getting decent traffic, but experiencing high bounce rates? As a rule of thumb, anything higher than a 56 percent bounce rate isn’t stellar – unless your website is purely a blog. If you are getting lots of traffic, yet have a high bounce rate, this is a good indication that you might just need a new search engine marketing strategy or some refreshed website aesthetics to keep people on your platform.
In this case, you don’t necessarily need a “new” website. Simple changes in your keyword strategy could lead to a lower bounce rate. For example, if you run a website that only offers web design courses, yet is pulling in lots of traffic for people looking for web design services, this could potentially be the big culprit. In this scenario, you would need to revisit your SEO plan.
When it comes to your marketing strategies, ensure that people understand what your brand offers from the get-go. Your site content should be direct and engaging, and all of your website graphics should be relevant to your products, services, or industry.
Now, even the most perfect search engine marketing strategy can be rendered useless by poor website aesthetics. Think about it, when you land on a website that looks like it’s straight out of the 1990s with low-quality visual elements, how likely are you to stick around?
Here are some of the top things you can do to improve your website’s appearance:
– Make the content more easily readable with a neat layout and contrasting colours
– Practice smart internal linking so people can navigate easily
– Remove any distractions such as flashing graphics, pop up ads, or music
– Keep your content fresh and updated, as well as, concise
More often than not, it’s not the actual website that’s driving people away; it’s how you’re manipulating and marketing it. Examine the small changes you can make before you turn to a web designer for a massive rework.
Is Your Design and Content Strategy Evolving?
Let’s say you are planning on creating a new website from scratch. What are your plans for the new-and-improved website? Will you commit to an ongoing strategy, or let your site sit and become obsolete eventually?
Take a long look at your design and content strategy, not just right now, but also for the future. The growth of your themes and company identity will impact your website, which means you’ll need to implement a strategy that grows along with the business.
For example, check out The Blonde Abroad’s fairly recent website overhaul. Her site used to be very bright and fun, but in recent years, her brand has transitioned to a more adult, professional theme. The changes in her business are reflected in the different designs of her site.
If you don’t have a plan for the future of your new website, investing tons of money into a redesign isn’t a wise choice. It’s not a one-and-done deal – committing to a brand new website requires more time and continual effort than most people would expect.
A website is a living, breathing representation of your company – it’s the digital face of your business, and often the first impression people receive from your team. As your company evolves, so should your website. Continue to add new graphics, improve loading times, and generally build upon your website for years to come. Whatever you do, don’t assume that a website redesign is the last thing you’ll need to do to create a beautiful site.
How to Keep Up With Trends
Perhaps the most constant website trend to keep in mind is the commitment to consistency.
The real way to keep up and compete with other sites is to maintain your SEO and publish fresh content consistently. As was said before, your site shouldn’t be a stagnant entity. Be aggressive about optimizing your site for search engines and creating useful content for your website visitors.
Pay attention to the keywords that best benefit your industry. Meta descriptions, headers, backlinks, and web analysis tools, such as Google Analytics and Search Console, are essential to staying up-to-date. These details will drastically impact the performance of your site as much or more than pretty designs.
Of course, you should keep an eye on design trends and make small tweaks as needed, instead of waiting until the whole site is outdated. However, trendy web design techniques won’t take you super far. It’s the content and SEO that will determine your long-term success.
Additionally, you must stay on top of user demands. What do people want from your website? If they’re asking for more personalization, look into features that will help with that. If they need faster customer service responses on your e-commerce site, look into chatbots that can help.
When It’s Actually Time to Start From Scratch
Obviously, there are times in which a completely new website is your only option. This typically occurs when your current website is incompatible with common browsers. It can also become necessary when you’ve experienced excessive data hacks or if you’ve neglected your website maintenance for many years.
Another serious problem that may require a total rehaul is a website’s inability to function on mobile devices. If it’s impossible for your current site to appeal to mobile users, you likely need a complete redesign to adapt to new trends. In fact, as of July 1st, 2019, all websites are now indexed with Google’s mobile-first indexing.
If your website can’t adapt to mobile, it could very well be taking a toll on your online visibility, and subsequently, your bottom line.
You may also want to consider starting from scratch if you took your brand in a completely new direction. Let’s say you’ve changed everything about your company from its logos to its top products and messages. This might require more than a basic revamp.
Keep in mind that these are extreme cases. It’s not always the best idea to launch a redesign, as we’ve explained throughout this article. Hence, take these situations thoughtfully.
Chances are, you don’t need a new website. What you do need to do is pay attention to the finer details that determine a website’s success – details such as SEO, readability, and fresh content. Before you drop thousands of dollars on a site overhaul, consider what you can do today to start improving your website step-by-step.
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