Designing a website is a lot of work, but redesigning a website can be even harder. When you start fresh, you don’t bring any baggage from an existing website. When you redesign, there are pages and pages of existing content you have to account for. What do you keep, and what do you change? How does the old content fit in with the new? These questions go on and on, and what started as a simple design change turns into a complete audit of your existing site.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! If you understand your site and take some time to plan the project out, you can really simplify the process. It all starts with one question:
When is it time to redesign your website?
Before you move forward with a redesign, you should have a concrete idea of what needs to change and why. Some people will tell you that you should redesign your website every two to three years. We suggest thinking about it differently. There should always be a reason for the redesign, and that reason will help you define what exactly needs to change.
If you’re considering a website redesign, then your reason might be as simple as, “the site design is outdated.” This is perfectly valid, and it sets you up for the next step. What about the design feels outdated, and what is it outdated compared to? Many times, your competitors are the best place to look for inspiration. If you notice that other top sites in your industry all incorporate a specific feature or design element, there’s probably a good reason.
When you have a specific reason for redesigning your website, it makes it easier to find specific things that need to change. This gives your redesign project scope, and helps keep the budget under control.
Here are some good reasons to redesign your website:
- Your website isn’t responsive and is difficult to use on phones and tablets
- You need to switch to a different content management system (CMS)
- You’re adding a new section or feature to the website
- Your company’s branding has changed
- Your business has a new location
If you don’t have a good reason, then maybe now’s not the time to redesign!
But what about high-profile businesses? How often do companies redesign their websites?
Some people will tell you that you should redesign your website every two to three years to stay current. We already know that an outdated design is a valid reason for a design change, but for big businesses, we suggest a different approach.
If your site gets a lot of traffic, then a drastic change can be confusing for your users. Oftentimes, the dislike of change alone is enough to ruin an otherwise great design. Instead, you’re better off making frequent small, incremental improvements.
A/B testing tools like Google Optimize will let you test how small changes to your website affect your users. Sometimes, something as simple as repositioning a button can have a noticeable effect on how people interact with your site. By constantly testing small design changes, you can make your site more effective and never have to worry about a massive redesign project.
In the end, how often you should redesign your website depends on what you want to achieve, and your site’s particular goals. We’ve helped many of our clients redesign their websites, and are ready to help you with your redesign project as well!