Signs That It Is Time For a Website Redesign

Tips to assess your website to determine if it is in need of an overhaul

For many companies, especially smaller organizations with tight budgets, a website is likely the most significant marketing investment that they will make for their business. Still, regardless of the size of the initial investment you made in that sute, all websites need attention during their lifespan. Eventually, even with ongoing attention, you website is likely to grow outdated, which means you will eventually need to make another investment in your online presence and redesign your site.

So how do you know whether your site needs a redesign or not? You obviously do not want to pull the trigger on a project like this if it is not necessary or if your current site is suitable to your business needs. This means that you need to determine when it is time to invest in a redesign and when it is better to wait. Here are some key items you can look for as you assess your website to determine whether it is, indeed, time for that redesign.

Outdated Visual Design

If your site’s design is poor, it could be because you used a cheap, template-based product to create that site. Perhaps it was your company’s first website and your budget did not allow you to invest in custom, professional web design services. Sites like these do not last very long, and if your company is in a better financial position now, investing in a better website design will certainly make sense.

If you did not go the cheap, template route for your website, it may still be outdated visually, even if the design was customized to your needs once upon a time.

Site designs that heavily use certain web design trends can quickly become outdated once those trends lose favor in the industry. When designing websites, the challenge is decided what is a passing trend, like an animated Flash intro screen, and what is a best practice that is here to stay, like responsive design.

An outdated design could also mean that your site no longer reflects your company’s brand. The site itself may still look good,but if your organization has gone through a significant change in your identity and overall branding, then the website must follow suite with a redesign that utilizes those same updated design standards.

Lack of Multi-Device Support

Years ago, websites were designed to be viewed on desktop and laptop screens. Web designers created sites that were a specific, fixed size for all these screens. On today’s Web, however, we have to contend with a staggering range of different devices and screen sizes, from very large desktop monitors to tablets and even down to smartphones and tiny wearable devices. To accommodate this range of different screens, websites must be designed with multi-device support in mind.

The industry best practice for multi-device support is through an approach called responsive web design. With this approach, a website’s layout will change based on a person’s screen size. People on wide screen monitors will get a layout appropriate for their screens, while visitors on small-screen devices will get the same site, but with a different layout that is easily usable and readable for their smaller screen.

Responsive design is not something that is “tacked on” to an existing site. Instead, it is a "from the ground up" rethinking of how that site is designed and developed. This means that a site that needs to becomes multi-device responsive does typically require a full redesign of that website to ensure that its layout and performance work well for all devices.

Need For New Content

Sad but true – many websites are left neglected from a content standpoint, at least until that content is so woefully outdated that something simply must be done. If you have a site that is in dire need of a content overhaul, including whole new sections of the site that need to be added to reflect services or offerings that were not available when the site was first developed, than a redesign as opposed to trying to retrofit an existing site may end up giving you more bang for your buck.

Some content additions can be done easily within the constraints of an existing site, especially if that site was built upon a quality Content Management System (more on that shortly). If this is the case, and the other points covered in this article do not apply to your site, then simply auditing and editing the content may be the best plan, but if your site needs more than just some minor content edits, you may be best served by investing in that full redesign.

Need For New Site Features

If your site is in need of new features that were not a part of the original deployment, then this could also be the catalyst that fuels a redesign.  In many cases, website features may be easier to add to a new site that is built upon a specific platform rather than trying to shoehorn those features into existing code.

Many companies that have older websites do not have the benefit of a CMS (Content Management System) that powers that site. If you want to have more control over your site and what is published to it, a CMS is the way to go - and if your current site is not deployed on a CMS, than a redevelopment of that site upon a quality platform is the path you should be traveling.

Better Business Results

Ultimately, the goal of your website is to help generate results for you. Whether you are selling items online, offering services offline, or even running a non-profit organization that is looking to raise awareness or funds for a cause, your website is responsible for attracting visitors and turning them into customers or contributors. If your site is failing in these efforts, you need to assess why that is and you may ultimately realize that the existing website simply is not up to the task. This means you need a redesign in order to effectively meet your organization's goals.

Improved search engine optimization or better lead generation and conversion needs are absolutely a reason to redesign a website. After all, regardless of the investment you have made in that site, if it is not producing the results that you need it to produce, than the investment is not paying off.

You need to make a business decision to either give up or fix the problem by redesigning that site in a way that allows your goals to be met.

In Closing

There are countless reasons why you may need to redesign a website. The items presented here are simply a few of the more common red flags that I see on outdated websites that are in need of a redesign. Take a look at your own site and use these points to assess what you have now and whether or not you may, indeed, be due for a site refresh.

Edited by Jeremy Girard on 1/7/17