A full website redesign refers to the complete overhaul in the code and presentation of a website. To put it in other terms, think of your website as a house that is being torn down to build a new one in its place. You might keep the logistical things like the pipes, electric hookups and sewage, but you are changing everything around it.
Most website redesigns overhaul some or all of the following things:
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Regardless of what they’re trying to change, companies that initiate the website redesign process usually have similar goals: to have increased online reach, better user experience, lessening user friction and to create higher conversions.
What is a Website Refresh?
Now, if you do not have the time, nor the resources to do a whole website overhaul, you can do what is called a website refresh instead. Just like it sounds, a website refresh is typically leaving the core of your website’s functionality and code in place but giving it a facelift.
Website refreshes change some of the following things:
Again, a refresh is dealing with some of the simpler changes from changing a few colors and adding your new logo, or it could be more drastic, like an entirely new website template.
Think of it like trying a new hairdo to do “something different” but doesn’t change who you are as a person, it is just cosmetic! Like a new “do” you can refresh your site to be a different experience for your potential customers without the stresses of changing everything.
Why Do You Want to Redesign Your Website?
If you’ve decided that your website needs a redesign, there’s usually some sort of obvious problem, eyesore or pain point that you’ve found (hopefully it’s not just “because”). After all, people don’t spend the time and money associated with such a headache-ridden project just for fun, right?
Unfortunately, many times people want a redesign based off of their own impressions, but the key is:
What do your customers think?
As the most important user of your website, are your customers satisfied with the website experience? People interact with sophisticated, modern and interesting websites every day, so it is up to you to make sure your website is up to par with your potential customer’s expectations.
A website redesign accomplishes a few things for your business:
- It can make your site more user-friendly
- It can make your site more aesthetically pleasing, eliminating friction
- It can keep you relevant and up to date
- It can highlight new products and services
- It can implement new technology to engage and retain potential customers
- It can keep you competitive with your competition
Regardless of what it can do for any business, you need to make sure it is worth the investment. In the next section, we will talk about how you can tell if you need a redesign versus a quick refresh. You are welcome ahead of time, as you will save your “budget bacon” by heeding some of these “tell-tale” signs!
How Do You Know If You Need a Website Redesign?
An easy “tell-tale” sign that you need to redesign is you have tested and tried everything and nothing is working. Website redesigns can be a great way to reset the stage.
When determining if you need a redesign, test some concepts ahead of time! There is a danger in doing a huge website overhaul, praying it works and then nothing improves. Before you do anything, you need to make sure there are data points driving your changes!
To help you consider that, there are a few things you need to look at before you move forward with an agency:
- Analyze what works and what doesn’t on your site
- Host a focus group with user experience in mind
- Evaluate objectives against your timeline and budget
- Establish clear goals
- Know your target audience
- Test your site speed
- Check out the competition
- Review your website content
- Hit the SEO checkpoints
- Is it responsive & mobile-friendly?
- Evaluate your CMS
If you have done those things, you are in good shape to move forward in conversations with a developer. Without these things, you will not have an effective redesign process that will reap results.
To further help you decide on a redesign, here are a few signs you might need to change things up:
It Needs a Facelift
Believe it or not, looks do matter. When it comes to your website, visuals do need to take a priority paired with functionality.
If your website looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2000 (ahem, above) it might be time to move away from blogger-like templates and get into the modern age of 2019!
Some key things to keep in mind include:
- Keep your design elements balanced and organized
- Try to stick to neutral website backgrounds
- Use grids to make sure things are aligned correctly
- Use branded elements that help create an experience
- Use contrasting colors effectively
- Use easy to read and branded typography
- Use white/negative space well
- Remove stock images and invest in quality visual content
- Include social media elements
- Be mobile-friendly
While it’s important that your website functions seamlessly, it also needs to look modern and industry appropriate. Be sure to check in every 6 months to see if you can make some changes to stay on top of your game.
Your Business Has Changed: Products, Services, Branding
Business is all about to change and because that is true, your website will need to evolve with you as you grow.
One of the more obvious reasons you will want to redesign is if your business is offering something new, re-branding or going in a different direction. By redesigning, you ensure that your new brand, product, or service is highlighted properly so people will know how to react and take action.
You Aren’t Proud of It
Your website should be your pride and joy as a way to share your brand with potential customers. If you are embarrassed to share your URL, like you are embarrassed to share your old AOL email account, it might be time to make some changes.
With so many low priced and user friendly website builders, there’s really no excuse to keep putting off making some changes that will make you proud again.
Your Site is Slow and Not Mobile-Friendly
According to Statistica, 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices and Google is now ranking most search options based on mobile rather than the desktop version of a website. Do not make the mistake of not taking mobile seriously!
If you have a site that was not made with mobile in mind, it might make sense to build a new site using a mobile-first approach rather than trying to reverse engineer an old site to adapt.
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Your Site Isn’t Converting
Like stated in the beginning of this section, if your website is not converting and nothing is happening it might be time to consider a redesign (on another note, if a new site or a website change converts the same, it is still a win as it’s a new elements to test!).
The real problem is when you see significant drop-offs in traffic and leads. At that point, it might want to consider a website redesign. Before you commit, though, it’s a good idea to identify what the site isn’t doing that you wish it did, how a site redesign will fix it and what your intended goals for the redesign will be.
Your Site is Not User-Friendly
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is doing some type of side hustle, and creating websites is easier now than ever before. The hardest part for many, though, is optimizing the design of a website for improved user experience (UX).
If your website gives people headaches, sighs, eye rolls or confusion you need to make some changes! By making your user experience better, it builds trust, provides a better ROI on your marketing spend and helps you win more conversions!
A successful website is all about pleasing your users and making the website experience a pleasant experience. If your site is difficult to navigate and doesn’t offer value to potential customers, it will most likely be a flop!
Your Messaging is Off
Communication is key in any relationship—including business—so if you are not clear in your messaging, you can create a huge disconnect with customers you are trying to develop with.
Believe it or not, website redesign is not just reserved for visual elements, it also improves content!
If your site’s navigation choices are complex, if the calls to action are too frequent or not clear, if the page titles are confusing or your blog content is weak…you may be losing valuable traffic. To help with this, including a content audit in your redesign will allow you to see what is resonating well.
When you clean up your content messaging, potential customers can get a better idea as to what you are all about, resulting in them making informed purchasing decisions.
Your Website is Not Secure or Updated
We live in a data-paranoid world where people are always having to make decisions on if the websites they are engaging with, let alone purchasing with, are secure.
If your website does not have strong security measures, alerts or messaging in place, you might be hurting your online rankings and presence with potential customers. To succeed, you need to keep up to date with SSL certificates and other online validations to best ensure people your business is safe.
By doing that, its not only free to you, but it can increase your rankings with Google.