A website redesign is much more than a visual facelift. With technology advancing at an unprecedented pace, companies must proactively respond to the changing ways customers find and consume content online. How often you redesign your website can have a significant impact on your ability to reach customers and stand out from competitors.
How Often You Should Redesign Your Website
There’s no rulebook on a website redesign, but the power of observation reveals that organizations with a strong online presence tend to change their website at least every three years.
Why three years? There are several reasons why proactive companies wait no longer than that to update or overhaul their web design.
While the timeline may vary to an extent in different industries, three years is approximately how long you can wait before it becomes necessary to adapt to changing technology, trends, and browsing habits.
Any longer than that and the site will start to fall behind.
Within a three-year period, it’s practically inevitable that:
- Web design trends will change to the point that the website’s visual design reveals its age.
- The ways many people use the Internet, and the devices they use to access it, will shift.
- Companies will phase out old marketing campaigns and launch new ones.
- Search engine algorithms will evolve, and search engine optimization strategies along with them.
Any one of these changes is enough to justify at least a minor change to a company’s website. Depending on the website’s structure, or the time that has passed since the last redesign, it may be necessary to undertake a more significant overhaul.
Below, we’ll look at how these changes can have an impact on the bottom line.
1. Keeping Up with Web Design Trends
Redesigning a website is about more than updating its appearance, but the visual design does matter.
The first impression customers have of a site is its colours, layout, graphics, photos, and other visual elements. If the site looks unappealing or outdated (especially compared to your competitors), customers are less likely to explore its contents.
The look and feel of a website is akin to a storefront. If a store looks shabby on the outside, you probably aren’t going to step inside, especially if there’s a competitor down the street.
Having an appealing, easy-to-use website show customers that a company is growing and on top of current trends. You may not succeed by looks alone, but it certainly helps.
2. Responding to Customer Browsing Habits
Ten years ago, only a small percentage of website traffic came from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Now, mobile browsing accounts for 56% of web traffic worldwide.
This year, Google plans to begin ranking websites based on mobile versions first, making it essential to have a responsive, mobile-friendly site.
The shift to mobile browsing is just one example of how consumer trends can change drastically in a short time. Voice search is another powerful force that is changing how people find goods and services online.
It pays to be proactive in redesigning a site in response to these trends. While many businesses are rushing to bring their sites up to speed, those that implemented mobile-friendly sites years ago are reaping the benefits.
3. Aligning with Branding and Marketing
A business’s website should always be consistent with its current branding and marketing.
Many customers who learn about products, services and promotions offline go online to find more details. If there’s no trace of them on the business’s website, it could cost the company what could have been a lucrative lead.
What’s even worse is if the website has an outdated logo or tagline, leading customers to wonder if they’re even in the right place.
Even if the business doesn’t sell or offer services online, a well-designed website can reinforce and amplify its other marketing and branding initiatives. It should change and evolve with the overall marketing strategy.
4. Improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For Google and other major search engines, the bottom line revolves around delivering useful, relevant results to search queries. These companies are constantly updating and fine-tuning search engine algorithms to improve the quality of the service they deliver.
At the same time, businesses who want to get noticed by customers online are constantly adjusting their websites to improve their search engine rankings.
That is the never-ending game of search engine optimization (SEO). And since Google tweaks its algorithm 500-600 times each year, there is always something you can do to improve your site.
As search engines evolve, so do SEO tactics. Proactively optimizing for SEO during a website redesign is far more time- and cost-effective than continually fixing a poorly-designed site.
5. Meeting Business Objectives
Websites exist for a reason, whether it’s to generate leads, sell products, raise brand awareness, or get customers through the door. If a site isn’t contributing to a business objective or is doing so less effectively, it’s time to examine how this could be improved through a website redesign.
A site should reflect the company’s current goals. When those goals change, so should the website.
Why SEO Matters in a Website Redesign
Search engine optimization should be on the agenda at your very first redesign strategy meeting. Why?
Because even an outdated or underperforming website has SEO value. Search engines have crawled its content, indexed its pages, and given the site authority.
The last thing you want to do is hurt your current rankings through a poorly-planned redesign.
Well-intentioned web designers can inadvertently do damage through mistakes like:
- Failing to redirect after changing page URLs
- Removing old pages with valuable content
- Adding visual elements that slow down page speed
- Making web design choices that are bad for SEO (like sliders)
It’s important to keep SEO in mind to preserve a site’s SEO value during a redesign, and actively monitor keyword rankings, organic traffic, and backlinks.