When is the Perfect Time to Redesign Your Website?

You might get a shock to read this at the start of this article, but let me tell you, there is no need to redesign your website. Very rarely will the people who visit your site return because of your website’s design. Their only priority is finding the content, information, or product they want and it’s important that your site has what your customer is looking for. This is the most important thing I will be addressing in this article and will explain why it is so important. To be frank, the most important issues you should have are fulfilling your customer needs and making sure that your branding message is reaching the right people, not the template design. So if you are trying to package an ineffective product in a beautiful way it’s not very likely that you’ll succeed, regardless of your website’s design.

I know some of you might have already started disagreeing with me and I accept that sometimes the visual design has an impact on your site visitors and I will discuss that later. First I want to help you focus on something more important than that. What creates a difference between two websites is actually the content in the first place. If that was not the case, no one would spend their morning reading a newspaper which is in such an ugly and classy design.

The thing that you should worry about is the conversion of your visitors into customers. For that purpose, rather first spend your money on your site’s Search Engine Optimization, build links with others, offer great stuff, offer great content, and improve your social connectivity. The part that design plays in this is the accessibility of your site. Always ensure that everyone can easily access your site. There are some techniques that will help convert visitors into customers such as:

  • Give your reader a reason to keep moving through your site. This will decrease your bounce rate as well as increase your site visitor’s interest in your site.
  • Make your site easy to use and navigate. The reader should be able to easily find what he has come to your site to read or research.
  • Always draw your visitor forward and make him dig deeper in your site. This is accomplished by offering him appealing information.
  • Image content plays a part in this too. As I said the way in which the content is presented does leave an impact on the reader and thus you should use some images to help reinforce or demonstrate what you are offering.

What makes a good looking site is a matter of personal taste, undoubtedly a well-presented and easily accessible content feels greater. Whenever we talk about an attractive design, its purpose is to inspire others and thus it seen more like art, we should change our perspective and realize that the purpose of design is to communicate and compel them to take action that benefits us.

So most of the time a redesign bears no fruit for there are some factors that we forget in the process. Whenever we change our site’s design, we don’t at all come to know of the factors that might bring up the change in our site’s performance after this. And not all of the factors bring improvement. This happens just because of some of the changes and because we don’t know which of them were successful and which detrimental. Here comes another perspective about designing, that a great designer designs your message and not your site. This is because it’s better to present a strong message poorly than a poor message skillfully.

So instead of detracting from the message you are offering, you should invest in some other key elements which are surely going to produce a positive return. These key points include a bit of research to better know your audience, what their goals are when they come to your site, and indeed how to reach the organic customers. Spend some time on your site’s SEO, as well as researching the keywords that will help your site rank better. Know the places where your ads perform better and also learn to blend them. At last do some research to help you always offer great content to your visitors.

Now in spite of everything I just told you if you have already given time to designing the way you offer the content, it might be time to invest in your site’s design, in order to give it a professional look. But let me first point out some reasons that might be compelling you to redesign your site.

An Outdated Website’s Design

outdated webdesign

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You might have an outdated design. The way a website looks is usually enough to give away its age. Broken images, distorted content and widgets are what makes a design outdated. This happens when a design doesn’t support a new version of a plugin and can make a visitor exit your site at first glance.

Visitors Bounce Back

bounce rate

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Your site has a high bounce rate and the average time per visit is really short. This happens because the visitors click away as soon as they reach your site. Your site might be lacking something in functionality and so the users get confused about where to find what they are looking for and subsequently go away. You should clearly state the purpose of your site, what content you are offering and should let the users access that easily. This is because the internet users are not bound to anything and they just want what they are there for on your site. Neither can they wait, nor can they search more into your site.

Lack of Traffic

There is no benefit to great content and a well designed website if you are not getting enough traffic. Even if your site is very functional, there is something you are lacking in the search engines field. The reason behind that can be the building of your site which might not attract the search engines. You have to make your site search engine friendly and optimized.

A Professional Look

You might be getting confused about why I saved this til last, giving your site a professional look might be the very last thing that can compel a reader to come back to your site. But it is of course one of the reasons to design your website when your company has grown to a level where you require a professional look. It helps you expand your business more.

Well, now as you already have thought and decided about redesigning your site, there are some factors that you should think about while doing so. Find out if your site being seen? Do you get a good amount of targeted traffic? You can research this by searching for something in your site and look if you can spot your site in the top 10 search results. If this is not the case, then you may want to spend some money on your site’s keyword research and SEO.

The story doesn’t end here as you need to do some more digging before the design. Who is using your site? What is it that your real visitors want? This is a very crucial point while designing a site. You should know who your audience is and if you don’t well then you should spend your time and money researching what brought them to your site.

After all this, if you still opt for the redesign. Try to compare your analytics of the new design with the old one to judge your decision. Because I still believe you don’t really need a redesign.

Salman Saeed

Salman Saeed is a Photographer by Hobby and a Corporate Slave by Profession, who blogs at Demortalz and can be found on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. mansi gupta says

    Redesign our site is important question. Because international time is changed very fast so internet demand and requirement also change time to time. So it is necessary to know when we redesign our sites. Your blog is giving all information about it.

  2. says

    maybe we should what the site for, for example for personal site you can redesign whenever you want, but for commercial site it should have a frequent redesign time

  3. Chris says

    Very good ideas, but I also agree with some earlier comments that content is a critical piece to consider in the “redesign”. Making a site just look good can still result in high bounce rates if the content isn’t on point and rich with information that the visitors expect.

  4. Dave Kinsella says

    Good advice, I’m currently working on a redesign for my site in order to optimise it for multiple devices (using media queries). But one of the things I’ve been doing as part of the design excercise is to make some changes to the existing site to see what effect it has on traffic. One of the changes was re-categorising blog posts and adding category-based navigation also adding links to related posts in the footer of each blog post. Over the last couple of weeks, these changes alone have resulted in a big jump in pageviews plus a lower bounce rate.

    This result has guided the re-design in directions that I hadn’t originally planned. I think that there’s a lot you can do with most websites that will yield greater results than cosmetic changes.

  5. says

    I know what you’re trying to get at here, and most of your points are valid but I don’t agree with your pitch at all; good web design is not just about visual design or eye candy. Seems quite unrealistic to assume anyone would redesign a site for eye candy alone, it’d be a rare thing to take a site that needs an update and simply re-skin it.

    A redesign covers everything (some of which you mention); improvements for legibility, accessibility, navigation, interaction, seo, device compatibility, etc. The eye candy, or visual design is just the final sheen to all that good stuff. It’s a common misconception to think otherwise but design denotes function as much as visual aesthetic.

    Strikes me as a dangerous message to try and put out there in this format. Don’t let any anyone try tell you design is some fickle eye candy folks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design or that a redesign is changing some graphics.

  6. Manuel Garcia PH says

    I Agree, Thanks. But its hard to find a professional design when you’re not able to do your own design. But Great Tips here.

  7. Jason says

    The time, I feel, comes when content is being hidden or obscured by graphics. The mistake that a lot of people do when first designing their website is to concentrate on look rather than content.
    What they don’t understand is that some of the best sites are the simplest.

  8. says

    Thanks for the tip:) I’m starting out on my site and still working on making it look as professional as I can because first impression is everything right