Website redesigns are very common and there are many good reasons for it. Here are the top reasons for refreshing your design.
Technology changes very fast. From the increase of internet speed to better browsers. It is also a matter of web technology changing for the better. There is so much more that can be done compared to 2, 5 and especially 10 years ago. Generally once your website has been designed/developed it doesn’t go through any changes other than content, the technology within the code doesn’t change until you have a redesign done.
Just a few years ago it was very common for there to be a splash page, commonly done with Flash. These pages were meant to grab the users attention, but it was like a wall between that user and what they were really after. As a user, I never really liked them. It was kind of cool the first time you went to the website, but after that who really wants to see it again. Thankfully, this practice has pretty much gone away, and is discouraged by most designers.
Unless your in your own little niche, you may have the best looking and functioning website within your industry, and you should take great pleasure in that; but what happens when your competitors up the ante?
When users visit your website, you only have a few second to attain that WOW factor. It is also imperative that you are offering more than your competitors, otherwise they may get the users business.
You must always be thinking ahead. Even once your site is designed or redesigned, you should be thinking of what you want to do next, and allow your users to provide input.
How well is you brand represented by your website? Your website should be a direct reflection of your company. Unless you are selling kids products, you probably don’t want it to look like it was designed by a child. Having a website that is out of date, confusing or amateurish speaks volumes to the user, which will probably lead them to your competition.
Where are you headed?
There are trends in website design and business principles, so show it in your website. As your business goes forward, it may take a different direction. What happens when your business takes a different direction and your website is still representing the old direction? If your website is more than 18 to 24 months old it’s probably in need of a redesign to represent a true reflection of your business.
Having a website that just stays the same is boring and doesn’t keep or attract new users. With the advances in technology, keeping your website fresh with new content is even easier with the use of a content management system (CMS). With the use of a CMS, you the website owner can log-in, add some content about a new sale or sneak preview of an upcoming product.
Launching a redesigned website can ignite your business in many ways. This is the perfect time to send emails to old and new clients/users, announcing the redesign and encourage them to tell friends and family. This is also the perfect time to offer special incentives to returning customers.
When it comes to a redesign, you and your designer must look at you website statistics. What areas are getting very little to no activity? These areas should be optimized with the redesign to attract attention. Are the users leaving the site or jumping to another page within a second or two of landing on your homepage? The homepage is a critical spot on your website, if your users are leaving the homepage within a few seconds, they are not getting all the information available. The homepage then needs to be optimized to grab and hold the users attention.
Ease of use
When it comes to website, there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find what your looking for. Just because your website make sense to you and you have no problem navigating it, doesn’t mean the end user will not have trouble. If a user can’t find what they are looking for within a few clicks, they are likely to go looking at another website.
Make sure that your content is relevant and specific to your website. Don’t reuse old brochures, leaflets, etc for your text. This is commonly done and is a mistake.
Writing content for your website can be difficult, especially if your not comfortable with it. If your not comfortable with it, it is advised that you contact a copywriter who is an expert in writing copy for the web. Websites and printed material is read differently. Users will generally scan the pages trying to determine if the website is relevant and of any use. If they decide that it is of use will they continue to read.
Make sure that your content is short and to the point. Anything other than this is counter-productive to the message you are trying to communicate.