The Real Reasons Your Website Needs a Redesign

With the digital marketing space moving rapidly, having an outdated website can hurt your business. Two questions we often hear from businesses we consult with about digital strategy are, “Do I need a website redesign to compete or rank better?” or, if we recommend a redesign, “Why do I need to redesign my website?”

These questions usually arise if the business changes its branding or has trouble ranking in Google. Still, many other reasons may be needed for a website redesign or revamp.

The reasons below vary in severity. Depending on the identified reason, determine if your website needs a quick design and structure update or a full redesign, build, and CMS migration.

Your Target Audience Changed

Maybe you were targeting a certain demographic or user group, and with the release of a new product or service, you’re shifting your target personas or market strategy.

Each type of user that your website is targeting may have specific needs. Thus, a website redesign may need to align your website with the expectations of your new user groups. This can include realigning expectations about the following:

  • The words used to describe your products or services
  • How your website is organized
  • What content do they expect to find on your product or service pages
  • The design elements and functionality of your website

Missing or Updating Brand Messaging

It is important to present a unified, clear, and consistent brand message throughout your website. Your slogans, taglines, brand voice, value proposition, and mission statement are all important factors in determining how well your website reflects your brand and your business.

If your website is missing these core branding elements or they are being updated, it might make sense to redesign your website to align with the improved messaging.

Your Website’s Purpose Was Updated

If your site’s purpose or goals have changed, it may require a website overhaul. For example, if your new goal is to provide more lead-generation content, you may need to restructure pages to drive more leads. Similarly, if you’ve recently added a shopping cart to your website, you may need to update its layout to be more in line with other eCommerce websites.

While you don’t need to do a full site redesign each time you adjust your marketing goals or messaging, it’s a good idea to check every so often to be sure your site is still aligned with your newest marketing plans.

Your Clients or Users Are Complaining

Working closely with your customer service team is a great way to identify issues with your current website. Your website design and content strategy need to be addressed if your customer service team is getting calls that include people saying some of the things listed below:

  • I can’t find you online.
  • Your website is not usable on a mobile device.
  • I am having trouble checking out and buying your product.
  • Do you offer product “x” or service “y”?
  • Where is your business located?
  • Where can I buy your product?

Industry-Specific Design Trends Changed

Is your website keeping up with design trends? With industry-specific web design trends changing every few years, a website that is two or three years old will seem outdated compared to a competitor’s website that is up to date with the latest design trends.

We are not saying that you need to chase the newest website design trends like flat design. When trying to determine if a redesign due to a design trend is worthwhile, ask yourself two important questions:

  1. Will changing our website design be beneficial to how our brand is perceived?
  2. Are our competitors taking advantage of these new trends?

Your Website Looks Untrustworthy or Outdated

Whether you believe it or not, approximately 75% of people will judge your business’s credibility based solely on your website’s design.

Jakob Nielsen identified four ways in which a website can communicate trustworthiness:

  • Design quality
  • Up-front disclosure
  • Comprehensive and current content
  • Connection to the rest of the web

In a recent study, the Nielsen Normal Group observed that the very same factors that Jakob Nielsen identified in 1999 continue to influence users today.

Your Website Has a Bad Foundation

If you have to spend more money putting bandaids on problems than actually building new means for functionality and content, then you most likely have foundational issues that in the long run will cost you more than if you just built a new website.

Foundational Issue #1: Your Website Isn’t Optimized for Speed

Did you know that 47% of consumers expect a website to load in less than two seconds, and 40% will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Google has also built website speed into their algorithm to reward websites that load quickly.

Two of our favorite tools for analyzing page speed are Google Page Speed Tool and Pingdom Tools. These tools report on a multitude of factors that negatively impact speed, all of which are usually the result of one or more of the following website issues:

  • Server Resources – Many website owners think that all hosting is created equal, and they can use a cheap hosting company; don’t. If you’re building your website in WordPress, we recommend using either WPengine or MediaTemple. We’ve used them both and are big fans.
  • Bad Code – Many businesses outsource their development to the lowest bidder, which usually results in poorly developed code (among other things).
  • Unnecessary Javascripts – The problem with many WordPress themes is their code includes many scripts that are not used or needed. These scripts are loaded on every page – even when they are not in use – causing the page to load slowly.
  • Image Size – Optimizing images for the web can have a big impact on page load speed. If you are using WordPress, there are plugins to help you manage image size. These include plugins such as WP Smush, Kraken Image Optimizer, and ShortPixel Image Optimizer.

Foundational Issue #2: Your CMS Isn’t SEO Friendly

Even considering Google’s traffic’s importance, we are shocked that content management systems don’t allow users to optimize their websites for search engines.

We’ve done website audits for many big companies. When we talk to the CMS vendor about implementation processes, we are shocked to find that we are unable to implement even basic SEO elements, such as canonical tags, unique title tags, or H1 tags. If Google traffic is important to your website, and your current CMS is not SEO friendly, we recommend cutting ties with it and rebuilding your website in a CMS that has best-in-class SEO built into it’s functionality. Bill Ross, Linchpin SEO

Foundational Issue #3: Your Website Isn’t Responsive

According to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a website that doesn’t work well on mobile, with 40% visiting a competitor’s website instead.

If your site isn’t responsive yet, the chance you’re losing leads and customers is high. Mobile users have made it clear they want a great UX when viewing your website on their phones and tablets.

Foundational Issue #4: Your Website Is Difficult to Use

Website usability does not just positively or negatively impact your users; it can have positive and negative impacts on the management of your website too. The time it takes you to update your website or the money it costs to pay someone to update it adds up over time and can cost more than if you’d just redesigned it from the start.

Foundational Issue #5: It’s Difficult to Add Functionality

Your business should focus on well-thought-out functionality. If it’s not, your organic traffic and lead generation efforts could suffer.

If your site is like most, you’ve embedded third-party widgets and tools such as shopping cart widgets, email marketing forms, or landing page tools. But if you can’t easily add them or have to pay someone to create custom functionality, redesigning your website may make more sense.

Foundational Issue #6: Your Website Has a Poor User Experience

This might seem obvious, but you’ve probably visited a website that frustrates you when you try to use it.

A great user experience means you provide the user with a great overall experience from the first time they visit your website through the conversion. Providing a great website experience involves a couple of overarching methodologies:

User interface (UI) Design: A great user interface means that your visual representation across devices is intuitive, consistent, and aligns with your users’ expectations.

Information Architecture (IA) Strategy: A great information architecture means that your website’s organization aligns with users’ expectations.

Correcting these two things could mean the difference between someone staying on your site and converting or getting frustrated and leaving to go to a competitor’s site.

Your Competitor’s Website Makes You Jealous

Obviously, you don’t need to redesign your website every time one of your competitors changes theirs. But it’s important to note that your business does not live inside a bubble online, so if your website is not in line with the quality of your competitors, you’re most likely losing sales to them.

Their SEO Is Better

Maintaining an edge in search shouldn’t be your only goal, but if you’re searching for your products or services and aren’t near the top of the search results, you may need to adjust your website strategy to compete. This could involve a redesign.

They Have Better Functionality and Content

If you spend time on a competitor’s site and realize its functionality and content meet your goals far better than yours, it’s time to find an agency to build a website that meets your user’s needs.

Their Design Is Better

If you visit your competitor’s website and wish it was yours, you probably need to redesign it. Now, that does not mean copying your competitor’s design, but it does mean creating a website you can be proud of.

What’s Next

Your website could be beautiful, functional, and pixel-perfect, but if you still aren’t getting the desired results, it’s not doing the intended job. Your website exists to build your brand, market your business, and ultimately increase sales. If you aren’t happy with your results, it’s time to think about a redesign.