Taking on a Website Redesign Head On
Out with the old and in with the new. Isn’t that what many people say? Well, with website designs and their facades, it may be true. Today we are going to give you some powerful reasons on why redesigning a website is something to celebrate and not feel perplexed and sometimes defeated about.
Image source: 3dCart
Every now and then we like a little bit of change in our lives, though, it’s in our human nature and condition to be afraid of change and to always embrace stability and perpetuity, so it may seem like there are tons of reasons on why you should stick to what you know and keep your website design as it is now or that of a client.
The problem is, we could not be more wrong with the previous statement. There are dozens of reasons on why your website may need a change, not just a facelift and visual change, but also a complete new marketing strategy and perhaps new orientation.
“So, how do I know if my website or a client’s site needs a change?, I mean, nobody is complaining… right?” Many times I’ve heard this and there are simple answers that we can give. You know how when you enter a dirty or unkempt restaurant you just don’t complain, and probably just never comeback? That could be happening to your website. The fact that no one is complaining does not mean that they like it at all.
Before letting you know how to recognize that your website needs a redesign, take a look at this image courtesy of Breezi. See how they redesign their whole site site adapting it to their needs, marketing strategy and brand.
Image source: Breezi
In the previous image we see how both designs are good, but the new one matches much more with the brand they represent and gives a lot more information.
Asking the Right Questions
Now, let’s get into it. How do you know if your website needs a redesign? It’s quite easy, you just have to answer a few questions and if in one or some of these the answer is no then for sure your website needs a redesign. Was your website designed less than 3 years ago?, Is it ahead of your competition?, Is content on your website fresh?, What about contact and official information on your website, is it up to date? And also, does your brand online reflect your offline brand in case there’s one?
If by any chance you answered no to some of the previous questions then your site needs a little bit of a change if not a whole redesign. We hate to say this but the shelf life your website design is quite small, in the following sections we will explore why this happens and how to avoid it.
A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…
The main and most important thing is the way your website design was made. If your website was designed more than 3 years ago it was probably done with what is now considered “old” technologies or some that have changed and improved a lot. That does not mean that your design is bad, but it’s probably outdated and since times have changed you could take advantage of the technologies used today.
Take a look at this screenshot from NRG. It is made in flash and it’s cool and all but flash is not really SEO friendly so we are left with un-crawlable content and may not display properly on mobile devices, game consoles browsers or tablets.
Image source: NRG
Keeping your website competitive through adapting it or changing it to the newer technology tendencies is a must. Doing this means shorter loading times, better responsiveness, adaptability, a better user experience and of course a better design.
Offline & Online Branding
Brands and companies evolve inherently and undergo design changes that we may not agree with. They stay true to the times and evolve with new technology and your site may not reflect what your brand or company is all about right now.
Let’s say your website was created a few years back and you had your site set up on a color scheme equal to the one you have on your store, office, brand, logo, etc. Then, after success and time invested you changed offices, your store sells more products now, your brand is quite different or you have even changed your logo and color scheme, though your site looks the same as a few years back.
Check out the image below. This specific chocolate brand has not updated their website to match their newly designed box. On the left we see how box is presented to the consumers and on the right how still looks on the website.
Image source: ReyAmargo
So the above example is a case that happens believe it or not quite a lot. Connectivity, technology and the implementation of web based technologies on smartphones, TVs and other devices is rising rapidly so your internet persona and presence has to make a statement. Your offline and online brand have to match in order for you to build a name and show a coherent image across all available marketing outlets.
Learn From Your Mistakes
You can also take the practical and good way of looking at things. Since website design technologies are more advanced now it is easier to resolve current or past problems on your website than it was before.
With all the talk about responsive design is easy to get lost in the track but you got to keep in mind that if you want your website to reach your audience, then the main thing to do is have it available and user friendly to everyone.
See how the Grey Goose website has its design change whenever your screen resolution or device changes! (Time to break out your mobile phone or tablet so that you can see what we are talking about)
Website builders and technologies now offer standards and guidelines to an effective design that’s also reachable on mobile devices, tablets and that display properly for the elderly, visually impaired or other visual disabilities. So implementing these guidelines to your website can help you resolve many design or readability problems. While this is touching on the heels of responsive design it is important that you stay up to date on what your visitors are using as a means to view your website.
Keep It Fresh
Website content has to be fresh, and this concept is tied up to the fact that your offline and online brand needs to match. Even if your design is good and it looks up to date if your site portrays old dates, inaccurate “coming soon”, deadlines that have been met already and content that does not match what already happened, your site will seem “dusty” and old.
Fresh content needs to be added once in a while to keep your visitors returning to your website and to give the sense that you do care about your online visitors. We, online surfers, probably keep up with a site or two but if you want to maintain important presence then you have to remind users you have something good to offer.
See how Lottie + Doof continually adds recipes and blog posts once in a while to keep users interested in their website.
Image source: Lottie + Doof
Run a blog, add exclusive content, news, and keep those sections on or close to your homepage for users to see, add a mailing list that users want to subscribe to and keep them up to date (though do not spam, please) to remind them of your existence.
Fashion Changes, But Style Endures
Trends in design, as well as in fashion, have a way of going through seasons (not at specific as fashion season though), and if there may be certain standards on the web on what’s defined, what’s good for a great user experience and how to improve readability, interaction and design; there are still trends out there and adapting your design and content to them to make them more appealing can help you.
This does not mean that you have to change your site once in a while just for the sake of trends and what’s in vogue. But maybe knowing that placing music that can’t be stopped on your site, animations and gifs and tons of pictures with flashy content is out of the question nowadays could be good.
See on the picture below how CNN changed its design to improve readability and improve their user experience.
Image source: cnn.com
Adapt those trends to your design and only use them if they are adamant to your website. Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it, question yourself and if possible, applicable and pertinent, give your site a whole new look.
What about PR?
Once you have thought and identified all the previous areas of improvement and have decided to give your site a new or redesigned look you could take advantage of the situation and add some marketing to it.
IWC Schaffhausen changed their website design not so long ago and did lots of marketing campaigns around it.
Image Source: IWC
Improving your website can be done because you are looking or need to follow a different or new PR Marketing campaign or backwards, you can take a step back, look at your newly designed website and start a new marketing campaign.
Question yourself whether your website meets today standards and if it could be reworked to improve visibility, visitors, and revenue and design aesthetics. Compare other websites in the same niche or category and try to outdo them with a better design.
Following in all these concepts, and importantly, making them your won by adapting them to you, your design, brand, company and users will give you the lead.
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