How Often Should You Refresh Your Site’s Look and Feel?
When running a website, it’s natural to go through a few redesigns over the years. But how do you know when is the right time to refresh your site?
The general rule of thumb is to refresh your website every two to three years. However, sometimes other factors indicate it’s time to switch things up. We’ll be going over those indicators below. If any of them apply to your website, it may be time to start thinking about refreshing your site’s look and feel.
When Your Site is Underperforming
Underwhelming performance is one glaring indicator that your website is ready for a new design.
Tip: You can tell how visitors are interacting with your website through website analytics tools. If you don’t have site analytics set up, you may be losing out on useful information on how users interact with your website.
Website design isn’t just about making your site look good; it also influences how visitors interact with your site. If your website is getting an increasing number of bounces and a low number of conversions, then you should look into your website design. Sometimes design flaws are behind these negative marketing numbers. It could be that the design isn’t intuitive to users or they’re getting distracted by something you didn’t anticipate.
Ideally, your website should be designed with a goal in mind. If you’re trying to sell products, then your design needs to channel your visitors to those products and appealingly showcase them. If your goal is to show off your design skills, then your design should show off all the impressive nuances of your work.
Long story short: your design should help your visitors do something, whether that’s buying your products or ogling your mad design skills. It should not be hindering their journey through your site.
If you’re experiencing disheartening marketing numbers, do some site testing and see if your design is negatively affecting your customer’s journey. If it is, it’s time to replace your site design with one that will help your customer journey, not stunt it.
Tip: Sometimes it’s hard to be an unbiased observer of your own websites. After all, you have an intimate knowledge of how it works. If you’re having trouble assessing your website, consider putting together a test group of people who aren’t familiar with your site. Give them a goal and ask them to write down their thoughts and where they clicked. Based on that, you may be able to get a better idea of your design’s performance.
When You Can Tell Your Design is Behind the Times
The virtual world has the luxury of moving fast. Everything happens quickly: news, site load times, viral cat videos, you name it. So being online comes with a certain expectation that you’re moving in that same fast current. Website designs are no different. The trends fluctuate. New colors come into vogue, while others are deemed outdated. Some layouts that were once praised for being innovative are now old news.
So if you look at your website and think that it’s looking a bit dated, it might be time for a redesign.
Now, we don’t mean that you have to be redesigning your site daily, monthly, or even yearly. That’s a lot of unnecessary work. Just because your color scheme is no longer the hottest palette of the season doesn’t mean you need a site design. However, if you see that your design is falling out of step with things in a way that hinders the customer journey, then you should consider redesigning.
When You’ve Changed Your branding on Other Types of Media
When creating a brand, you want to have a unified front. Your customers shouldn’t wonder if they’re in the right place when they switch between your social media and your website. It should immediately be clear through the logo, colors, and language.
So if your website is out of step with your current branding on other online media, then it might be time for a site refresh to get your site back on the same page.
When Your Site design Has Security Red Flags
We talk about security a lot here at Pair Networks, but that’s because it’s so important. One of the things you’ve probably heard from us before is to make sure your software is maintained.
Software maintenance isn’t just fixing bugs; it’s also patching security threats. If your software isn’t being maintained, it’s open to attack. This holds true for site designs, too. If you’re using a CMS, then you need to make sure your site design is receiving updates.
If your site design’s creator hasn’t touched it in a long time, you need to find a new theme ASAP to keep your site secure. You have no idea what new security vulnerabilities hackers discovered in the time your theme has been sitting around un-updated.
If this applies to you and you’re about to go site design shopping, make sure to look for ones that are being actively maintained. This will save you from falling into the same trap as your current theme.
When Updating Your Site is Hard
This suggestion goes hand-in-hand with the last one. If your site design is hard to update, then it might be worth looking at alternatives. The reasoning is the same as before: site designs that aren’t updated against new threats will be vulnerable to attack. If your design is a pain to update, you’ll likely put it off.
So we recommend making site updates as easy as possible for yourself. This may involve getting a new site theme or moving to a new CMS altogether. While that sounds like a lot of work for a small convenience, keeping your site up-to-date is worth it.
When Your Site’s Focus Has Shifted
Has your focus changed since you last designed your site? Small shifts of focus often don’t warrant an entire site redesign. But if you’ve had a big change recently, then a refresh might be something to consider.
For example, if you recently changed your focus from your content to a new product you’re releasing. If this product is now the focal point of your business, then you may need to shift your site design to align with that interest.
When Your Site Isn’t Designed for SEO
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is an important factor when choosing a website design and theme. Even if you build your site yourself, you need to make sure you’re using SEO best practices to get you the best search engine ranking possible. If you’re using someone else’s design, then you need to do your research to make sure it’s optimized for search engines.
If your search rankings aren’t up to par, check your current website theme and see if it’s designed for SEO. If not, consider choosing a new design that is.
Your Design is About You
Deciding on a redesign is a personal choice. After all, it is your site. However, some of the categories we talked about above are more pressing than others. If you’ve seen red flags in your site design’s security, we strongly recommend looking for a new design. You can never be too careful with your site security and it only takes one breach to wreak havoc on your website. On the other hand, if your focus has shifted, then the need for a refresh may not be as urgent (even though it may help orient your site visitors).
If you’re happy with your site performance and you haven’t seen any red flags, then you may not need a redesign. But if it’s been more than two to three years, you may want to analyze your site to make sure it’s not struggling in places you haven’t noticed.
Need design help? You can take a look at these resources to get you started!
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