Ontario Web Design Company

How to know if my site needs a re-design?

Shawn Purdy On August 4, 2015

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Every so often it is a good idea to get your website re-designed or even re-developed.

The first question you need to ask yourself is:

How old is the current website?

This answer will depend on when the last time it was designed.  Now maybe the website may have been re-designed 2 years ago, but it could still need to be re-developed.  Unfortunately there is many developers that use old coding standards, even today.  They can sometimes use code techniques that are more than a decade out of date. So the next question you need to ask will help you determine if that is the case.

Is the site mobile responsive?

If you re-size your browser with your website loaded. Does it re-size itself to fit the browser window. You should scale the browser window down to about a mobile screen size to see. If the site is not viewable in this format. It means the website is not responsive. It would be wise to re-build your site to be mobile responsive. You might as well do a full new re-design in the process, as your current design may not be designed in a way that is optimized for developing good responsive websites. This won’t always be the case, but in some cases converting an older non responsive website to responsive could be more or just as much work as doing a re-design.

How often should I do a re-design?

I would say once every 3 to 5 years. 5 being the absolute max. Technology changes fast, and in some cases also your business changes as well. Your website should always reflect that. Whatever it may be. If your requirements are changing or different than they were 3 years ago. You need to consider that.  So with that said a typical life cycle should not exceed 5 years. There is some exceptions to this in very complicated systems. Say a Government website that has tons of data systems that it’s not feasible. Some of those systems date back to the beginning of the internet. Cases like this it is usually extremely expensive to re-build systems like this. So it gets put to the side. While personally and professionally. I believe this is unprofessional to do this, it happens.

What if I have an outdated system that is too expensive to re-build?

I say dedicate time to figuring out what it is you need in order to bring the system to current technology, and begin a fund in order to make it possible to pay for it. Outdated systems cause more than just security issues, but performance problems, compatibility problems that should not be maintained. They should be re-built. In some cases it could cost you money in overpowered systems, and security that you would not need otherwise. For example, if you have to hire an administrator to consistently be monitoring and patching systems because of outdated software that is no longer maintained by the original provider. Or to use more powerful hardware because the system you have now does not scale.

Should I re-design because I’m not getting good traffic?

Depends, you would need a professional to look at your current website to determine if this is a wise choice. When I say professional. I mean someone that will tell you the truth. You can find any developer that will re-do your website wither they think it needs it or not. Most cannot guarantee you any traffic. So it is important that you find someone you can trust.

The important part is looking at your data. Look at your existing traffic, and determine if people are able to find what they want. Do you have a high bounce-rate “Above 50%” Are people engaging on your website? Are you making sales? If you’re really struggling and getting almost no traffic. I would re-think your marketing strategy first. Are the places you are advertising really helping you? Are you advertising at all?

If you are not advertising. Start advertising. You don’t need a big budget in order to do this. In fact it will probably be a lot cheaper to start with this then it would be to re-build your website. Even if you did rebuild it. No one knows you exist.

Find places you can advertise your products, services, and or offerings. Look for any kind of website that has good traffic coming to it and a good PR Rank. The closer it is related to your website the better. The idea here is not to generate 10,000’s of hits. It’s to get targeted traffic to your site.

You need to decide what is better for you.

  1. Targeted traffic: Is 100 targeted visitors valuable to you?
  2. Mass Traffic, is more traffic valuable to you then targeted?

Most people want targeted traffic. The chances are you will likely make more money off those 100 people than you will off the 10,000 people from number 2.

There is some exceptions to this. For example websites that rely on advertising money in order to make money. However even these sites need a niche, if you get 20,000 visitors and only 500 of those are even interested in the site. The chances are the other 19,500 won’t be clicking on any banner advertisements.

Chances are also, those 500 people that are interested, are more likely to return to your website again in the future. Which means they are more likely to click on your banner advertisements.

In a nutshell more is not always better.

Impressing your visitors.

First impressions are everything, put yourself into your customer’s point of view for just 1 minute. Now you are looking for products or services that relate to your websites industry. Can you find your website online by searching around?

If the answer is no. Then you need to figure out why. If you can find your company without directly searching for the company name. Then when you visit your website. “Pretend you’re a customer”

  • Does the website look inviting?
  • Does it look professional?
  • Is it easy for you to find the products or services you are looking for?
  • Is it easy to find the information you’re looking for?
  • Is the information you find useful?
  • Is the information readable? (Text colors, good grammar, no spelling mistakes, well formatted)

If you answer NO to any of these questions. You need to re-consider your pages structure or even a full re-design. Update content to fix errors. It does not take much to make a customer think twice about wither they can trust you or not.  Trust is more than you providing your products or services. It is how you conduct yourself. If you have problems with your website. It leaves a lasting impression of unprofessionalism upon your customers. A potential customer should feel positive about visiting your website. They may not order on the first visit, but the important part is they leave positive. A negative impression will not get you any sales.

Now do the same thing. Search for products or services related to your industry and this time. Go to your top competitor’s website.
Run through the same questions above, and be honest with yourself.

  • Do they look more or less professional than your website?
  • If you had to choose between the two which would you choose?

It is important that you are honest. You could say we offer XYZ and they only offer X and Y, and they cost $10 more. The question you need to ask is. Does your customer actually care about Z. Maybe they do. The point is that you need to look at it from multiple angles. No one is the same and not every person will think the same way. You need to understand why someone would choose them over you. The only way to do that is to see what they do better, not what they do worse.

Being unbiased will help you make improvements in your company and help you be more professional. In the end this will have a positive snowball effect on your customer’s perception of you.

Now it is time to get to work, and decide on the changes you need to make in order to make your website successful.


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