They say the only thing that’s permanent in this world is change. Well, if you have a website, that applies as well. You just have to look at the Apple website design from the 90s to understand the importance of a website refresh.
Although a web redesign requires time, money, and effort, it’s often needed. In this article, let’s look at some of the signals your site needs that makeover ASAP! But first, let’s discuss what we mean by a website redesign.
What is a Website Redesign
A study by Orbitmedia found that the average lifespan of a website is two years and seven months. A website redesign can occur because you recognize a need for a change, have the resources to make a change, or just because someone at the company decides it’s time to change.
Often, the motivation for making a website redesign is a mixture of financial and aesthetic. If a website looks out of date or is hard to navigate, you will probably be missing out on sales. Over time, this can result in a significant loss of revenue. A website redesign can help turn things around, increasing time on site, improving the online experience, and boosting profits.
That’s assuming your website redesign was a success, of course.
A web redesign refers to any significant change in the format, content, or structure of a website. This usually results in substantial changes to the appearance of a website.
What Might Change During a Website Redesign
The main elements you are likely to change during a website redesign are its website design and copy. You can change anything related to the website’s visual appearance in a redesign, such as a website layout, color palette, or logo.
Below is an example of a website redesign Mailchimp went through.
As you can see, there are some substantial changes to the site.
In addition to the visual changes, you might update your copy during a website redesign. For example, you might update the copy on a sales page to better reflect what you are selling. Making updates to your sales copy is important, especially for software companies that are constantly adding new features to their product offering.
If you suddenly decide to change your website content focus, your website would need a redesign as well. Apart from the content and the design, you might make technical changes to your content management system or improve page load speed.
Visitors to your site might not notice these technical changes, especially if they are in the backend. However, technical changes to a website can significantly impact the user experience.
Why Brands Redesign Their Websites
There are many reasons brands redesign their websites. The reasons can be as simple as making the branding consistent across a website and trying to offer a better user experience, through to a complete rebrand.
In this section, we’ll look at six of the most common reasons why a company undertakes a website refresh.
Increase Conversions & Boost Profits
One of the most common reasons for a website redesign is profit. If profits from a website are decreasing, site owners will look for a solution.
A website redesign is one of the most common choices.
Part of a website redesign will be aesthetic. The business will want to make the website look modern. That means conducting a brand refresh or undertaking a rebrand, something we will discuss shortly.
Most businesses will also review their conversion rates and look at ways to boost conversions. Before the redesign takes place, though, you should pinpoint the reasons for the decreased conversions in the first place. You can use A/B testing tools to gather the analytical data you need to see what people are doing on the site and test your design changes.
A Business Is Undertaking a Brand Refresh or Rebrand
Design trends and user expectations change over time. Some companies will deal with these changes by undertaking a brand refresh. A brand refresh is where a company decides they want to make small changes to their visual assets to look more modern.
The logo examples below are a case in point.
You can see how the logos have changed over time.
When a company updates its logo, they often update their color palettes, get new company fonts, etc. All of a company’s brand assets, including their website, need to be updated during a brand refresh to ensure that all marketing material is consistent.
Rebranding is different from getting a brand refresh.
A rebrand often involves a complete overhaul of everything associated with the company. While the company maintains the name, they often want to break from the past. Rather than making small changes to the color palette and logo, a rebrand can result in a whole new look.
Both a rebrand and a brand refresh can result in a need for a website refresh.
Remove Design Inconsistencies
One of the things that a rebrand or a brand refresh will try to solve are issues with design inconsistencies. Design inconsistencies are a problem for most websites, especially sites with hundreds or thousands of pages.
Consider image file size, for example. The average size of a webpage has increased significantly over the last decade, as the graph below nicely illustrates.
As internet speeds have increased, so has the size of image files.
As part of your website refresh, you might decide to review all of the content on your site and update image files so they’re all the same size. That change will help overcome one design inconsistency that visitors might experience. There are others.
For example, custom pages might have different branding. A website refresh might involve making sure all the custom pages of your website have the same branding.
Removing brand inconsistencies will help you provide your site visitors with a better experience.
Add Functionality to the Site
Some brands undertake a website redesign to better cater to website visitors and their marketing team’s needs. As part of a website redesign, you might want to add functionality like live chat or provide different language options for your website.
Let me give you an example.
Multi-language sites are becoming increasingly popular, and they’re easy to manage. For instance, Under.me doubled their conversion rate in Germany when they provided German content through their website.
Companies also opt for the redesign if they want to simplify navigation on the website, maybe by adding smart content filters, so visitors won’t have a hard time searching the site. Or maybe integrate an email form and add an email verifier to remove spam contact details.
Drive More Traffic to The Site
In addition to increasing the number of conversions on your site, you might decide to undertake a brand refresh because you want to drive more traffic to your site. There are two ways a brand refresh can help with this.
First, a brand refresh can help improve the on-site user experience.
User experience is an important ranking factor on Google. If a person visiting your site had a good experience, they are less likely to return to Google for an alternative. That’s a signal to Google that the content deserves to rank in the search results.
Secondly, a brand refresh can improve the number of direct visitors to your website. Again, if people find the site easy to navigate and fills a need, they are more likely to stick around. That can result in more people coming directly to your website, hence more leads to your business.
Signals Your Website Needs a Redesign
So we know when brands usually undertake a website redesign. If you want to do any of those six things, too, then that’s a sign you need a website redesign. Here are other signals your website needs a makeover ASAP!
1. Your Website Loads Slowly
If your website loads too slowly, it needs that long-overdue redesign. Large images, unnecessary extensions, and too many videos may be slowing your site.
A slow website will lose you traffic and conversions. The graph below nicely illustrates the correlation between conversion rate and website load speed. The faster your website loads, the higher the chance people will convert.
You can test your speed with PageSpeed Insights. All you need to do is input the URL of the site. The tool will give you a performance score, which is the weighted average of all metric scores.
More importantly, the tool gives you suggestions on how to improve page speed.
The screenshot above shows the suggestions PageSpeed made for a page that got a performance score of 19. You can see how much faster the page would load if each of these problems was fixed.
2. Your Website Is Hard to Navigate
You don’t want a website that has a confusing web structure for many reasons. For one, it frustrates your website visitors, who end up having a bad user experience.
When website visitors become frustrated, they leave.
For another, it can affect your website SEO. When Google indexes a website, it creates a map of your site by following the site links. Poor website architecture can cause problems with page indexing. That means some content on your site might not appear in search results.
The animated graphic above shows the benefits of a well-organized website structure.
A web redesign to fix these issues might involve optimizing the website menu, changing the links in the pages, and reviewing the website footer links. Improvements to website structure can help boost user flow around your site and improve search results on Google.
3. Your Website Has A High Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate is the number of people who come to a page on your site and leave without visiting anything else. Your bounce rate can provide insights about what you need to change on your website.
A high bounce rate of over 70% is cause for alarm. It means most people who come to your site aren’t interested in your content.
You should also check the amount of time people spend on your content. If most people come to a page and leave without spending much time on your site, then you have problems.
A website can have a high bounce rate for several reasons. For example, you might need to review your content to make sure it’s useful. A slow page loading time may also result in a high bounce rate.
The good news is, there are ways to improve bounce rates. Relevant interlinking is one way. If you place links in blog posts to other relevant blog posts, you’re improving your website visitors’ user experience. The relevant blog posts, after all, give them additional information they can use.
You can always make sure to test and improve your website. A/B testing different website elements can help you identify potential issues with your website and identify where exactly you’re losing visitors. It is an excellent approach to polish your website with the right elements.
4. You’re Behind the Design Trends
If you want people to take you seriously, you need to consider your website’s appearance and how you compare to other people in your niche. Your website should look just as good and be just as easy to use as your biggest competitor.
If you don’t know how you compare, take a quick look at your competitors’ websites. How does your website compare to theirs?
You can search for web design trends, too, and see if your website is falling behind. 99designs has a list of the biggest web design trends for 2020. They include:
- Dark mode
- Imperfections such as hand-written elements
- 3D elements
- Soft shadows
- White space
- Glowing schemes
- Ultra minimalist navigation
Design trends are always changing. It’s important that your website positively reflects these changes. Your website should wow visitors and give them the impression you care about design and usability.
5. Your Website Is Difficult To Update
Finally, consider the functionality of your website as a website owner. You want a website that is easy to manage. That’s achievable.
There are a lot of great Content Management Systems. Platforms like WordPress are intuitive and easy to use, even for a beginner. If you need them to update content or change your products’ prices, then it’s time to get that website redesigned.
Changing your Content Management System or updating your theme might sound like a drastic change. However, making your site easy to manage can save you time and money in the long run.
Websites are not supposed to stay the same forever. When issues start to crop up, you have to eventually decide to overhaul it. When you decide to rebrand, you have to make the changes as well.
Although web redesign requires a lot of time, effort, and money, its benefits far outweigh those cons. An improved web redesign ensures a seamless experience for website visitors. This, in turn, can translate to conversions for you.
In the long run, a website redesign–if executed properly and at the proper time–helps companies achieve their goals.