I’m a designer, so I can’t help myself: I love to redesign my site. Maybe not as much as Brian Gardner, the founder of StudioPress, who seems to have a new design every time he spits out a blog post. (We love you, Brian. And yes, this is an intervention.)
In the past three years, though, my Bright Coconut site has had
three four different designs, each one the product of a serious itch. If the redesign scratches the itch well, it gets to stay — my 2013 design lasted over two years. But if it doesn’t, well… to the four of you who actually saw the design between that one and the last one, I’m sorry. It’s better now, I promise.
The point of this post is not to showcase my current or previous site designs, though. The point is to know when you need a redesign, and when you maybe just need to clean up a few things. (Of course, if you’re the kind of person who gets that itch to redesign and wants to scratch it often, know that I love you. We should talk.)
Do you need a redesign?
Well, maybe. Let’s take a look.
When was the last time you redesigned your site? I ask because of the speed that technology advances these days. If you have a site that’s more than a few years old, it’s very possible that you could have outdated code that’s just not mobile-responsive (best-case scenario), or on the verge of breaking (mid-case scenario) or exposing you to hackers (worst-case scenario). If it’s the latter, then you really should update your theme, because cleaning up a hacked site is something no one should have to deal with.
That important question aside, does your site do what you need it to do? Between having your current site built and today, has your business evolved to do something new, provide something new, or engage with your audience in a certain way… but your site doesn’t allow it? Common examples could be things like social media sharing, online scheduling, using contact forms so you aren’t exposing your email address, etc.
If your site isn’t doing (or can’t do) what you need it to do, it’s like signing up to run a 10k when all you have are three-inch stilettos.
This next one is a bit less cut-and-dry, but if it applies to you, you’ll know it right away.
Are you proud of your website? When potential clients ask you about your site, do you cringe? Give them your email instead? Refer them to your Facebook page?
These are really big signs. Huge ones.
There are plenty of other reasons to redesign, too.
If any of these sound familiar…
- you regularly get complaints from readers and clients that they couldn’t find something on your site
- people have a hard time reaching you
- you’re tired of hearing that one recurring juicy bite of negative feedback over and over
- your site isn’t mobile-responsive (and yes, I know I mentioned this one before, but this is the age of multiple devices, and if you’re leaving out mobile users, they’ll leave you out, too).
And on the positive side:
- maybe you have something new you’re rolling out, like a new program, product, or initiative
- you’re ready to pull the plug on something that’s no longer working for you, like an old product or service, and doing so means revamping lots of things on your site
- it’s time to pull the trigger on that blog you’ve been thinking about for years.
- you’re inspired by some other websites you’ve been seeing, and want your site to inspire the same feelings in you and your readers.
Okay, I’m seeing the mirror here. Does this mean I have to start over completely?
Not necessarily. Whew, right?
It could just be that you need to update a few things so your site is secure. Perhaps you just need to rearrange a few things and make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. It all depends on what you’ve got in place and what you need to do with it. If you want to talk options, let’s talk.
However, if you’ve read this far and all the signs are pointing to yes, then yes — you should redesign.
A quick note on aesthetics: If you need to replace your theme, or move from your old, possibly defunct—or non-existent—platform into something that allows you to have a more secure, easy to edit, future-ready site for years to come, like, say, WordPress (hint hint), then that qualifies as a redesign, even if you stay with the same basic look.
A redesign doesn’t mean you have to make it look different… but most people like refreshing their look now and again.
(If you’re still rocking the 90s look and jamming to My Heart Will Go On on your walkman, though, feel free to bust out your flip-phone and gimme a call. I’m sure we can figure something out.)
Websites aren’t static. They live and grow and evolve, just as your business does—or in some cases, even faster—and having an up-to-date, mobile-responsive, easy-to-use site communicates to your audience that you are awake behind the wheel.