Although there is a frightening statistic (from 1and1) that "up to 40% of businesses don't have a website", most businesses do have a website in one form or another. This might be a simple holding page with contact information, or a full-blown, bells and whistles marketing masterpiece.
Whatever your business website's purpose or status, every now and again it’s a good idea to revisit it and explore the possibility of a reworking or complete website redesign.
However, redesigning your business website can be a costly affair and something that you definitely want to see work for your business once it's complete. To get the best from your website redesign project, it's important to start with a solid reason (or two!) behind the motivation.
Let's explore eight of our best reasons to redesign your business website and how they affect your ROI.
Not all website redesign motives are created equal
First things first, before we run to the colour swatches to create mood boards and get out or sketching pencils to draw up wireframes, there is a big question you need to answer:
“Why do you want to redesign your business website?”
There are some good reasons to think about redesigning your business website, and some not-so-good reasons.
- Good reasons tend to align with business goals or marketing objectives (increase in sales, or boosting leads).
- Bad reasons, however, tend to be more subjective in nature, such as the current design being ‘old and tired’.
We're going to focus on the good reasons in this article, so take a look at the following eight from our wealth of digital marketing experience and compare it against your own website redesign motives
1. Address traffic losses or high bounce rates
A change to the design of your website, especially when it comes to the usability of it, can turn around certain bottlenecks across the site that are causing a loss of traffic. It might be slow loading pages, or complicated content layout that's putting people off.
The first place to look for this information is some tracking and analytical software, such as Google Analytics. In fact, Google Analytics is a great place to start if you'd like to try improve your marketing before going the whole hog and redesigning your website.
If you don't have anything measuring your business website's performance and traffic then we have a handy guide to installing Google Analytics to get you started.
2. Introduce new features or approaches
Making your site mobile friendly or overhauling the way in which a product search works might mean you have to redesign the whole site, or certainly large parts of it to achieve this. This will be largely dependent upon what you're trying to achieve, of course, but sometimes it's less costly to redesign a new site that works across different platforms than it is to rework an existing one and 'bolt on' new features that take centre stage.
Mobile friendly work (often referred to as the website being 'responsive') is particularly important. So much so, in fact, that Google announced in April 2015 that they would be giving preferential ranking to those sites that included a mobile version to their visitors.
You can check your website's mobile friendly status using this tool from Google themselves.
3. Bring it in line with a change in company direction
If, for example, you’ve merged, or offer different / new services then you can redesign your website to reflect this change and align it with your new goals.
Whilst this might not necessarily have a strong effect either way on meeting your marketing goals, it's certainly important to ensure your branding, overall message, and company communication is consistent, clear and unified across the various digital channels.
Updating your company website with new branding, or adding new services will ensure that people know who they're dealing with and what you're offering.
4. Responding to significant feedback
Whilst this strays into the opinion and subjectivity side of things (the less-ideal reasons area), if your current design, ease of use, content structure, and so on, are causing a lot of complaints and loss of visitors then these areas should be addressed.
Even something simple, such as a long-loading shopping basket, or clunky user-interface can cause people to leave your site into the arms of your competition.
Unless you're getting a lot of comments and engagement already, then the best way to gather feedback is to reach out to your customers via social media, or surveys to see what they think about your current website.
5. Simplifying complex processes
If you have a 10 step registration form with lots of moving parts and jazzy graphics, it might be that you want to simplify it all to 3 steps and fewer distractions.
As a real-world example, I used to work for a digital agency that looked after a national holidays company which had a really long checkout / booking process (around 8 steps with lots of boxes to complete), all on one page. After watching several users' interactive sessions on the site, it quickly became clear that they were struggling to complete the form in one sitting, clicking 'back' and losing data, and just plain getting frustrated.
The fix? We had to completely rework the entire booking process to streamline and simplify it. The result? Happier users and more sales in the bag!
6. It has a lot of bugs or broken elements
If there are a few issues that are simple to fix, then get them fixed. If the problem runs deeper and is more systemic, however, then a redesign could cost much less than chasing bugs around to squash them.
This feeds into number five and a little into four, but by discovering what's not working on your website and weighing up the cost of leaving it alone, versus fixing it in place, versus starting over and getting it spot on from the beginning, you'll be able to see if a redesign is the best option for your company.
7. Target your customers more effectively
If you’re looking to target your ideal clients more effectively then a new website or website restructure might be just the ticket.
Having spent valuable time identifying your ideal customers and creating buyer personas for them, then the next step is to rebuild a website that delivers their preferred content to them in their preferred manner. This might be by simplifying the design and layout to remove as much friction as possible, or to create a more clear design to highlight important points.
8. Increase sales leads
If you have a particularly low conversion rate or just low numbers of leads generated by your site, then a redesign can address these points and push your numbers up.
Do you need to include a blog to address your clients' needs through great content (the foundation of inbound marketing by the way!)? Maybe you're looking to add some strong calls to action to drive visitors to contact you, or download a sales brochure?
By identifying your website's sales weak spots, you can see if something simple is the answer, or you need to redesign the website to meet your marketing goals.
Redesign your website to hit your marketing & business goals
Do any of our reasons sound familiar, or line up with your motivations?
Don't worry if they don't; there is no real ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behind wanting to redesign your website, but as a rule a redesign should be triggered in response to the need to meet business goals.
If your company website is going through a rebirth because of more subjective and intangible reasons, such as ‘we’ve had it for x years and fancy a change’, then it won’t do you any harm by any means (so long as you have a solid SEO redirect plan in place!), but you could end up investing a significant amount of money without meeting any real, measurable marketing and business goals - and being able to realise a strong return on investment - on the other end.
The important point to remember is that your website should be helping reach your business goals, therefore it needs to provide measurable results, otherwise, how will you know it’s working?