Websites don’t generally come with expiration dates on their own. But the general consensus is that, after a certain period of time, they will become largely irrelevant. A lot of factors contribute to the scenario. They might be no longer be a useful tool for your business, and might not be in line with the primary goals of your website. That’s when you know that you need a redesign; a website will start to detract from the company behind it if it is not done on time.
There are several factors that will help you to determine whether it’s the right time to redesign or maybe even redevelop your website. Let’s have a deeper look at those to formulate a website redesign process.
Business growth and direction of growth
When it comes to small businesses and their websites, the websites are a reflection of the business itself, it’s an online persona of the business. If your business has grown in recent times and is currently offering more products and services than you did before, or maybe if you have pivoted or have streamlined your operations and are not currently offering the services that you used to, then your website definitely needs to reflect this change of operations.
Relevance of content and its structure
If the products and services you offer through your business has changed recently, then you might be able to fix those changes right within the existing structure and design of your site. For example, the text in your navigation may say “hooks” and maybe you’ve changed from blue to red hooks, it can still be integrated into your website, without changing a lot. However, in line with the same example, if you’ve introduced a completely different product, it cannot be easily added into the main navigation bar, and you might have to actually rethink how your website functions.
Relevance of message to prospective clients
There are a lot of factors that would determine which kind of messages would resonate with your clients. Working with someone with some good prior marketing experience to rework the message, your brand/business is sending out is a good option. This will make sure all the various parameters involved are factored in. Changing market conditions force a lot of companies to adjust their positioning. You should do your best to make sure that the your website redesign reflects the same kind of positioning your company did.
How updated are you with technology?
Web standards keep changing really fast. Though you can try to anticipate trends, it’s very difficult to be right all the time. What was considered a best practice by a majority of people just a few years ago may no longer be in use now. A good example is using flash for animated content in your site. Five or ten years ago, this type of tool was the only way to add animation to your websites and many people loved it. Nowadays, it’s considered a security threat and not many prefer it. Even the company that made it has planned to drop support for it.
Did you start well?
Like every other elements of design, there are certain approaches to web designs that are considered classic and will be able to stand the test of time much better than others. In general, if you didn’t invest in professional website design when you started out, it will show on your website and the look of your site will probably start to look worse as time goes on.
Understanding client expectations
This is again considered to be a very big factor in the website design community. Nowadays, everyone is more informed and are more sophisticated when it comes website design. Gone are the times when it was acceptable, to “just have a website,” nowadays, clients expect a lot more than just a poorly designed web presence. Your potential customers might be looking for a professional brand identity as a trust factor to determine whether they can trust you. People prefer integrated ecommerce stores built right into your website than being redirected to your amazon sales page. People will judge your grasp over the subject you are dealing with based on the in depth content you write about it. If you are not taking efforts to step up your game to keep your site fresh, relevant, well-designed and highly-functional, your competitors will easily fill in that gap.
With that being said, it’s not done when you decide you’ve to get your website redesigned. That is just the beginning and you have the whole redesign process ahead of you. The website redesign process involves different strategies and point of views. Here we will discuss some of the very basic ways in which you can approach yours.
This is not the only way to do it and it is just meant as a beginner’s guide to it.
1. Interviews as a tool
Everyone in the marketing industry would know about personas. You would have created a few different personas of potential customers for your site by now. Find real people who match those personas and interview them.
Inspiration will hit right after the interviews. Try to draft the vision and mission statements, brand guidelines, a project brief, and website copy based on your understanding from those interviews as well as your own research.
2. Drafting a project brief
Before you dive head first into the project, you need to develop a project brief, so that everybody involved on the project are on the same page. Keep updating it as and when required to reflect the current state of your project.
Start with your defined customer personas and the list of competitors. Do a SWOT analysis to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities and threats posed by your competitors and how you want to deal with those. List down the the things where you want to focus your attention on.
4. Structure Diagrams
Information architecture is the industry practice of organizing the overall content you have so that it’s easy for everyone to understand. In web design terms, structural diagrams can help you to map the relationships between different pages of a website, giving you an overview of all the site’s different components.
Create a relationship diagram and evaluate the content of your site, your goals, and target traffic before you start with updating and suggesting new changes. The diagram will help you to understand and define the scope of your project better and it will act like a checklist as you progress with your work.
Wireframes are a pretty common tool in web design. You can use them throughout your website redesign process to help you to think through problems, generate concept ideas and get approval for those ideas. Wireframes help you generate the basic structural framework of your webpage quickly.
Using wireframes will give you a clear idea about the general flow of the page and how each piece of your content will relate to each other. There are lot of tools available online that will let you create quick website redesign templates.
6. Inspiration boards
When it comes to design, inspiration is very important. Creating inspiration boards from the beginning of the project will reflect your vision of how your new brand might look like. This will also help you to convince other stakeholders involved in the website redesign process.
If you are wondering how much does a website redesign cost, it depends on various factors like expertise of the consultancy, the amount of work and the quality of work you expect and so on.
Try using Pinterest as a collection of general inspirational ideas. Keeping them in a sorted manner instead of letting those ideas get lost in the clutter of a single board, is also important. Organise your content into several boards that are dedicated to the specific areas of your redesign like navigation, animations, and typography.
7. Mockups and prototypes
When wireframes don’t get you the desired buy-in you might need, you will have to step up your game. A lot of nontechnical people find it difficult to understand and deal with wireframes. Show your design mockups on a screen and try your best to get feedback from your audience.
You can also try your hand at interactive mockups a little early on in the wireframing process so that it is easier to gather feedback. This feedback cycle will help you to make better design decisions and improve your website for the better.
These are some of the most basic website redesign strategies that you can integrate into your website redesign process. There are a lot more of these tools and strategies available, which you can use in your process based on your needs and requirements.
I hope this article helped you to clear your doubts regarding when to redesign your website and when you do it, how you can deal with it in a productive and efficient way. If you have any doubts regarding the process, let us know through the comments and we will be more than happy to guide you on the right direction. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this article, let us know through the comments as well and we will do our best to improve it.