Search “how often to redesign website” or “why you should redesign your website” and you will find countless blogs with such content listings as:
- You had a family member design your current website
- You haven’t changed the content since the last redesign
- Your website is not responsive (mobile friendly)
- The design appears to be from 1999 or doesn’t match your brand
- High bounce rate
- Frustrating navigation
- No CMS or poor CMS
Let’s be honest; these bullet points add up to “well duh.” They’re true, but anyone running a website in 2019 knows them already, and they’re useless in convincing a business owner to pay for a redesign. In 2019, the thinking behind a website redesign must be smarter, more efficient and more forward-looking than in the past to fully realize the benefits of website redesign.
For one thing, you needn’t always start from scratch. Content management platforms and technology have progressed; mere updates might lift an existing website from okay to mega successful. How often should you redesign your website? Often enough to stay ahead of competitors and to keep up with ever-changing best practices.
When starting the conversation about a redesign, what should you talk about? To make your stakeholders understand why you should redesign your website, note these four crucial items:
Aren’t the accessibility laws only for government related or funded organizations?
We hear that question a lot. The answer: Technically, yes; practically and ethically, no.
The internet is far behind on inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Beyond that, providing universal access to your web properties is just plain smart. It limits business risk, expands your audience and often enhances user satisfaction across the board.
Over one in four adult Americans are disabled, and more than half of this group access the internet regularly. That’s more than 30 million people. You want to reach them.
How is creating an accessible website any different than building a responsive website? A responsive site is a must because a portion of your audience use mobile devices to access your website. You’re going out of your way to give them access. Why not do the same for the disabled audience? A dollar spent or a lead generated from either group is exactly the same.
How does an accessible website limit your risk? A B2C business with multiple locations across the Midwest was sued by a user who lived hundreds of miles from the nearest physical location because the website was not accessible. As crazy and frustrating as this may sound, it reminds us that a website is not bound by a physical location.
Not sure what to do? Educate yourself. Start with these blog posts: Website Accessibility Standards and Web Accessibility and You: An ADA Compliance Checklist.
Remember this bedrock design question from years ago: “Did the design of your website instill enough trust in the user that s/he would enter a credit card number?” That rule of thumb not only still applies, but has spread to include “Is the user willing to give your website access to her/his browsing behaviors?”
We saw big online businesses, including Facebook, Google, and numerous retailers, suffer massive data theft of personal identification and financial information. The response? Government probes and laws, such as California’s Consumer Privacy Act. Other states could follow California’s lead.
Consider a redesign if your website fails to give users complete transparency about the data you collect and how you use it. If it fails to give your user the ability to opt out of data collection activities on your website, think about a redesign.
Do you think such problems apply only to the big guys? In a way, you’re right. But how often do you model business practices after the big guys, say in marketing strategies and sales? Whether you’re big or small, it’s good practice to protect your business and your users’ private information.
Technical Search Engine Optimization
Every business wants to be the first on Google search engine results pages, but most don’t understand what it takes to get there. Many consider SEO to be the practice of seeding keywords into content so amazing that it impresses a search engine. That’s part of it – but only a part.
Technical SEO is the other part. It’s opening the hood and tuning the engine for high performance. Tech SEO encompasses everything from how you tag content to how your website communicates with search engines. Conducting a Technical SEO Audit provides a great overview of everything you can optimize to attract search engines to your website.
How does Technical SEO factor into a decision on redesigning a website? I’m glad you asked. Many content management systems (CMS) provide site owners with the ability to enhance technical SEO. If your current CMS does not extend this power to you, look for a better platform. Technical SEO is becoming even more important as artificial intelligence devices, such as Siri, Alexa, and Google, expand market share.
Several free tools, such as SEM Rush, can help Technical SEO on the content side. Screaming Frog can help on the analytics side, so you really know how well or poorly your website is performing on search engines.
Internal search matters. A lot. Search is among the most-used features on every website. If you don’t have a search bar at the top right corner of your website, a one!
Most don’t realize that the search bar not only helps users find what they want, but also returns valuable analytical data on what your users want. Examine the internal search logs on your content management system to find out whether your users succeed in finding the information they want or if they’re stymied. The internal search logs can also provide data you can use to improve navigation.
An optimized search bar results page is also an absolute must for a successful website. Users who cannot find what they want through your internal search quickly become ex-users. Better CMSs offer canonical results tools, with which you can define what shows up first on the results page. This control is essential for raising user engagement and conversions.
Check out How To Improve Internal Search On Your Website for a list of the most important best practices to implement.
If your platform does not support on-site search or if the search functionality is intractably poor, rebuild on a better platform.
Leave the silly reasons for redesigning your website to your competitors. Stand out from the crowd. Take on the most serious problems by adopting best practices as you redesign or build from the ground up. Following through on these four items will lay a great foundation for building or improving your website.
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