At PBJ, we hear all sorts of reasons why clients may want to redesign their websites. Most times, they’re on to something. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? But usually the reasons we come across have another one lying underneath it. Uncovering the latter is the hard part.
According to a recent HubSpot report, “Companies undergo a redesign every 6 months to 2 years, but a striking 1/3 was not happy with their latest redesign.” What’s worse, “38% of companies’ website performance did not improve.”
With an average cost of $20,000, a redesign should be a well thought out and carefully planned decision. Let’s explore some of the most common reasons we hear for a redesign, and then dive a bit deeper into what these insights are really saying.
1. Bad Reason: It’s “just time” to redesign!
Whether it’s your boss’s idea, your client’s, or yours, design for design’s sake is never a good reason.
Think of it like this: You look in the mirror every morning. When you look hard enough, you’re bound to spot – maybe obsess over – little things the rest of the world won’t ever notice. You spend time and energy fiddling with that one hair, putting just the right divot in that tie, removing and reapplying that eyeliner three times… All the while, you could have been focused on optimizing your day.
Time + Energy = Cost. Consider your opportunity cost. While it’s not a bad idea to continuously improve a user’s experience, doing so will consume resources. Resources that could have been spent elsewhere… say, on producing better content.
Good Reason: The User Experience isn’t converting.
Instead of fussing over this font or that feature, spend time analyzing how your audience currently uses your site – or doesn’t. (Psst – Google Analytics is great for this.) What is keeping them from converting to a purchase, booking, or signup? Where are you losing them? Is it content, user flow confusion, lack of a call-to-action? Answer these questions first.
2. Bad Reason: Our bounce rate is so high!
Speaking of Google Analytics… So, you’re analyzing traffic flow and biting your nails off because no one is staying. Keep Calm.
Yes, this is a genuine concern. Getting a user to stay and engage is always priority #1. However, a complete overhaul may be jumping the gun. You could get lost in an abyss of redesign only to spend time, money and resources building a site that has… wait for it… a high bounce rate!
Good Reason: My consumers come to the site with one expectation and receive another.
To reinforce our point in #1, try to isolate the problem. Common user-experience flaws are that your links and CTAs are difficult to find. Or you’re trying to cram too much – maybe even irrelevant – info onto your home page. Figuring out that balance will take patience and perseverance, but don’t be afraid to experiment and give your tweaks the proper time to see results.
3. Bad Reason: I don’t want a regular site. I want a COOL site!
Sound familiar? It’s hard NOT to play “Art Director”; we’re all guilty of it. You see a cool slider, flash embedded homepage, or animated infographic and, like The Dog and His Reflection, you just have to have it.
Flashier isn’t always better, especially when it gets in the way of your ultimate goal: conversion. User Interface should support a clean, crisp, and efficient consumer journey. Don’t junk it up.
Good Reason: My design is obsolete and distracting.
Ask yourself, “What value does this addition bring to my site?” The last thing you want to do is implement a fancy feature that distracts your customer from conversion. It only takes seconds to lose a lead.
Simple (not minimal) designs are the current trend. Flat is in. Color palettes are adventurous, yet classy. If you’ve got a new brand, a comprehensive Discovery Phase is critical to research and plan for good design. A digital strategist can help guide you through this necessary process.
4. Bad Reason: My competition did it, so I should do it too!
Your competitor just revamped his entire site. Being true to human nature, your Darwinian senses kick in. It’s now adapt or DIE, right? Slow down, tiger.
Consumers are cleverer than that. Maybe that site needed a redesign, but as we’re discovering here… maybe it didn’t.
Consumers won’t flock to your competitor just because he has a prettier website. If his User Experience is still inefficient in creating conversions, then competition has achieved nothing.
Good Reason: My competition doesn’t do this, so I’m going to.
Peter Thiel, PayPal cofounder, put it perfectly in his book Zero to One: “It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new. Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1… the result is something fresh and strange.”
It’s good to keep an eye on the competition, but don’t worry so much about what they’re doing. Focus more energy on doing something different! Find your own voice, your own identity. If you change the stakes, you change the game.
5. Bad Reason: We need to improve our SEO!
First, do you know what SEO is? Probably, but do you really know what it is?
SEO is no easy trick. It requires well thought out strategy and months of research, tests, and adjustments. Consult an SEO strategist if your search engine rankings are not satisfactory. Oftentimes, a few adjustments to your site, together with an overall strategy for marketing and content, are the better ways to go.
Good Reason: We need to strengthen our digital footprint and increase conversions.
Digital Footprint (I’m officially redefining this word) is a measure of your overall digital presence and it requires a lot more than just SEO. Good marketing strategy is holistic. A comprehensive campaign could also require AdWords, PPC, Retargeting, Content Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, and Direct Email… I could keep going. Discovering all your channels and developing a sound marketing strategy is Part 1.
If you build it, they will come – but it’s money out the door unless (pop quiz) your visitors do what? CONVERT. What good is increased site traffic if none of those visitors are purchasing, subscribing, booking? Lead generation is the other half of the equation, and it’s just as important as traffic.
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to talk about your website concerns with a digital strategist. We’re experts for a reason; we eat, breath, and live this stuff. You have nothing to risk by starting a conversation.