The constant advancement of technology is an undeniable factor in today’s world. New trends and workflows are introduced nearly every day, if not every other day. If you don’t believe that then try to remember the last time you were prompted to update some new Apple software or any other program you might have running on your desktop or mobile devices. These changes are seemingly endless and it is the same when it comes to designing.
Why Should You Redesign
Every year the design community is presented with a new trend or some form of tool that is supposed to make their life easier and more exciting as far as design is concerned. While these advancements can be annoying at times especially after just getting the hang of the last trend, it can be a good thing. New additions to the design community can often point a finger at our current designs, making us realize that perhaps it is time for a change. Your design might not just need a change but a complete overhaul. Of course this isn’t something that people look forward to, especially if they have dedicated a fairly large amount of time to their project in the first place.
So why would you want to change your website design? Well other than the aforementioned updates and new trends that come out of the woodwork there is also the possibility that you have decided to take your website in a different direction. Whether for business or personal reasons, your site’s purpose has changed and needs to now showcase that fact. There is the possibility that you have just gotten tired of looking at the same design.
There are many other factors that can dictate how much you change or whether it needs a change or not. An unappealing design, bad content and an introduction of a new service or overall direction are all reasons that you need to redesign your site. If you think you may have problems in any three of these areas then continue reading.
A lot of times you find out that your site needs a redesign all because of it’s current appearance. Websites with outdated looks tend to run off site visitors which is a huge problem. If you can’t get your site visitors to stay, how do you expect to convert them into paying customers? Your visitors have to actually spend some time on your site in order to learn about you, your service or product but a bad design can make that hard. There are several factors that can make a bad website design, including wrong choice of color either because it’s harsh and clashes with the surrounding elements, the color produces the wrong message or something different altogether, the layout of the website does not lead the eye and is cluttered and there are pixelated graphics present. Remember that your website can say a lot about you and an outdated design could very well make a potential client think that your own practices are out of date.
There are ways around this however, the first is to evaluate your actual site’s design. When you do this you need to give everything a thorough once over to spot potential problems. Next go back through once more but this time comprise a list of these issues and then follow that up with feedback from friends, family and even your website’s visitors. To combat color issues you should turn to color palette generators to better apply your color. There are tons of apps and online generators like Color Scheme Designer that will help you make better color choices. For your text use Readable to determine your site’s readability and Typetester to choose better fonts. Also try shaking things up with textured, blurred or patterned backgrounds. In regards to your graphics go for high quality iconography and photography.
When was the last time you actually redesigned your website? Better yet when did it look like it’s had a redesign? If it’s been over 4 years and your site looks like it was conceived back in 2007 where design trends were different and there were fewer design tools available, then it is safe to say you need a redesign. Not keeping your website up-to-date can give way to your site having what is considered “bad content”. What is content? Content is the visuals (images/graphics), text and any possible audio. Note that a good design doesn’t mean your content falls under the same category. There have been many times where I have visited a site with a great design only to find it riddled with bad content simply because the information was out of date. Even worse I have been to several websites without any content at all and they weren’t even “under construction”.
Areas that are generally filled with bad content tend to be the Home Page, About Me and Contact areas. These are generally the first areas where you should check your content when you are undergoing a redesign. Any downloadable content needs to be also looked over as once these items are downloaded by the user there is no way to correct any possible errors. Images can also constitute bad content and not just for an unappealing design either. Customers like to see what they are buying, not guess due to pixelated imagery. Bad content could also mean that your site is not functioning properly. You need to also be on the lookout for non-working pages that either show up with the wrong layout or not at all giving way to 404 errors. If your site is running on scripts or uses plugins make sure that those are in good working order as well and are not crashing. Any changes your business has or even changes in your personal life that you wish to share need to be reflected in your site’s content so make sure you apply these updates.
It doesn’t matter whether you are using your site for business purposes or for personal use, changes occur. For personal website users who may use their site as just a blog they generally want to update their following with what is happening in their life. Oftentimes these people get an epiphany and decide to change their site’s purpose e.g. from hair and health to strictly beauty. Businesses tend to see themselves either branching off from their initial concept or expanding by bringing in new products and services. If you don’t reflect these changes on your website no one will know about them which can prevent you from attracting a new audience of both followers and clients.
When you change your brand people should know about that change. Your website should also be a reflection of your business’s objectives and ideologies to help people get to know who you are. Here only small changes are needed such as the transfer from the old logo to the new, new products and services should be introduced in a manner that the visitor will know what is going on but in general these changes should reflect your site’s transition. Creating a checklist in such a case could be helpful, or even better, a survey to gauge audience reaction to whether they truly understand the purpose of your website.
A big glaring red flag that you truly do need a redesign is when your website starts taking a hit. I am talking about a loss in visitors which results to your site being virtually inactive. A bad design coupled with bad content tends to be the culprit in most cases. This isn’t always the reason for a loss of visitors however. Even nicely designed sites can face this problem due to bad SEO practices, mismanagement, poor marketing or even a bad hosting service. Your site’s visitors might also just be bored with your website. Remember you need to make your site welcoming and enticing to keep the visitors around. Businesses that rely on online conversion must also make sure they are providing a good service or product to get repeat customers and references.
Ways to combat the loss of visitors is to check on your SEO. If you’re not sure about that particular area there are tools you can use like WordStream and SEOBook. Other than that you need to analyze your metric data which will give you the number of visitors to your site. You may find out that you are receiving traffic to your site but they aren’t staying which means you have a high bounce rate. Once more this is a great time to survey your visitors to get an idea of what you can do to better your site to make them stay. You might find that the issue isn’t as critical as you might initially think when it comes to the needed change.