So, you’re thinking about redesigning your website. Maybe your design is old and outdated. Maybe you’re not getting the sales or conversions you want. Maybe you’re just tired of the way your site looks and you’re ready for something new.
Fortunately, you had the forethought to read this article before you tackle the huge task of a website redesign.
Redesigning your website is a ton of work, so if you’re going to invest all of that time, money and effort, you want the end result to deliver results. You want a website that will make your potential customers or clients excited to work with you and give you money.
But to get that kind of website, you can’t just pick a theme or a design at random. You need to be thoughtful about how you put your site together, what elements you include on each page and the overall flow, feel and functionality of your design. Otherwise, who knows if your new design will perform better, worse or the same as your current design?
To take the guesswork out of redesigning your website, you need to first decide whether you actually need to redesign your site…or if you should split test your way into a new look. Sometimes, what your website really needs isn’t a complete overhaul—it just needs to be optimized.
So, before you tackle a full-on redesign, ask yourself the following 3 questions to determine whether your site needs an overhaul or an aggressive testing strategy.
1. What is My End Goal?
When it comes to anything in online marketing, it’s always best to start with the end goal in mind. Redesigning your website is no exception.
After all, if you don’t know what the goal of your redesign is, how do you know if it was successful?
In my experience, businesses redesign their websites for a lot of different reasons. There are valid reasons to revamp your site, but most of the time, it’s easier to achieve your goals through testing your site than by overhauling it. For example, let’s take a look at a few common reasons why businesses consider a redesign.
They Don’t Like Their Current Design
Many business owners decide to redesign their website because they want a prettier, more modern-looking site. Their current design feels ugly or outdated and they’re ready for something new.
The problem with this thinking, unfortunately, is that you are not your customer. You might see a certain style of website and think, “That looks so cool! I would totally convert on a site like that.” Your customers, however, may have a very different set of priorities, and your fancy new site may actually hurt your conversion rate.
They Want to Make More Money
Other times, businesses choose to change their site design because they want to make more money. They want more conversions or sales and believe that a website redesign will help them achieve those goals.
Don’t get me wrong, improving your conversion rate and making more sales is a great goal. However, the design of your website may not be what’s keeping you from achieving those goals. You may be sending the wrong traffic to your website, using the wrong marketing channels, or people may simply be visiting your site on the wrong type of device!
There are a lot of reasons why people don’t convert on your site, and not all of them are directly related to your website design. Often, by changing things in your marketing, you can improve your results without touching your design. Other times, a little website testing can fix specific issues that are keeping people from converting without requiring a full redesign.
They Want to Rebrand or Introduce a New Product Line
Sometimes, businesses completely re-invent themselves. They’ve grown to the point where their old brand doesn’t fit their new vision. They have a new core product line that appeals to a totally different audience. Or maybe they’ve got an image problem that they’re trying to fix.
If you’re trying to re-brand your business, redesigning your website can be an important part of that process. However, if you’re introducing a product line that appeals to a very different audience, redesigning your site around that audience may not be the best move. Instead, it may be better to create a new website that is dedicated to that product and the audience it appeals to.
Redesigning your website for any of these reasons may not be the wrong choice, but it may not be the best choice either. It all comes down to why you want to redesign your site, what goals you’re trying to achieve and how you can best achieve those goals.
2. What Have I Already Tried?
Once you know what your end goal is, it’s time to take a look at what you’ve already done to try and achieve your goal. Often, business owners and marketers assume that they need a website redesign when there is much lower-hanging fruit that they haven’t even touched yet.
For example, before you invest in a site redesign, consider asking yourself the following:
Have I tested any new site elements yet?
Sometimes a small element can fix a big problem. So, if you haven’t done any real testing on your site, how do you know that you need to completely overhaul your design?
Have I sent out additional emails to low performing groups?
Email marketing is a powerful, frequently under-used online marketing channel. If you haven’t been making the most of your email list, you may be missing out on a huge opportunity that will get you faster and better results than a redesign.
Have I tried changing up my paid ads strategy?
If you’re sending the wrong people to your website, it doesn’t really matter what your site looks like. The wrong audience simply won’t convert.
In addition, think about where you’re sending your traffic. Have you sent lower-converting users specifically to higher converting areas of the site? If not, you may have some golden, untapped opportunities waiting right in front of you!
More often than not, businesses jump the gun when it comes to redesigning their website. As humans, we tend to believe that we need big changes to get big results. However, most of the time, big results come from many small, strategic changes consistently implemented over time.
3. Is a Redesign Really Necessary?
If you’ve already addressed the low-hanging fruit in your marketing campaigns and you’re still not getting the results you want, it’s time to take a look at whether you need a redesign…or testing.
Many times, businesses charge into the redesign process without collecting any evidence to support the decision. Sure, a redesign might seem like a logical decision on paper, but without proper research and planning, it can be an exercise in futility.
To make sure that you’re making the right decisions the right ways, consider the following:
Are there glaring UX issues with your current website?
If your current website is difficult to navigate, use and makes it hard for potential customers to become actual customers, a website redesign may be in order. However, remember that you are not your customer. The fact that you don’t like your current design doesn’t mean you know what your customers want or need out of a future design.
So, before you invest in a redesign, conduct some polls and surveys. Ask your target audience about your current website. Find out what they like, what they dislike and what they would like to see changed. This is the best way to simultaneously discover what you need to change and whether or not your site actually needs an overhaul.
How will the redesign work?
If you’re going to redesign your website, you need to know in advance who will be in charge of what. You’re tackling a pretty huge task, so it pays to think things through in advance.
Consider the following:
- Do you have the designers and developers you need in-house, or will you need to outsource? If you’re going to outsource, who are you going to hire?
- Who will be in charge of the overall project and vision?
- How will the team in charge of the project ensure they are accomplishing the goal?
- How will success and progress be measured?
- What are your timelines?
- What will the feedback process be?
If you don’t have good answers to all of these questions, you aren’t ready to tackle a website redesign. You might be able to test smaller changes to your website, but redesigning your website is a huge task. And, if you aren’t prepared, the end result probably won’t be what you were hoping for.
What will the redesign cost?
A good website redesign costs thousands—if not tens-of-thousands or hundreds-of-thousands—of dollars. This is important, because if you’re going to invest that kind of money, you need to feel confident that you’re going to get a good return on investment (ROI).
If you’re just taking a stab in the dark, hoping that a redesign will solve all of your problems, you’re risking an awful lot of money on a complete unknown. There are much more cost-effective ways to accomplish your goals.
For example, with a good conversion rate optimization strategy, you test a variety of changes to your website. You figure out what works over time and use that knowledge to improve the performance of your site. It isn’t as grand or exciting as a total redesign, but it’s usually a more cost-effective way to get the results you’re looking for.
Once you’ve thought through and answered these 3 questions, you should have a pretty good feel for whether or not a website redesign is right for you.
When it’s the right decision, redesigning your website can have a huge positive impact on your business. But, if it isn’t the right decision, a site redesign can be a huge waste of time and resource.
If you’ve read through this article and decided that a redesign isn’t right for your business, don’t worry. There are other ways to attack your goals. Custom landing pages, user surveys, demographic research and split testing are a great place to start.
And, lucky for you, you don’t have to tackle all of that on your own. We can help! Just let us know here or in the comments and we’d be happy to help you get the results you need out of your website.
What do you think about redesigning websites? Do you agree with my take? What’s your experience been like? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
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