As a designer, I love revitalizing outdated and ineffective websites, applications, and brands, but it isn’t necessary to do this every time a new design trend becomes popular. A well-designed site should last several years and the decision to redesign should be driven by the impact it will have on your business.
At LaunchPad Lab, we’ve seen several our clients’ businesses improve, not only in terms of site traffic, but also where it matters the most—their conversion rates (aka money, money, money). Don’t take my word for it, check out these stats:
- Francis Lofts & Bunks have seen sales increase by 50%, goal conversions went up 94%, and overall site traffic increased by 54%. It’s worth noting that 56% of their site traffic is mobile, they previously did not have a mobile-friendly site so making it responsive has helped contribute to their current success.
- Catharsis Productions’ site traffic grew on average 57% per month.
- Dispute Bills raised 400K in funding after their redesign.
So when is it time to do a redesign?
Take a couple minutes and think about your business, brand, logo, website, and/or application. Now ask yourself a these questions:
How’s your business doing?
How have your sales been? Are they dropping or have they plateaued? List out potential causes for your sales woes or successes. Check your analytics, see if users are even visiting your website or what are areas in your application that you see high drop-off rates.
How’s your competition doing?
How are they doing from both a business and visual standpoint. What does their online presence look like? Do you find yourself wishing your website was as good as theirs? I have a secret to tell you, you can have a site that’s better than all your competitors.
Are you proud to show others your website or application?
If you’ve ever found yourself apologizing for how your site and app looks or functions, this is a pretty big red flag that screams it’s time for a redesign. People judge books by their covers, so why would your website be any different? It’s out there for all to see. You should have an enormous sense of pride for the company you own or work for—showing it to others should be a positive experience, not one that makes your stomach churn.
What do other people think of the design?
Are you sending the right message? Does the design reflect the identity you wish to portray? A simple way to test this is to survey a handful of people about what they think about your design. One of our clients initially wanted to keep their logo, their CEO was attached to the design, but we learned some of his staff desperately wanted to see it gone. They did a small anonymous survey of 28 people where they were trying to figure out if they really needed to have their logo redesigned. The results were pretty compelling:
- 88% said the logo was not inviting
- 100% said the logo was not warm or welcoming
- ~90% also said the logo was not funny, refreshing, or inspiring
These were not the results their CEO was hoping for, but made it much easier for him to let go of the old logo and become open to reestablishing their brand to better communicate their company’s ideals. These surveys are not only helpful for logos, but also for websites and applications.
Is it user friendly?
Are people confused when they try to use your website or application? Not sure? You can look at where drop-off rates occur in your analytics in addition to performing user interviews. When you hear the word redesign, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to start over completely, sometimes there are certain areas within a website or application that can benefit from a redesign.
A common problem area that we see in a lot of large website redesigns is the navigation. Clients come to us and explain how their users are having a difficult time finding certain content or that their most popular content is a few layers deep within the site. As sites grow, it’s fairly common for the navigation to get a little out of hand when clients are using a content management systems (CMS) and have free reign over their navigation. Typically the page count continues to grow, and pages are rarely removed. This leads to huge, cumbersome, complicated navigations. To fix this we usually try to condense navigations leaving the most popular and important pages and making sure pages are falling within the right categories.
Is it responsive?
If it’s not mobile, tablet, and desktop friendly you’re depriving your users of a good experience and likely are driving potential customers away in the process. With the rise of mobile and tablet use over the years, (nearing 56% of all website traffic) it’s becoming almost essential to have a responsive site. If you have Google Analytics or another analytics plugin on your site, you can see the device breakdown of your users—this can be a very eye opening experience. If you care about your SEO ranking on Google (which you should), their algorithm ranks the mobile friendly sites higher than yours.
What’s your page speed like?
Our attention span and patience on the web is fairly short these days. Research shows about 40% of users will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. If you’ve noticed that your website takes a while to load, here are a few potential culprits: large/unoptimized images and videos, no caching enabled, old technology, or simply just poorly written code. To make matters worse, Google’s SEO algorithm also factors in page speed when determining how to rank your site, which will leave your slow site on page 8 of Google searches.
Do you have quality content?
Are people interested in what’s on your website? Is your content putting people to sleep or does it scare them away, resulting in a high bounce rate? Your copy should be appropriate for your target audience—so if you’re using a lot of technical jargon make sure it’s appropriate for the people you are trying to market to. More often than not, keeping a friendly tone and making copy concise is the way to go. Hierarchy also plays a huge role here, so make sure that the most important pieces of content stand out and aren’t hidden somewhere within the site.
Images are equally important. If the images are not visually interesting or high quality, then you’re doing yourself a pretty big disservice. Remember how I said we have a short attention span these days? Well, how would you feel if a user was skimming your site and primarily looking at the images? It happens more often than you think. Like I said before, people will judge a book by its cover. So if these images are just filler stock photos that don’t reflect your brand very well, it’s not doing you any favors keeping them. Get some quality stock photos or better yet hire a photographer. Having engaging photos on your site is a great way to level up the overall appearance of your brand.
Do you regularly post new content?
Keep it fresh. Regularly adding new content to retain users is key (blog posts, social media activity, news items, events, etc.). Give the people what they want! If you don’t know what they want, ask them. Create a short survey to gain an understanding of the types of content people are the most interested in, thus eliminating the guessing game. Added bonus: Google’s SEO algorithm rewards you with a higher page rank for regularly adding new quality content.
So how’d it go?
Now that you’ve had a chance to think about the questions above, you probably have a pretty good sense on whether or not it makes sense for a redesign. If you’re still not sure, get a second opinion. But if you know it’s time for a redesign, don’t keep putting it off—it’s worth the investment!
At LaunchPad Lab, we’d be more than happy to give you that second opinion—or if you know it’s time for a redesign, just shoot us a message and we’ll give you a free estimate!