This is a really good question. And to risk sounding evasive, I’d have to say: it depends on your business. I think a general good rule of thumb is at least once a year, but with some businesses this could be more or this could be less.
Here are the questions I ask myself, to see if it’s time to redesign my website:
- Has my business changed so much that the changes are not currently reflected on the current website? Do I now offer more services, designs, options, etc. that aren’t easily found on the current site?
- Is my website technologically current? Does it seem to offer the same options as other sites in my industry? For example, comments on blog posts (I know that seems rudimentary, but don’t forget we didn’t turn comments “on” on my blog until just last November), social media widgets, integrated Twitter feeds, etc. Also, technology on the Internet moves so quickly. It’s not unusual to have a technologically cutting edge site feel obsolete in 8 months.
- Does my website’s look match with the branding we have offline? We’re quick to change our letterheads and business cards to reflect a new stage of our business, but sometimes we forget to update our websites.
- Am I bored with my website? Yes, I have to admit, sometimes it’s about wanting a change and moving past an old design into something better. This isn’t just about my ADD, though, it’s also about my audience. If I’M bored, then my audience must be too, correct?
Sometimes change is hard, and sometimes folks don’t react well to change, so I think it’s important to have a game plan before you begin a redesign.
Think seriously about the following:
- What is my goal for my website? Is it to drive more people to your retail store or to sell more flowers, or what? Once you have that question answered, you’ll have a very specific path to follow.
- Who is my audience for my website? Or maybe, who do I want my audience to be? I know that some of us just started websites because we knew we should have one, but if we think about who we’re trying to reach, and how to do that, we’ll actually be more likely to reach that person. (Novel idea, huh?)
- Why do people come to my website? Of course, this is tied into the “Who” and the “What” but once you figure out the “Why,” you’ll be able to start prioritizing your content.
Mostly, I wanted to write about this because it’s been on my mind, and because we’re currently in the middle of a major re-design of my website! I mentioned this very briefly in a post about three months ago and in fact, we’ve been working this project for longer than that, so I’m happy I finally get the chance to let the proverbial cat out of the bag and tell you that change is coming soon.
How soon? Within the next two weeks or so! I don’t want to give you an exact date, because surprises are so much fun, but if you signed up for my newsletter, you’ll be getting a sneak peek of the new design.
For now, please tell me: How often do you re-design your website? What do you think is the best criteria for knowing when you need a change?