Your website is your online home.
You're going to go through changes in your business or personal brand and you need to make sure that your online home keeps up with you. But do you need a new paint job (small tweaks) or an entirely new house (a major redesign)?
Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before you redesign your website.
1. Are you getting the results you want?
Imagine that you're living in a lovely home with a giant kitchen and lots of open space. Maybe it lacks a home office.
For some people, what they most need is a lot of kitchen space because they love cooking and entertaining in the kitchen. Maybe they don't work at home, so that lack of home office is no big deal. But if you work from home and don't enjoy cooking, this isn't going to be a good space for you.
Like an online home, you may have a specific purpose for your online home (your website). You may want people to visit your website, stick around long enough to get to know you, and buy your services. Or maybe you need a website that serves as a resume and gets you hired at your next job.
Does your website help you do that? Is it designed to help you with the things you need?
2. Does your website make sense for your current business goals?
Imagine you moved into an amazing 1-bedroom apartment. It's beautiful and has a great view. It's exactly what you want!
But maybe later on you decide to get a roommate. Or maybe you want to have children.
Does the 1-bedroom apartment still work for you and what you need? Probably not.
Similar to a real house, it's possible to outgrow your online home.
- Are your business goals the same as they were when you first created your website?
- Is your ideal target audience still the same?
- Has your business grown in a way that isn't reflected in your website?
It's very likely that your personal brand has grown over time and that your website just doesn't fit your business needs anymore.
3. Does your website work?
We've all seen houses that look like they haven't been maintained in a long time.
The paint is peeling. The yard is overgrown. The windows are broken.
Much like a real-life house, websites need maintenance. They need to be cared for or else they can fall into such a state of disrepair that it might be better to demolish it and start over.
- Is it difficult for you to update or change your website content?
- Are there missing images and broken links all over the place?
- Do all of your pages look the way they're supposed to?
- Is your website secure?
You may only need to make a few quick fixes here and there. But if your website hasn't had been updated and maintained in a while, you may want to invest in a redesign to get you started off on the right track again.
4. Is your site mobile-friendly?
Have you ever seen a welcome mat with "hello" on one side and "goodbye" on the other?
Generally you're supposed to place the welcome mat where visitors see the "hello" side, but maybe you want your visitors to turn right around and leave.
A mobile-friendly website puts a nice welcome mat out for everyone, no matter what device they use to view your content. With more and more people using mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is even more important than having a big, beautiful desktop version.
Do you want to roll out the welcome mat to everyone or do you want to lose out on potential sales? If your site isn't currently mobile-friendly, you may need a redesign.
5. Do you need to restructure your content?
There's a famous house called the Winchester Mystery House located in San Jose, California. It's a mansion known for its grand size and complete lack of building plan.
“...a window built into the floor, staircases leading to nowhere, a chimney that rises four floors, doors that open onto blank walls, and upside down posts!”
— Winchester Mystery House website
You do not want an online home that is completely disorganized, but it's easy to accidentally get there if you don't start off with a solid content strategy.
If your content is out of control or visitors are having trouble finding the content they're looking for, it may be time for a redesign.
6. Is your website slow?
If I don't stay on top of it, my house suffers from clutter overload.
It's just so easy to fill up all the space and before I know it I can't find what I'm looking for.
Your online home can also suffer from clutter overload. The more images and content you have on each page, the more that page weighs and the longer it takes for your visitors to see your content in the first place.
It's possible you can fix the issue by optimizing your images and making a few other tweaks, but sometimes a complete overhaul is needed.
7. Is your bounce rate high?
Imagine if someone visited your house, saw your living room, and high-tailed it out of there as fast as they could. You'd probably think something was wrong with your living room, right?
Your online home can suffer from the same issue.
If you're running analytics, check your bounce rate. Your bounce rate is generally considered to be the percentage of visitors who leave your website after only viewing one page.
If you have particular website pages that are scaring away visitors, you can optimize them. But if you have a lot of these pages across your website, it might be time for a redesign.
8. Is your site design outdated?
Are you dealing with shag carpet, an avocado green color palette, and brass fixtures everywhere?
Design preferences change over time, and we're always looking for the next big trend.
You can make your website design last longer by choosing simple, classic looks over the new trends. But there will always be a point in time where your design starts to look dated, especially compared to competitors' websites.
How long has it been since your website got a design update?
It's possible to give your website a nice refresh by changing your color palette or getting rid of some elements (sliders, hamburger menus on desktop sites, too many fonts). But it's also possible that you need a bigger fix than a few tweaks can help with.
Is it time for a new online home?
I've had a personal website since the early 2000s. This website looks nothing like the original, and I'll continue to redesign as my needs change.
After reading through the above checklist, you can decide for yourself if it's time for you to redesign your website. Take a long look at your current online home and make sure that your website is still right for your needs.