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When to redesign your website

13 Feb 2006

This article is a repost originally written on April 14th, 2005

Unfortunately most websites have a tendency to become old, out dated, and very stagnant very quickly. This is a problem and could be costing the owners of these websites money. Of course the first question everyone thinks after they are told this is "How can my site be costing me money if it's old? At least it online." Well, that is true. The problem becomes noticeable when you start looking at the big picture.

First of all, websites cost money no matter what. Whether they are being updated regularly or not it still costs you money to have a website. The point of having a website is to utilize the medium in the most efficient way possible and use it to make money. I'm not talking about selling products online, even a well written weblog (blog) can be used effectively to increase profits but that is a subject for another article.

What you should be asking yourself is "Is my website out of date?" Most of you will probably think that your website is current and still in style. Most of you will be wrong. When is the last time you've made a significant change to your website? 1 month? 2 months? A year or longer? For comparison purposes, when was the last time you or one of your sales associates took a month long break? Did you continue to make money during that period? If you did, was it the same amount of profit you were making while everyone was working? Probably not.

Websites are like little, hard working sales associates, promoters or marketers that work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without complaining. You wouldn't neglect one of your human promoters for a month or longer would you? Then why would you treat your website that way?

What is a redesign?

Before we ask when we should redesign our website we need to first define what a redesign is. Redesigns are variable and can consist of simple changes or a complete overhaul to the entire site. Smaller changes include added a news section to keep visitors informed of what's happening with your business and keeping it up to date. They could also include minor changes to your navigation scheme or wording on certain pages.

Major redesigns consist of site wide graphic design changes or starting over from scratch to create a new website. Other larger redesigns could be the inclusion of a corporate blog or adding the ability to comment on the content of your website. The type of redesign I'm referring to lies somewhere in the middle.

When Should You Redesign

The life-cycle of a website goes something like this:

  1. Promotion
  2. Research and Analysis
  3. Updates

After your website has been live for a certain amount of time the effectiveness of your promotional efforts start to decrease. This, in essence, lowers the productivity of your website. The time period can be anywhere from 1 month to 6 months depending on the aggressiveness of the promotion and the size of your audience.

As soon as the productivity of your website starts to fall phase 2 should be implemented immediately. This is where you research how your website has performed during the promotion. What pages were people visiting the most? The least? What pages or content made the visitor buy your product or contact you? What pages seemed to make the most amount of visitors leave? All these questions and more should be carefully analyzed and answered.

Once you've answered the questions in phase 2 you can begin the update phase. Here you will implement all the improvements to your website to make it more effective. Building your website up so that there are more opportunities for visitors and potential clients to be turned into actual clients contributing to your bottom line. At the same time you will reduce the amount of visitors that will leave your website and possibly go to one of your competitors. And this is where the cycle starts over again with you promoting your updated website.

What Should You Do About Your Redesign

In essence the shorter the time period between phase 1 and phase 3 the better. It is more effective to continue the momentum of one promotional effort into the next. This constantly keeps your name on clients minds instead of the competition. By constantly keeping your name around your clients and potential clients your are creating a buzz that makes you irresistible to them.

When you're ready to redesign or update your website contact us tp see how we can help you.

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