Should I redesign my website?
One of the most painful elements in the decision to update or redo/redesign a website is the emotional rationalization that happens around sunk costs. Economists stress to business decision-makers that past costs—those that have already been incurred and which can’t be recovered, aka sunk costs—should not be allowed to influence current decisions.
Micro-economics aside, in the real-world, sunk costs do frequently influence managers’ decisions because people often fall prey to loss aversion and framing effects.
So, if you can put aside the often disappointing outcomes of past website design time and money expenditures, you may be freed to explore investing a more effective web presence.
Keeping Afloat: Diagnosing if You’re Ready to Redesign Your Website
Some common reasons that you may want to consider a website redesign include:
- Your site was designed by a team focused primarily on aesthetics without regard to lead-generation or commerce. This results in site that’s superficially attractive but fails to connect with visitors in an engaging way that moves them closer to becoming a customer.
- Your site was prepared by a company unfamiliar with your business strategy, sales cycle, customer needs and content preferences. If you’re not actively producing the conversions you intended, your web designer may not have done the due diligence to uncover what will resonate with visitors and have them take the desired next step. The next step might be to sign up for a newsletter or whitepaper, make an online purchase, or call you for more information or a demo for example. Though a responsive company can quickly create beautiful websites that are attractive on the surface, you should insist on a well-thought out strategy to ensure results. Our designers believe, like the best architects, that form follows function, as you’ll see explained by Angela in Why Design Comes Last.
- Site was designed by a bare-bones website creator such as those offered by some hosting services. This can work for the short-term. Unfortunately ready-made templates can lock businesses into just making do with a site that lacks effective lead generation tools. Sites that are designed with a focus on the business owner’s unique services or products and ways of connecting with customers are what you need for results. Plus, many of these off-the-shelf site templates include a default advertising logo and link in the footer, which can detract from the professionalism of the website. Websites generated with this approach are often also recognizable by generic graphics that are trite or overused. Or worse, a well-meaning user trying to customize the template may end up adding graphics sourced from the web with disregard for copyright laws, creating a potential legal nightmare. For more on this topic, check out what intellectual property, technology and business lawyer Timothy McCormack says on the subject.
Sometimes it’s time to abandon a sinking ship, or just give it some much needed buoyancy. If your website isn’t propelling you forward, take a look at our small business website packages. Focus on what a failing website is costing you every day rather than labor over what you spent on your website in the past.
2 Responses to Should I redesign my website?
April 8, 2013 at 9:46 am
Igor, thanks for your comments and interesting notes on eye scanning. Looking at the heat maps of actual users’ visual activity on the web is a great tip for how to arrange elements on a page.
It points out that we should question everything. Is this color really right? Are all the navigational elements one’s assumed should be there truly necessary and adding value? What’s missing from the user’s viewpoint that could be really helpful, and is it hard to find?
You’re right that design updates can’t easily be done overnight. Websites are organic things, too, so it’s worth scheduling regular checks to comb through the site structure and content to make sure it’s all still relevant and presents an organization as being up to date.
Appreciate the feedback!
April 8, 2013 at 6:36 am
Well hello Ann
All to often we get so attached to the site that we have tweaked and polished that its not until we take a cold step backwards and compare our efforts to the competition that we realize just how stagnant we have become.
I am currently going through many of my sites and reworking them iaw what I have learned about eye scanning patterns, ie there is little point in having a left hand sidebar, as its not a natural place for people to look.
Of course you cannot complete the rework in one day yourself, so you have to either outsource the whole thing as you mention or plan it out in a logical sequence and keep the passion that got you into this mess in check.