Deciding whether to improve an existing website or completely redesigning and relaunching is a big decision with a number of variables to consider.
Redesigning and relaunching a site can be huge undertaking both resource intensive and costly. However, in some cases its necessary if your current website doesn’t meet your business objectives or over time your business and objectives have evolved to the point where you have outgrown your site.
Some items to consider when evaluating your website include:
Have your business objectives changed?
o Examples: Are you focusing on new products? Have you shifted from acquisition tactics to more of a retention model? Are you focusing on e-commerce?
o If your business objectives have changed, your goals for the site may of changed with it. If you are currently focusing on lighter content and decide to fully integrate e-commerce, it may make more sense to completely re-develop your site to focus on your new objectives of product revenue.
Do you have a new content strategy?
o Examples: Are you incorporating a blog? Incorporating feedback/reviews? Integration of social media elements?
o Depending on your content strategy, significant adjustments to your layout may be required. For example, if you are incorporating blog content on your home page and your home page isn’t set up for that functionality, may be significant changes to design and development. Is it easy to add this in or does it require significant changes to structure and design on multiple pages?
Are there technical challenges you need to overcome?
o Examples: Accessibility requirements, responsive design, etc
o In some cases, you can do minor modifications to solve technical challenges, but depending on the scale and resources required, may be valuable to consider the framework of the site and if it needs to be reevaluated to best solve these challenges. If your site needs to be converted to a content management system to accommodate new changes or if you are trying to integrate CRM software in some cases this may be best suited for a complete site redo.
o Examples: Have challenges come up with the user experience? Are users unable to effectively navigate your site to find the information they need?
o Do some user testing and evaluate what is required to ensure your users are getting the best experience from your website. If it’s changing CTAs or adding links, these are minor issues that can be resolved through tweaks on your existing site. If users are having trouble getting through your planned path of conversion path, you may need to re-evaluate.
What are your competitors doing?
o Examples: Have your competitors updated their sites to new technology? Do you need to set yourself apart?
o As discussed in the blog Froont, instead of blindly following competitors or design trends, it makes sense to look deeper – what are the reasons for that redesign? What problem are they solving? Do you even have the same problem?
o Decide what will it take to be competitive with them and if it is necessary.
o From a financial standpoint, an important factor to think about is to compare the costs of improvement vs. redesign and how that looks long term. For example, if it costs you $5000 to fix existing issues with your site, however $8,000 to redesign/relaunch and address existing issues and future issues, it may be in your best interest to redo everything completely and start fresh.
While there is no simple equation or a “cheat sheet” that can provide you with direction on whether or not to put a Band-Aid on your site to fix site issues, or redo completely, it’s important to take a step and think about why this idea came up in the first place. Why are you thinking your site needs to change? Then before jumping into anything, take a look at your business goals and site goals, evaluate your site and consider the implications from a cost and resource information. Through a thorough analysis and alignment of goals you can make the best web decision for your business.