How good is your existing website?
The first thing we want to know when we’re considering redesigning our website is simply how good it already is. Fortunately we’ve written a whole article explaining how to evaluation how good your own site is:
If your website is critical to the success of your business, then it needs to get a high score; you might decide that it needs to get at least 80%. If your website isn’t that important to your business, however, you might say it only needs to get a score of above 50% to be good enough. If you’re not sure how to score it yourself (with our article and the free scoresheet), then you could contact us to help you assess it.
If your website gets a high enough score, and you consider it good enough, then you don’t need to get it redesigned. Instead, there are several other things you should prioritise.
For instance, if you would like to add a new section to your site, or a new feature, then consider if it can be added to your existing site. This will depend on what software it was built with, and how well it was developed in the first place.
New features or sections you could add include a gallery of past work (a portfolio), an events list or calendar, a blog, landing pages, and so on. If you want to add ecommerce (to sell products online), this is often much tricker, and may mean that you need to redesign the website.
How easily can your website be improved?
For any website to stay current and valuable to your customers, your team needs to be able to log in and easily add, edit, and remove content. That content could be the text on pages, product info, pictures, videos, etc. If, for example, your website was for a BnB, and you had a webpage for each room, it should be as easy to edit as logging in > going to the Rooms admin page > Clicking an edit button next to a room, filling in the form, and clicking save. If it’s not that easy, then it’s not easy enough; then your team won’t be happy to regularly update the content.
If that is the case, you should get the website rebuilt, or you should get a website developer to make it easier for your team to use. This particularly applies to content management systems like WordPress and Drupal.
The other critical factor for the health of our websites - the factor we don’t think about until it’s sometimes too late - is how easy it is to work with your web designer / developer. They should be easy to get hold of, and they provide a quote for the cost of work you’d like done, and they should make it clear when they’re going to be able to do the work. If your web developer isn’t these things, it might be best to find a new one.
Is your website getting enough visitors?
If you aren't getting enough of your potential clients visiting your website, then it doesn’t matter how good it is; it won’t generate enough sales. Think of your website like a shop / store that’s down sideroad with very little traffic going past. No matter how incredible the store is, if nobody knows it’s there and how good it is, it won’t have customers visiting. If that’s the case for your website, you need to focus on that first.
Fortunately it’s pretty easy to determine how many visitors your site is getting using free tools like Google Analytics. And how many do you need? Well consider what percentage of site visitors end up buying from you (called its conversion rate); this might be 5% (1 in 20) for example. If you need 100 sales per month, then your site would need to have 100 * 20 = 2000 visitors per month.
If your website isn’t getting enough visitors, you either need to purchase advertising to tell them about the site, or you attract them using great content. For advertising, there are many ways, but two common ways are pay-per-click ads with Google, and social media ads on platforms like Facebook. But the downside of ads is that the traffic stops the minute you stop paying for them.
The other option is to create really great content on your site that people want to read or watch - like our blog posts, if we may be so bold, or videos. Search engines like Google are really smart these days, and they’ll take notice when you start putting great content to your site, and reward your site by sending visitors to it from the search results pages. This strategy won’t directly cost you like ads, but will take a lot longer; it’ll often take several months before you see results, and will last forever after that.
How much will it cost?
How much a website redesign costs will vary hugely depending on how much of a redesign you want to do. Or in other words, how much of the design and content you want to keep from your current site. The more you keep, the easier and faster it will be to redesign, but the less of an improvement it may be.
Fortunately, we’ve written an entire article on the cost of websites:
When is the right time?
This is always a question on our minds when it comes to a website isn’t it; should we do it now or wait until next month or next year? If we’re truly honest with ourselves, will there actually be a better time? The answer might be yes; perhaps you can put the cost of the redesign into next year’s budget. Or perhaps you’re hiring a tech-savvy person who can take this on as their first big job.
But most of the time, we don’t have factors like this to consider. Whenever someone asks us if it’s the right time for them, after discussing it a bit, we usually come to the conclusion that there really won’t be any better time than right now.
More importantly though, consider the “cost” of inaction. This means we should think about what a great website can do for our business, and how much we’re going to be missing out over the next few months while we wait for the new site. How many sales are you willing to lose because of a poor website before it’s time to get it redesigned?
Can you do it yourself?
The final questions that we always ask are, “Can we just do it ourselves?”, and “If so, should we?” The answer to the first question is almost probably yes. Most website software these days is surprisingly easy to use, and doesn't require someone to know how to code to build a site with them. Perhaps you have someone on your team that’s very tech savvy, and has some time they could spend making a website.
There are two main reasons why this is probably a bad idea though:
- Unless you’re a website designer, you don’t know what it should look like when it’s done, so you won’t know how to design it.
- It’s going to take a really long time to learn how to use these tools (several weeks or a few months), and that’s time you and your team should spend doing what you’re already good at that makes you money.
We hope you now have a really solid idea of whether your website needs a redesign, or if you should focus on something else instead for now. If this article helped you, please let us know! And good luck!