This year we redesigned our website (we’re actually tweaking it all the time). The process was exciting and provided an opportunity to revisit our own brand and how we connect with our customers. Not going to lie, the process was time-consuming and labor-intensive.The redesign process revealed strengths and weaknesses in our process and focus, and helped us define clearly who we are as a design studio for the coming year and beyond.

Now that the first phase of the website is finished, we are excited about maximizing our site’s capabilities through future phases, content marketing, SEO, social media and email.

Is the writing is on the screen?

So how do you know when it’s time to redesign your website? (Or rather, how bad does it have to get before you do?). Well, if your website doesn’t provide an accurate reflection of your company’s services, work, milestones or personnel, then the writing may be on the wall – or screen.

Your website may be the most critical marketing vehicle your company has to tell its story. A thoughtfully designed website should relay the personality of your business, build credibility and a sense of goodwill with current and new customers.

Inventory your current website

Start by inventorying your current website. While a solo inventory session at a Starbucks on your laptop – and cell phone – will provide invaluable insights, you will also want to gather data from others invested in your company, including fellow stakeholders, employees, customers and vendors. Here are some things to look for:

Does my website represent my company accurately?

You can still remember how you poured your heart and soul into the current iteration of your website. The day you launched it was your pride and joy. The spitting image of your business beaming with energy and promise. Somewhere along the way, that resemblance may have faded. Perhaps your business strategy changed. New business took you into unforeseen territory. The words you used back then seem stale and dated. The images are not as compelling as they once seemed.

Business doesn’t stand still. Over time, you’ve had to overcome obstacles and capture opportunities. You’ve learned and grown along the way. Your website should reflect the current and future vision of your company.

Your website is slow and not mobile-friendly

While some statistics such as bounce rate and total time spent on a website are stronger on desktop, mobile engagement is too high to ignore. Traffic to websites overall via mobile devices outpaces desktop by a 3-to-2 margin. Based on user demographics, you may experience even more mobile interaction.

In addition, Google’s efforts to promote mobile-friendly traffic and reflect trends in user behavior apply a mobile-first standard to site indexing and determine rankings based on the state of your mobile website. If your website is responsive, then you may be ok (that is, if you like the way it works and are happy with your rankings).

Even with a responsive website, you may want to monitor and improve page load times, ensure that the experience features best practices for mobile design such as user-friendly display of all content and images for smaller screens.

You can’t make updates to your website

You should be constantly updating the content on your site. Whether it’s adding a new service offering or removing that embarrassing image of an old employee. Your homepage should be updated often to encourage repeat traffic.

In addition, an effective online marketing strategy should include ongoing content marketing as well as testing and refining your site’s content for improved SEO.

While you may be able to make updates, perhaps your site’s architecture doesn’t accommodate the type of new content you’re considering. Are some pages starting to seem digitally duct-taped?

Whether you’re locked out of your site, or can’t effectively update your site’s content, a successful site redesign will include an effective strategy for easing the update process.

There are too many technical issues

A website needs regular attention to address technical issues that inevitably arise from the fluid technical landscape. Security enhancements are just one example. WordPress websites should be on a regular program of maintenance and updates to stay current with updates. On average, plug-ins have a 6-month update cycle while many better quality plug-ins are updated on a monthly basis.

Other concerns to address as a site matures include broken links, slower page loading, compatibility issues and malware warnings.

Over time, if left unattended these issues can add up to a poor visitor experience which can translate to less sales and fewer business opportunities.

It’s just time for a change!

While there’s no benchmark for redesigning your website, many marketers feel that 2-3 years provides you with an ideal window that promises to keep your company current with industry changes, on par with your competition and maintain a positive awareness among potential customers.

Even if your services haven’t changed during that time, you should innovate how you market and communicate those services. How we connect with our customers is constantly evolving.

So what’s next?

A website make-over is a transformative process on many levels. Taking a deep dive into your company’s DNA can uncover hidden gems that will drive a successful redesign and reveal other strategic opportunities. When redesigning your site, put everything on the chopping block. “Repurposing” old content, structure and strategies is the best way to sell the process short.

A website redesign always implies a lot of work and a significant business expenditure. However, not making that investment can prove more costly.

Once you’ve assessed your current website, met with stakeholders and establish goals for your new website, meet with an experienced website design firm who will listen, provide critical insights, create a collaborative development process and ultimately deliver a customized solution to meet your online marketing needs.

Be prepared for an exciting process that will create renewed energy within your company and with your customers.

At Kramer Design, our creative and development processes provide a road map for a successful website redesign that will fulfill your brand requirements, address current needs and grow with your company.