Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reasons Why Not to ReDesign Your Website and Reasons Why You Should

Most companies undergo a redesign every 6 months to 2 years. However, according to studies, pproximately 1/3 of marketers were not happy with their last website redesign. Even worse, 38% of companies' website performance did not improve after a redesign. So, why go through all the pain with so little gain?

With an average cost of $43,000 for a large company redesign, this should only be undertaken for the right reasons.

Here are 10 really bad reasons to redesign your website.

1) "It's Been 8 Months Since My Last Redesign. I'm Bored With It."

Just because you see your website a hundred times or more a day doesn't mean your visitors do. When you see your own website so often, it's easy to get sick and tired of seeing it. You start to notice little things, which turns into a lot of little things, which makes you believe that you need to get rid of it all and start over. While it's not a bad idea to have your designers and developers work on improving the visitor's experience or your site's performance, doing it for the sake of boredom will eat resources very quickly.

2) "Because the CEO Said So"

While the majority of the responsibility of a redesign is on the marketing team or agency, many companies have an executive team that has the final say.

Sadly, very few CEOs have a strong internet marketing background or in-depth knowledge of what really makes a website tick. Many times they look at it primarily from a branding point of view. This isn't all bad -- branding is an important part of any website. But so is actually generating revenue from it. After all, pretty pictures and brand statements don't always bring in the cash.

Be sure to test different designs, then present those to the  higher ups so only the best designs are implemented.

3) "My Website Lacks Flare"

There are times when web designers are asked to add fancy elements, such as sliders, rotating images, scrolling logos, etc. -- just because it looks better. Or, a redesign is requested because the current site isn't using the latest and greatest technology like HTML5.

Flashier isn't always better. Especially when it doesn't add any actual value to the visitor.  Media elements and complex graphics, as cool as they may seem, can actually get in the way.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen website redesigns get stuck because the homepage "slider" isn't sexy enough. Your visitors aren't coming to your website to see what's inside that slider, trust me.

4) "It's Not Pixel-Perfect"

It's important to care about quality. But I've seen many owners and marketing teams obsess over every square pixel of their site (or email, or banner ad, etc.). They think that by making it pixel-perfect, it's suddenly better.

Steve Jobs once said, "Great design is not how it looks, but how it works." Instead of obsessiong over whether the coded site is a pixel perfect match to a mockup designed for print, by someone not familiar with how a website really works, obsess over how your redesign is going to make your website effective at attracting traffic, converting leads, and closing customers.

5) "I Want It to Look Like Apple"

Ever see a great website that you just had to make your web designer copy? Getting inspiration is a great thing, but redesigning your site "just because it needs to look more like Company Y's"? Ummm ... not so much.

Just because a certain design worked for one company doesn't mean it will work for you. While it is a great idea to pull inspiration from other sources, especially as you do research before a redesign, implementing those same design factors because they are liked (without serving a real purpose) will only deliver failed results.

6) "The Competition Just Updated Theirs"

You probably visit your competitors' websites more often than you care to admit, right? Instead of caring about their website, go do something they are not doing. Let them redesign their website while you instead build resources of highly valuable content that attracts leads and fans. Do it ... I dare you.

7) "We Need to Improve Our SEO"

One of the top reasons for a redesign is to increase web traffic. Traffic is, after all, important to a site's performance because without visitors, you can't generate leads and sales. But redesigning a site primarily around search engine optimization is just silly.

Sure, if you launch a more search-optimized website, you may see a pop in rankings and results. But it won't last unless you build a regular content foundation. Search engines love websites that utilize blogging, fresh offers, and valuable content that is written for people and not robots.

8) "My Site Needs More Product Information"

Are the products on your website not selling themselves? Perhaps better product pages is all you need. Or maybe your website isn't highlighting your core strengths and unique advantages enough? I know! A redesign is the answer!

Very few marketers launch a redesign to improve its overall user experience. As a result, most websites tend to be product-centric instead of customer-centric. The goal of a website is to answer questions or solve problems by giving visitors the information they need for where they are in the buying cycle. You see, people don't remember the pitch. They remember the experience. Why not surprise them?

9) "I Want to Look 'Bigger'"

If you're a smaller company that competes against the "big guys," then the only solution is to look big, too. Right? Or maybe the opposite is true, maybe you want to "look smaller" to attract those niche buyers for what will be seen as your "boutique" products.

Looking bigger or smaller isn't suddenly going to make your website more effective. Looking professional is what is important.