How often should you make changes to your website?
Should you only do a complete one-time redesign every few years or make small continuous changes?
If you want your website to be a high performance website, a once-in-5-years or once-in-3-years comprehensive redesign may not be the solution. A high performance website needs constant attention and improvements on a regular basis.
The reasons for poor performance of a website could be one or more of the following:
- Incomplete, badly presented content/ images
- Confused messaging about the company’s strengths
- Poor design elements confusing customers
- Bad navigation labels making it difficult to find information
- Inadequate traffic to the website
- Irrelevant traffic to the website
- Technical problems
- Low conversion in some pages
It’s time to analyse your website stats and understand if many of these can be corrected by small design changes, or content improvements, search engine optimization, and so on. Based on the findings one can take a call on the scale of changes required.
According the Neilson Norman Group research, internal team members often want complete redesign because of high exposure, and resulting boredom. However, this is not a reason for complete redesign. We must remember, the users’ exposure is much less and they are not bored, but perhaps just want better features/content/usability. Source
The typical downsides to a complete redesign are:
- Parts of the website that are working also get altered for no reason.
- A website may lose its SEO ranking by making sweeping changes.
- Users are disconcerted by changes (especially changes in features that they were used to and comfortable with)
- The cost and time of a complete revamp is higher than making small changes for isolated and small issues.
A complete redesign is recommended when technological changes are too great or when marketing or performance objectives cannot be met with small changes.
The graph below shows the efforts and investments required in complete vs progressive redesign. A progressive approach keeps your website current on a daily basis is more cost effective over a period of 10 years.
Waiting for 3-4 years to do a complete redesign allows competition to get ahead. Progressive changes are what we recommend and that you update your website based on Analytics data. Though it requires continuous effort, it also gets best results.
A complete redesign is certainly required from time to time; when it is not possible to achieve objectives in the existing framework or when there is a significant technology change.