When we talk with our clients about the age of their sites, a lot of them ask us how often they should consider a website redesign. And, while the answer can vary slightly, a fairly established rule of thumb states that a site should be rebuilt every two to three years. Unfortunately, there are a lot of predatory companies out there who will tell you that you need a new website far sooner.
Sure, if you want to be on the cutting edge, you may consider tweaks every six months or a redesign every year. Or, perhaps you’re interested in integrating a new piece of software into your site and it requires an overhaul. It’s never too soon to redesign your site. But, if we’re talking about actual need, you’ll be fine reviewing it every two to three years. In that time, new technologies are developed, new design trends gain popularity, and the Internet shifts gears to accommodate new standards.
If your site isn’t utilizing the latest developments, you risk losing ground to your competitors. You may struggle to get your site ranked on search engines. Your site could have trouble converting visitors into customers. And, worst of all, you might give prospects the impression that your company is dated, behind the times, or out of business. So, are you still wondering if a website redesign is necessary? To settle the issue, let’s take a look at the standard life of a commercial website.
At six months you don’t need a website redesign
At the six-month mark, your website is still up to date. If your design team isn’t actively checking the site, you may want to ensure that it’s using the latest version of the content management system (CMS) that was used to build it. Whether it’s built with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or another CMS, these platforms roll out security updates fairly frequently, so it pays to stay vigilant. If you’re using third-party widgets, such as ecommerce stores, event managers, or advanced contact forms, you’ll want to check to see if they require any updates, as well.
You may, at this time, want to review how your website is working. While you don’t need a completely new site, you might consider tweaking or adjusting your website’s design to better serve your company. This doesn’t need to be a deep dive. Instead, focus on what you think could be working better. If you’re not getting contacts, rework your contact forms. If you’re not making enough sales, retool your checkout process. Small, simple changes like this can help you refine your site and optimize your online sales process.
At one year you should consider expanding
After a year, you should have a pretty good idea of how your website’s working. Furthermore, you should have made a lot of small adjustments to improve its ability to generate leads. And, now that it’s a well-oiled machine, you should look at implementing new software to complement – and amplify – this ability.
The one-year mark is a great time to investigate the benefits of third-party software and services. If you have a massive client list, you could market to them with email campaigns that drive traffic to your site. You could use marketing automation to better engage your customers. Or, if you’re hoping to take ground from your competitors, you could create a long-term SEO strategy. And, if no internal changes are needed, there’s always pay-per-click ads, local listings management, and Google review generation. These additions, while not tied to your site directly, can push more people to it. And, if your site is working properly, they can help you generate more leads, more conversions, and more sales.
At two years you should think about a redesign
At the two-year mark – and especially the three-year mark – you’ll want to get started on your website redesign. On the Internet, two years is a lifetime. Beyond your site’s aesthetic, at two years, the core technologies that your site is built upon are outdated. Without updated software, your site is vulnerable to malware and cyber attacks. And, even if you’ve stayed current with all the latest security measures, your site is still falling behind.
As time passes, the Internet refines itself. It incorporates newer, better technologies that allow it to reach larger, more diverse audiences. CSS changed how website designs were rendered. Mobile responsive design altered how we experience websites. ADA compliance has ensured that websites are accessible to everyone. These changes, and countless others, aren’t the first or the last. Websites need to adapt alongside every major change that the Internet undergoes. And, if your last redesign was more than three years ago, you’re already several major changes behind.
At five years a website redesign is critical
When your site reaches the five-year mark, it’s definitely showing its age. You’ve probably noticed that your competitors’ sites look more modern than yours. And, sadly, your customers have noticed, as well. At this stage, your site simply isn’t capable of performing the job it was built to do. It can’t compete. It’s not leveraging modern technologies. It’s not creating a positive customer experience. Worst of all, it’s giving visitors the impression that your company is lagging behind… or out of business entirely.
In five years, the basic building blocks of the Internet change. There are new video formats, new image formats, and new theming systems. When visitors land on a site that’s more than five years old, it’s immediately visible. The images are grainy. The content doesn’t span the width of the screen. Major features of the website may be broken or improperly rendered. If your website is showing its age, you should take action quickly. In most cases, a website redesign is a fast, hassle-free, and affordable experience that helps to secure – and maintain – your company’s online stature.
At ten years your website is a liability
If you’re still reading, we’re in dangerous territory. At ten years, your website isn’t just a poor reflection of your company, it’s an active hindrance. When people land on your site, they form an immediate opinion of your company. It doesn’t matter if your physical building is a marvel. It doesn’t matter if you offer the lowest prices. It doesn’t matter if your products are the best available. Your website – a representative of your business – is telling prospects that you’re not a forward thinking company. By being outdated, it’s implying that everything you offer is outdated, as well.
At this point, you need to work a website redesign into your budget. While unanticipated expenses can be daunting, the need to redesign your website probably isn’t a surprise. And, in reality, it doesn’t need to be a massive expenditure. With a range of no-money-down redesign packages available, Creative Marketing Group is your go-to source for an affordable, effective website.
Ready to rework and improve your website?
At Creative Marketing Group, we understand that a lot of businesses view their websites as an optional marketing tool. In actuality, your website is an ongoing project. Requiring care and attention, your site can be an amazing sales tool when it’s properly tuned to your audience. If you’re uncertain about how to do that, though, let us help you! Reach out to us today to discuss your site’s age and – more importantly – learn how we can build you a new site that generates sales for years to come.