05 Jun Website Redesign, Always Be Doing It — A True Story
Often, the last time an organization did a website redesign, it was three to five years ago. In that time they’ve made little or no changes to it. Because technology changes really fast, now that three-to-five-year-old website looks sad and tired. Everyone hates it.
So, the people in charge decide to do a website redesign.
They secure a smallish budget for it. Then they send out an RFP, hoping to get a lot of options and to discover their ideal website developer. Now they must read the 38 or so twenty-page proposals that they receive. As a result, they spend way, way more time reading proposals than the two weeks they promised in the RFP. Now they are tired, and pretty much hate everything to do with their new website, which doesn’t even exist yet.
They throw out the ridiculous proposals from people and firms that clearly have no idea what they’re doing. Then they throw out the ones from the serious firms that are leading experts in their field, but want to charge what sounds like an insane amount of money. Next, they filter through the remaining options looking for examples of work they like, pricing they can live with, and people it seems they can trust.
The group picks two or three firms they like the best and ask them to deliver a presentation. People ask and answer questions.. The presenters smile a lot and show off killer slide decks. The organization picks one. The two teams sign a contract and to celebrate, the selected firm opens a bottle of champagne. Or maybe a $12 Sauvignon Blanc and some hummus since the budget is “smallish”.
You spent time and money to create a new, modern website.
The site is clean and fresh. It’s functional and responsive. And, it’s even accessible … mostly. One day … it’s launched! Website redesign success! Hoo-rah!
The organization announces the launch. People visit the site. Because it’s so much better now, people take the desired actions. Management is pleased. They start tracking ROI. And at first, everyone agrees that the website is a success.
Three to five years later they’ve made little to no changes to the website.
So it looks sad and tired and everyone hates it. Now go back to paragraph two of this article and read from there. It’s annoying, right? It’s totally inefficient. That amazing website you launched three to five years ago is once again a tired, sad, old piece of junk badly in need of some TLC.
Most of the time, your website is not up to modern standards.
Most of the time in that three-to-five year period, the website does not look current or fresh. It’s not performing as well as it should. This model of website maintenance is like owning a car. The second you drive it off the lot, it starts losing value.
When you do a website redesign but then make little or no technical, design, or content changes for the next three to five years, your site is bad. With the speed at which technology is changing now, even waiting a year can lead to some really poor results. What if Google changes its search algorithm? Or how about that time when Google decided whether or not you have https decided your search engine rank?
Here’s how to change all of that.
Once you do your next major website redesign, vow to never do it again. Instead, every single month, monitor changing technology. Update your site. Make small changes often. Learn from user feedback and constantly adapt the site to that feedback. Track key metrics tied to important strategic goals. Learn, again, from user behavior and adapt design, copy, features as needed. Do this ongoing. Do it for the lifetime of your website.
Websites can no longer be treated like print projects. It’s no longer ok to launch a site and forget about it for years at a time. Therefore, doing so is literally a waste of time and money. Your site begins to deteriorate the first month you don’t run some tests and make some updates.
Make the pivot. Commit to treating your website as the living thing it is. Give it the nurturing it needs — like a garden you want to grow. Your site will never be sad and tired and hated. It will continually be technically current, follow modern design trends, and be capable of delivering real, measurable value on goals you care about.