How often should you re-design your website? (Or at the very least, revisit the content?)
We tell our clients it should be done every two years.
And not for self-serving reasons either. It’s because, in this day and age, a LOT can change in two years. Our businesses, along with our personal and professional goals are constantly evolving which means it’s easy for a gap to open up between:
- Who your website says you are … and who you are today
- What your website says you do … and what you actually do today
All of which to say, it had been three years since our last website re-design and we were well overdue. Here are the three things we learned from the process:
1. Redesigning your website is like therapy
Why? Because it forces you to get clear on:
- Where you are now
- Where you want to be in the future
- Who you want to serve
- What their problems are
- How you’re uniquely placed to solve at least some of those problems
It forces you to revisit your value proposition along with all your product and service offerings. If something wants a place on your sparkling new site, it really has to earn the right to be there!
Like therapy, this process can be painful. But it’s also very cleansing and clarifying, and sets you up with useful tools and strategies for the future.
2. Content should come before design
This seems so obvious when I write it, but it’s just not how things tend to be done in the industry. When wireframing and designing websites, so much of what we’re usually working with is ‘in theory’.
- In theory, there’ll be three great header images to cycle through at the top here
- In theory, the pages we’ll have on this site are Home, About, Services, Contact
- In theory, we want three focus buttons on the home page under the hero image plus a testimonials and portfolio section.
For our re-design, we decided to work with reality. I first re-wrote all the site content (based on what I learned from the ‘therapy’ session above). Then we re-designed the site to that exact content. Then, once the site was built, I didn’t then have to try and create the content for it, it was already there.
This worked so well, we’ve built this into our new website design process for the client sites we build.
3. Imagery is EVERYTHING
How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? If you’re in a well-established industry (like say, web and graphic design), the truth is, anyone who is good at what they do will be able to say the same things about themselves: reliable, value for money, great communicators etc.
In short, everyone’s pretty much going to be using the same words. In those situations, what’s the fastest way to differentiate yourself? With great imagery.
It took forever to find this image we’re using as the hero image on our new home page, but it was worth because everyone who’s seen the new site has commented on it.
Should you be thinking about a website redesign?
As mentioned above, we recommend doing a redesign, or revisiting your website copy at least every two years. We were definitely a year overdue by the time we finished ours.
Here are three quick questions that will help you decide whether your current website is helping or hampering your business’s efforts to be profitable:
- What are the words I want people to use when recommending me to others? Does my website support what they’re saying? (i.e. If you want people to say you’re edgy and innovative … does your website reflect this?)
- If someone comes to my website looking for a particular service I provide, is it clear that I provide that service?
- If a prospective new client wants to contact me, is it easy for them to do so?
If your website doesn’t tick all these boxes, it might be time for a content update at the very least.