A common practice seen among most organizations serious about the web is a redesign of their website after 2-3 years. Not just a simple change or two, but an entire overhaul of the site. This practice of just shaking up the website and erasing everything doesn’t make sense. It takes a lot of effort to draw something beautiful on an Etch-A-Sketch, but to change it, you have to erase it completely.
Common excuses used to start over include:
- New technology – this is usually initiated by a tech upgrade or a new web team leader. In both cases, the web team or new consulting agency is able to convince leadership that to have the new awesome technology, then everything must go.
- The website looks old – the most common of reasons used to upgrade a website, again usually initiated by a new marketing agency or internal web team.
- New Marketing Leader is going to shake things up – the new leader decides that the website isn’t their style and decides an overhaul is necessary to meet the new agenda.
These are not bad reasons to overhaul a website, but more often than not, they are the wrong reasons. These large scale changes will often have a negative impact on search engine rankings because the content change is significant. It can be detrimental on site visitors as well. Just think about how frustrated most people become when Facebook makes even small changes.
Don’t misunderstand, change is a great and necessary action to take. But there is a better way than the massive stress that can occur internally on this type of project and externally with customers.
Constant Incremental Change
The best thing for a website to grow and become better is constant, incremental change, based on testing results. A great web and marketing team will use testing tools like Google Optimizer to test everything from menu layout, colors, form design, images and landing pages. The insight gained from customers interacting with these changes will drive more customer conversions, customer interaction and it will always ensure your website is kept looking modern and ahead of the competition.
If you have an old, poorly performing website right now and have not been testing and updating it regularly, you may need to take out that Etch-A-Sketch and shake things up. But if you still like the look of things, start testing it and introducing new functionality regularly. Your customers, sales team and your web team will thank you.