As mentioned in our other article, radical overhauls to your site can be risky. You can loose a large part of your return visitors if they come back and are in complete shock.
Why? The redesign didn’t take what was already working into consideration. It changed everything completely. Not just the looks, but where things are on the page, how to get to critical information, sometimes, even how to log in or place an order. Yikes, that’s bad stuff.
Sometimes a Major Overhaul Is Best when:
Our clients ask us when it is time for a major site overhaul. Here are our top tips:
- Your website does not qualify for the Google Mobile-Friendly Label. If your website was not built in a way that can be made mobile-friendly in all the aspects that Google requires, it is time to start over and invest in a responsive website.
- The site no longer gives your visitors a consistent brand experience. Aesthetics alone are never a good reason to do a major redesign, unless trying to remedying look and feel is becoming more expensive than starting over. In this case, it is usually because the brand was not really taken into consideration at the beginning. You see this with sites that use a cookie-cutter template, and the site looks just like about a million other sites, thus watering down the brand to look like their own competition.
- Your website technology is no longer supported. The reasons this happens are many. When dealing with a custom-built CMS (content managed system), the developer may leave the country, or go bankrupt. You may be able to wobble along on crutches for a while in their platform, but sooner or later, the need to add functionality for your visitors comes along, and other developers shake their heads and tell you, “We have no idea what this guy was smoking when he built this, but it’s not worth the cup of coffee in your hand.” That is indeed a sad day for all involved, except the guy who left the country with your thousands of bucks. This happens less and less in this day and age of universally accepted CMS’s like WordPress (our favorite) or Drupal. If your site is in a system that is not universally hailed as amazing software and supported by almost any professional webmaster, you should be making plans NOW to get into a WordPress website, now!
Here are things to look for in a new CMS:
- Streaming (FREE) software updates.
- Ease of plugin/module installation and updating.
- English-speaking, US-based 24/7 support.
- Active, easy to access forum.
- Intuitive Social Integration
- Ability to control your own content.
- Site Architecture nightmares wake your webmaster up. Often the mess a webmaster finds on the server is also indicative of messy front-end navigation. This happens to a lot of businesses. You might have started out with a site with a few pages, and the next thing you know, you have built a site with 10,000 words. Congratulations! However, if you didn’t know good site architecture strategies and best practice from the beginning, files can end up all over the place, and SEO and user navigation can be drastically affected.This patchwork mess can lead to your next webmaster pulling her hair out, as she realizes how hard it is going to be to keep up, and clean up. Depending on how much this is affecting your users and SEO, it might be time for an overhaul. Sometimes before you can move forward, you have to move backwards.
- Your site disobeys so many SEO rules, Google is ready for a divorce. If a site is full of keyword stuffing, bad navigation, slow load times, big images, and other SEO no-no’s, it is definitely time to start over.
- Really Bad Data shows you are losing. If you are testing any large or small change on your site, you will know when your current design, architecture and navigation are just not cutting the mustard. Especially if you are spying on your competition, and you have some of their data to compare to.
Metrics of high concern:
- Extremely high exit rates
- Extremely high bounce rates
- Visitor paths that do not lead to conversions
- Extremely low traffic stats
Is it time for your site to be overhauled? Let us know.