Many experts will suggest you to redesign your website every two to three years at a mininum. However, setting it as a bar won't work on most of the cases. You might feel the need to change your website more often in most of the cases while in some cases it might not need changes that often. There are a lot of metrics which helps you to measure your website's overall performance and thus determine the need to change the design.
It doesn't matter how much of the time and effort along with the budget you spent on your website, your design is never going to work for a long period of time. It's exactly similar to home decoration where you are never done just opposite to a car which you can buy and run as long as it works.
Time is changing and the rate of change is higher in terms of web. You need to update your contents, comply with latest visual trends and provide a better user experience all the time, be it to match your competitor or just to keep it fresh. Failing to do so might make your site look unprofessional and out of date.
Just for reference, would you display the same billboard of your product for five or ten years? Would you like the same commercials on tvs running more that period of time? You won't even keep the same business cardfor a year or two. Everything needs change at a point of time. So, allocate a small amount of budget every year from your marketing campaign for your website's redesign.
A popular phrase comes into mind when we talk about a change. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." You might point to this phrase when I talk about change but you need to keep in mind that this phrase was born way before the web came into trend. And, in case of web, even if it's working fine, it might need a change, although that change won't be needed everyday, everyweek or everymonth.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that your website is the face of your business in this modern era and if you can get it right then, it's going to be your 24/7 salesperson.
Obviously, you don't need to redesign your website for the sake of it but for some specific purpose like meeting the current web standards, keeping it mobile friendly, improvise user experience, accomodate latest visual trends, add up content mangement system, etc.
Enough talks so far, let's come to the point and have a look at the major factors which determine the need to redesign your website.
With the continuous research and development in the field of technology, people are using phones and tablets more often that desktops or laptops. If your website is not built with smaller screens in mind or your website was built way before these devices came into existence, then you are loosing a lot of visitors. Search engines rank resposive websites higher in their search result pages. Even if you have very low competition in your market and thus your chance f appearing in search results is very high, your website is never going to serve your purpose on smaller screens as the users won't be able to read your contents or navigate through the pages which will automatically make them shift to another websites that serve better. So, device responsiveness is one of the key factor in redesigning your website.
Visual trends change with time and so does the taste of visitors. Are you selling products on a site that has the design of a news magazine rather than a shopping site? A lot of ecommerce websites are in the market that display products in such a way that a lot of people get impressed with the view and tend to follow the call to action button. Even websites promoting or selling lesser amount of products or services or only a few in-house products are spending a lot more to improvise the display of the product and features just to grab attention of the visitors. This is another factor you need to evaluate if you are a product or services selling company.
Bad User Experience
Another major factor that determines the need to redesign your website is the user experience. Is your website visually pleasing and easy to navigate? Are your visitors getting what they were looking for when they stumble upon your website? Content titles, fonts, images, navigation options, color schemes along with your overall layout should be good enough to match your competitors if you have no ideas to get better than them. If you are lagging behind than your competitors, then, it's time to redesign your site.
Added products and Services
Have you added some products and services but it's impossible to display them artistically on your frontpage? Are your inner pages not good enough to place those contents? If your answer is yes, then, without any doubt, it's time to redesign your website. Moreover, make sure that it'll be easier to add products and services in the future on your frontpage and the inner pages serve well for those contents as well.
Content Management System
Gone are the days of static websites, content management system is the new definition fo websites these days. Regular updates on your website must be easy and you must be able to do such tasks without the help of web professionals. You must be able to add texts, images, videos, pages or posts with ease. Though it seems a bit expensive at the beginning, it won't cost a penny to add or update contents at the latter stages because it's you who would be able to do those tasks on your own. The time has arrived to shift to content management system from static website and this can be another major factor to redesign or rebuild your website.
Have you stumbled upon sites where the search feature doesn't work? I've seen a number of ecommerce sites where the buttons to add products to wishlist or cart doesn't work. In some sites, the coupon code is just there but won't deduct the final price. Some sites don't have options to purchase online but the button is present while some sites redirect users to the contact page when they click on the button to make purchase. If your website contains any feature that don't work properly, you should either remove them from the site or make it functional.
Apart from the factos mentioned above, your website should be optimized for search engines and the pages should load within 2-3 seconds at most. Check your website's analytics and find out the visitors' bounce rate along with the average time they spend on your site as well as the number of pages they go through per visit on average. Check your site's ranking against your competitors. If you go through each details I mentioned above, your site must be yelling for a change when the right time arrives. If the chances of running out of budget when redesigning is high, start saving from today and get it done when you are ready.
Let me know, which of these factors are more important than others. I'm sure there are a lot more areas that could be covered but to keep the post short and sweet I needed to trim a lot of them. Which factors do you think I should have included? What are your thoughts about redesigning a website and the fators shared here? Did you like them? If yes, share it with your friends so they can benefit as well.