This is a common question at the beginning of a website project.

“… and how often do you think a website needs to be re-designed?”

Here’s my answer:

Every 4 years

 

How do you get to that number – that it should be redesigned every 4 years?

“It feels like we just did this. You’re telling me we need to do it again?”

Yeah. Probably. I used to say that as a rule of thumb you can count on doing a redesign between 3-5 years (for many of the reasons I list below). But 4 years is more memorable. It’s a presidential election cycle. And it’s true.

The sites we’ve redesigned this year that we did 4 or 5 years ago needed it.

What kind of factors does that depend on?

  • Are you updating it regularly?
  • Do customers visit / revisit it often?
  • Is it performing well?
  • Does an unbiased 3rd party think it looks modern? “Does it look old?”
  • Does it seem like it performs better than your competitors’ online presence?

After a couple of years in web design, stuff looks old. Designs just don’t tend to hold up really well.

Trends change. The software that we use on our phones changes really often. And we get used to seeing the latest trends in design on an everyday basis.

So, when your website hasn’t changed in a few years, it naturally just starts to look dated.

Can you just do a facelift? Can we remodel the house instead of build a new one?

Well, yeah of course. In fact, that’s something that can be done anytime. It’s probably something you should look at in depth about once a year. Change images around, look at the copy, etc.

Make sure your story hasn’t changed.

Odds are that it has.

We redesigned HandBuiltBrands.com this year. Boy, it needed it.

  • Design trends had changed.
  • We’d changed software platforms.
  • We’d changed our philosophy and tactics to show up better in the search engines, and most importantly …
  • Our business had changed. We’d simplified. And we weren’t telling our story very well.

So, we started the process over.

We have a 5-step custom website design process.

  1. Roadmap
  2. Story
  3. Design
  4. Development
  5. Management

In the roadmap process, we figured out a rough story and a structure that worked for the story we wanted to tell and how we wanted to use the HandBuiltBrands website as a sales tool.

We wanted to have 3 main program pillar pages that were long form and told all of our story on one page. Typically, in the story process, we have rough outlines and can interview our customers to figure out and detail the story. However, the story was kind of in my head. So, I used 2 tactics – (1) I scheduled a caveday to dedicate to writing my SFD of the story. And then (2) I was able to bounce my story off the folks in my “entrepreneur group” – The Arena (a virtual co-working space); these are my people, my tribe, and I knew that even though they weren’t my audience, they knew the story I wanted to tell. So, that’s how I got to the program pages. What to do with the rest of the site …

Our plan was to use the articles (blog posts, like this one) to point to each of those program pages. We use the blog posts to answer common questions that people ask us. And then we can use the articles to send to people. They also serve 2 other search engine purposes – (1) they get some long-tail keyword traffic and most importantly, (2) they provide the search engine topical relevance for our pillar program pages.

After the Roadmap and story process, we went into design (which is immensely easier if you already have your copy, your story, written).

Design went smoothly, so we went to development, the coding and the mounting of the design into the WordPress CMS.

And the funny thing is that it had only been 2 years since our last redesign. But I found myself saying in meetings, um, don’t go to my website. Let me email you something just one too many times. And I decided that a facelift wasn’t going to work. We needed to start over.

Odds are that in (at least) 4 more years, we’ll start again.