Up until 1992, the world had to wait 4 years to experience the Olympics. Both the Summer and Winter Games were held in the same calendar year. Then the decision was made to begin alternating the games so that we only had to wait 2 years between games. So in 1992, both games were held, then in ‘94 just the Winter, ‘96 just the Summer, ‘98 the Winter, ‘00 the Summer, and etc.
Seems like a good decision. After all, who wants to wait 4 whole years in between something as exciting as the Olympics? Who wants to wait 4 years between anything, really?
That holds true for a website redesign as well. It is not uncommon for companies to maintain the same website - graphic look and functionality - for years. We’ve all heard the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So if you’re generally satisfied with your website’s performance, why do you need a redesign?
Times - and Technology - They Are A-Changin’
And they’re doing it practically daily. First there’s the obvious...the technology that can be used to build your website. No matter what platform you’re on, chances are there upgrades and enhancements that can improve not only your website’s performance, but your ability to maintain it. If you’re not at least investigating a redesign, you’ll never know how much more efficient your website can be.
But that’s not all that changes on a regular basis. Let’s talk about browsers. If you launched your website when Internet Explorer 9 was all the rage, you could be in trouble because that browser isn’t even supported by Microsoft anymore. Does your website function properly in IE 11? Or even Chrome...it’s up to version 52, so if you are more than a couple years between redesigns, chances are you’ve flown through several versions of that one.
You Don’t Have To Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater
(Unless you haven’t updated your site since that saying became popular, then maybe you do.) The point is that you don’t always have to start completely from scratch to make a major improvement to your website. If your back-end needs to be upgraded, you might be able to just add to it, rather than overhaul it. If your back-end is okay as is, then just a front-end redesign might make sense. It’s important to approach the whole process with an open mind and a trusted development partner who won’t try to sell you something you don’t need.
Stale Is As Stale Does
You can use trendy words like retro, vintage, or classic, but those don’t really apply to a website that just hasn’t been changed in years. In that case words like dated or stale tend to come to mind. And no one wants that! Obviously, old technology can cause errors for your customers, which could result in a decrease in visits, not to mention sales. But what about a site with an old look-and-feel? Unless it’s reflecting a previous decade for an obvious reason, an out-dated look on your site can give customers the impression that either (a) you don’t care about your site, (b) you don’t care if they care about your site, or (c) all of the above, none of which are good choices. So just like shoulder pads and skinny ties can give the wrong impression, so can a stale-looking website.
Start Training Now
Don’t let the need for a redesign sneak up on you. Just like Olympic athletes know they have 4 years to get ready, select a rough future redesign date and plan for it. Better yet, make a website review a regularly scheduled event. If you have a web development partner, they can help keep you informed of industry changes or standards that can affect your website and offer solutions. The important thing is that you are prepared so that when the time does come, it’s an easy route to the finish line...and a gold-medal-winning website.