This can vary slightly by business or what your competition is doing, goals or purpose but the typical rule of thumb is every few years. If it’s been longer than that — you’re in need of a refresh.
With new refreshes come great responsibilities.
By that we mean, finding the right design firm that has the finger on the pulse of modern design techniques and platforms. Building a website isn’t as simple as logging into GoDaddy and hitting the Website Tonight build me a website button. It takes a design firm with experience and hopefully education in the field that can help shape the new aesthetic for your website.
It takes time, so plan on being patient. Websites, when built properly, can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to build from start to finish, and depending upon the size if it’s larger or has more technical needs for instance, it can take quite a bit longer. Additionally, being available to approve design concepts or functionality or just communicating is a big part of the process. The latter is half the battle in hitting your deadline, so if you can actively respond and participate in the process this helps the entire workflow and makes for a more feasible and attainable deadline.
Thinking about what’s going on the new site in terms of content also takes time. If you plan to redesign the site but also introduce new pages or new content on the existing pages that will require time and effort on your end (unless you hire a writer). Overall it’s a team effort so planning ahead is key.
Are You Mobile Yet?
If your website is ancient (5 years or more) there’s a great chance you don’t have a mobile-friendly website or a mobile dedicated site. Not being ready for mobile now is such a big deal these days. The reason being Google in 2015 threw down the mandate that stated it was ranking websites more favorably that were mobile friendly. Even if you don’t rank now because of lack of SEO or advertising, you’ll rank even lower if your site isn’t mobile ready. There are different ways to approach this, you can have a secondary site that is only seen on mobile devices which works fine BUT, then you have two websites to take care of. The more popular way is to have a responsive website built that auto reconfigures based upon the device, whether that’s a desktop computer, a tablet or smartphone. One site to rule them all.
How Does Your Current Site Feel?
Forget about that three year time-frame, how does your site look from a design standpoint? Does it feel stuck in the 90s or early 00s? If it does, that’s your first indicator of what your competition doesn’t look like and a huge reason to redesign.
The use of old technology that on some sites are still in use like Flash animation are another indicator. Apple killed Flash in 2007, it took a year or two put it killed it inevitably which then ushered in the use of HTML5. HTML5 in a nutshell allows for modern animation like homepage slideshows or literal graphic animations that don’t require a special plugin to view it like Flash did. If you are using Flash still, you likely have a broken link(s) on your site where it use to work previously.
Older design techniques that might have been hot in 2010 or 2012 are likely passe now as they are just outdated ways of designing or maybe it’s no longer used for technical reasons.
Incorporating social media into websites with either feeds or links has been a huge thing over the last decade, if your site was originally built in 2006 or earlier, chances are you haven’t incorporated social media at all which also is another reason to update.
What’s Your Competition Doing?
If you aren’t mobile ready and your site was built in 2014 (or earlier) you better believe your current competition or the competition you don’t know about yet is tapping into newer, faster, sleeker and a more modern feeling website. If you aren’t keeping up, customers will notice. Your website is the first point of contact for website visitors, if it feels dated, they’ll realize it in less than 3 seconds and continue Googling until they find a company that looks the part. Even if your offerings and services exceed your competitions, people will judge your company based upon how you represent your business online. If it looks dated that becomes a direct reflection on what you offer.
Can you afford that type of impression?