You have a shining new website and you’re excited to show it to the team and customers. But as it always happens, our minds run faster than reality, and one question pops up into your head: “When is the time to redesign my website?”. A designer will probably tell you that every 6 months is a good timeline for a website redesign, the developer will be more optimistic and suggest 5 years, the sales and marketing person will probably want to redesign every year based on web design trends and consumer preferences.
The average lifespan of a website
It’s a known fact that the average lifespan of a website is 3 years. While statistics vary for different industries and types of businesses, if you haven’t updated your site in 3 years it has likely become obsolete. Here is a timeline to help you decide on a redesign:
2-3 years old – in a very competitive industry this is the threshold for a change. In a non-competitive industry, you still have some time but you need to start planning.
3-4 years old – assess your website and see what updates you can make. Also, start planning a complete revamp.
4-5 years old – time to revamp your site!
Other criteria that affect redesign decision
Age is just a number. The age of your website matters but depending on the business you might be able to prolong your current website’s life. However, there are other criteria that might affect your decision. Let’s look at some of them:
Is your site responsive and mobile friendly?
According to eMarketer, it’s expected that by 2019, the smartphone audience will reach 236.8 million, or 85.5% of internet users. Because of the growing popularity of smartphones, having a mobile-friendly website is a must for any business. Additionally, your SEO rankings are determined by how mobile-friendly your site is. So if your site can’t offer a perfect mobile experience, it’s definitely time for a redesign.
What’s your content management system?
Even though it takes a while before a content management system becomes obsolete, you want to remain on top of news of your CMS provider. Some CMSs simply don’t update often and aren’t concerned about new technology either. You want a CMS that provides a plethora of features and an easy-to-use interface. WordPress allows you to interlink your site, work on SEO directly from a dashboard, and install plugins that improve the user experience. WordPress is also known to run smoothly, it’s updated often and it’s an incredibly easy system to learn.
What are your SEO rankings?
Design does affect SEO. The thing is that design is directly connected to the user experience. If your users don’t like your site and leave immediately after they land on your homepage, Google will consider this as a sign that your site isn’t worth ranking on the first page. You might also want to check how your website functions: how fast does it load? Are there too many images? The better the design from the user-experience and visual design point of view, the more time the customers will want to spend browsing your site.
How quickly does your site convert visitors?
As a business owner, you want your site to convert. If you don’t make sales, then there is no use in having a website. Having an old website means that the latest UX practices weren’t taken into account when the site was created. There are currently many ways to inspire visitors to purchase your products. If you feel that there is still some room for improvement when it comes to conversions, then a website redesign might be just what you need.
What’s the style of your website?
People are social creatures and we like to follow trends because they allow us to like a part of society. Unfortunately, even if your website is great from the user experience point of view, visitors will still ignore your site due to outdated design style. If the style is old, the perception is that the business is old. No one wants to deal with slow moving, unagile businesses. To avoid visitors labeling you as an outdated bureaucratic machine, apply modern designs and get acquainted with trends in web design industry when you create your website.
How fast does your website load?
Google has strict speed requirements. If your site doesn’t load in 3 seconds, you can be penalized. This is a common issue with old websites as they don’t use the latest technology. Having a website that is older than 5 years and hasn’t been updated will surely lead to Google speed penalization.
How did your business evolve?
Website’s technical characteristics aren’t the only factors to take into account when making a decision on the site redesign. Your business model might have changed in the past 5 years. Or you might have new offers and products to show. If you rebranded your business, this is too a good reason to redesign a website. Ultimately, your website is your online business card. You want your website to reflect the truth about your business and be up-to-date with your current brand message.
How do your competitors’ websites look and feel?
Your product or service will only be compared to similar products or services. It’s unlikely that visitors will start comparing a dental clinic website to video games website. So another reason that might affect your redesign decision is how competitor websites look. Start looking at your competitors’ website and evaluating your own website relative to theirs. You might find out that every single website in the industry is outdated. This can have a double meaning: either website isn’t an important marketing asset in the industry, or you can acquire a competitive advantage by redesigning your website.
Extending the lifespan of your website
Here are some easy to implement minor updates that can extend the lifespan of your website:
Create content – write blog posts, add images, shoot and add videos to make your website look slightly younger. No matter whether you decide to redesign your website or not, creative content never goes out of style.
Get rid of some navigation – analyze how visitors behave on your website and remove navigation links and buttons that aren’t used. Having only the most necessary menu items and navigation links will help clean up your website and refresh the overall look.
Change homepage design – you might not have the time and budget to redesign all 500 hundred pages of your website, but if you can revamp your homepage, that’s a really big step forward. People often don’t go as far as the homepage, plus homepage is the first page they see, and as they say – first impressions count.
Redesign certain pages – alternatively, you can leave the homepage intact but redesign highest traffic pages. If you have products that are sold the most, or specific pages that people tend to spend most time browsing – they might be a good target for a redesign.
At the end of the day, the decision to redesign your website is on you. Try to be critical towards your current website. You might have just launched it but the design wasn’t done right and that’s a perfectly legitimate reason for a redesign.
If you want a straight answer though, then the average lifespan of a website is 3 years. Many websites will become obsolete after 3 years, but some may still look fresh and new. Consider different factors and don’t postpone the decision for too long.