Too many companies waste money on website redesigns they really don’t need.
That may be good for people like me who build websites. But it’s bad news for companies like yours to spend hard-won marketing budget on something that won’t meet your business goals.
Instead, why not save your money for online marketing activities that will turn strangers into visitors, turn visitors into leads and turn leads into new customers?
“We need to change from turquoise to celadon.”
The worst reason to re-do a website is because somebody in management has decided that the colors are ugly. As Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah explain in their book Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage and Delight Customers Online,
The reality is that most websites look perfectly fine. The colors are fine, the menus are fine, the logo is fine, the pictures are fine, and so on. You personally do not like the look of your website because you look at it so often. Your visitors, on the other hand, are not particularly interested in your site’s colors or the type of menus used. Your visitors are looking for information — something interesting they can read and learn about.
The average company can save the money from an unnecessary website redesign and spend it instead on things that will make their website a more powerful marketing tool. Halligan and Shah, who also founded the inbound marketing company HubSpot, recommend three things:
- Add some collaborative functionality, such as a blog (make sure it’s easy to update on a regular basis)
- Start writing valuable how-to articles and creating lots of other compelling content that people will want to see, from white papers and infographics to podcasts and videos
- Take a break from your own website and start putting more effort into Google, industry blogs and social media sites
Two situations when you actually need a redesign
Of course, there are a couple problems that are bad enough to justify redesigning your website now.
First, if your site is genuinely ugly. But I don’t mean merely that the colors or typefaces don’t match your new logo or that a competitor has a cooler navigation structure that you want to copy. I mean that your website is so ugly that it costs your company credibility.
Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, web designers generally define a website as ugly if it is cluttered, busy or uses very outdated design elements, such as wood-grain backgrounds, buttons that pop out and lots of drop shadows to simulate a three-dimensional effect.
These days, and probably for the foreseeable future, designers will consider websites attractive that use the design style known as minimalism. And for good reason — data shows that minimalist design makes a website easier to use.
Second, you need to redesign your website if it’s not mobile friendly. That’s because Google’s latest algorithm update, released in April and dubbed “Mobilegeddon” for its outsized importance, will start to punish websites that are not optimized for phones and tablets. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, it doesn’t matter how pretty it looks. Get it redesigned right away.
Your visitors don’t care about your website colors
If neither of these two situations applies to your website, then don’t waste money on a redesign. But do invest in making your website more than an online brochure.
Your visitors care much more about being able to find what they want than they do about your website’s aesthetics or even its features.
As HubSpot research has demonstrated, only 10% of web users say that “beautiful appearance” is the most important thing in a website and only 9% most value “a cutting-edge interactive experience.” But a whopping 76% of website visitors care most that a site “makes it easy for me to find what I want.”
And in the end, when it comes to your website, pretty is as pretty does.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group