Similar to considering a home renovation project, it is fair to ask – is now the right time to take this on? Will it be too big an interruption? Will the improvement be worth it? Will I (or those on my team) have the bandwidth to take this on and achieve the desired outcome?
And just as home renovation projects get pushed off for numerous (and very valid) reasons, the same can happen with website redesigns. While it’s true that the upside of a website redesign can (and should) have a far-reaching positive impact, there are several important factors that can diminish the effectiveness of your website redesign that should be taken into account before you decide to move forward.
Below are five reasons you may want to pause or delay the start of your website redesign. Consider each item below as something you should put into place and then, once you can check these boxes, give yourself the green light to take your brand to the next level.
1. Budget Constraints
Yes, we know a new website is an important investment, but when it comes to your marketing budget, a website redesign is an expense. How much should your website redesign cost? According to a recent Hubspot article, anywhere between $12,000 and $150,000. Yes, that’s a huge range. And for established brand websites, it’s most likely closer to $100,000 to $250,000.
In essence, you should strive to get the website you need for your future state – not just something you can be proud of on launch day. This means you’ll want to consider not just a designer or design team who makes something that looks appealing, but one that is well-versed in UX, with an understanding of how to guide your target audience towards the goals you desire whether that’s Book a Demo of your SaaS product or Contact Us for a quote.
Likewise, there is the web development side of things to consider. You’ll want to ensure that your new website has all the necessary functionality. You’ll want a CMS your marketing team can use to easily use to make edits and updates on your site. You’ll also want to ensure that your new website plays well with your existing tech stack.
2. There Is No Dedicated Marketing Leader
From the time we formed as a Chicago web design agency, we have always found we partnered best with marketing leaders. A brand’s website is after all the most vital tool in a marketing arsenal, at the center of all of your digital marketing activities. And as much as IT or HR work on (or depend on) your website, it’s a representation of your brand and who better to ensure your brand and website are aligned than a marketer?
A marketing leader doesn’t do it alone of course. She has her team and agency or partners. She also has the vital role of managing expectations and involvement of other stakeholders so that the project moves forward with a clear marketing objective from start to finish.
Starting to make decisions prior to having a marketing leader in place is like trying to leave the harbor without a captain on a ship and thinking you’ll just pick one up mid-sail. As with many large projects, ownership and accountability work best when handed to one person rather than working towards a consensus with a group of stakeholders with varying goals.
3. Your Brand Is Not Flushed Out
As your website is the best representation of your brand, you’ll want to have an established brand identity and guidelines prior to a website redesign. If you don’t have established visual identity guidelines, that is something an agency can help with, but you’ll want to have that done prior to any work toward creating a new site. (What you don’t want is a new site that needs to be redesigned again in short order to match new branding).
Likewise, if you expect your brand identity to change or be altered in some way, you might want to hold off on a website redesign until that’s agreed upon internally or with the help of a consultant or web agency. As an example, we’ve had many cases where clients have recently acquired a company and haven’t yet decided whether to consolidate brands into a single website, keep them separate or create sub-brands. As you can imagine, agreeing on a path forward is key to setting up the structure and design of your new website.
Of course, there will always be changes and updates in the future, but if you can tell your agency you expect to target additional verticals, launch a new service, or integrate another company into your website, that knowledge helps strategists and designers and programmers to build a site with that in mind – making it easy to know where and how to fit in new pages, sections, and functionality and launch a site that will last.
4. Lack of Resources / Competing Priorities
Similar to the budget conversation, it’s important to take a hard and honest look at resources such as the number of team members you have and their bandwidth. First, a website project takes several months from start to launch. Working with an agency doesn’t remove all of the work from your plate. In fact, it requires time for collaboration, learning, and ensuring the agency has a clear understanding of the brand, audience, industry, goals, and more.
Content tends to be the biggest bottleneck for many marketing teams during website redesigns. Expect a heavy lift here from your internal team – whether it’s creation, approval, or insertion. This is a time-consuming process and one that is important to plan for when detailing the project timeline.
4. Everyone else is doing it
Did you see your competitor’s new site? Of course, you did. It’s jaw-dropping. And you’re concerned. Sometimes, keeping up within your industry is enough of an impetus to get your organization to commit to moving forward to avoid being left behind. And this can be a valid reason for moving forward with a website redesign rather than putting it off.
And yet (!!) referring back to all of the reasons above, what your competitors (or partners, or industry) are doing, should be carefully understood and considered before you follow suit. Returning to your digital marketing goals and objectives can help lead you in the right direction. It might be that your goals can be met with more of a refresh than a redesign for instance. Once you look more internally, dig in more to the newly designed sites you see. What are the changes they made? What ideas do you see that inspire you? Check competitive traffic and keyword rankings against your own to determine if a competitor’s new website really did help them. And then make your own informed decision, data in hand.
In Conclusion, If Not Now, When?
We recommend that marketing leaders and teams get alignment on the primary pain points of their current websites and desired outcomes. If your current situation doesn’t allow for solving those pain points, it may not be worthwhile to put the time and resources into a new website right now. And by all means, avoid the situation of having to redo your website over and over by doing it right initially – at the right time.