Don’t Redesign Your Website!

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As a web professional, you’ve probably heard things like, “Its been a few years.  We need to redesign our website” or “We need to become more competitive, lets do a redesign” or maybe “I don’t like how our website looks or works.  Lets make it better!”  I’ve certainly heard variations of these phrases during my 10 years in the web industry.

Redesigning a website for the sake of a redesign is like trying to navigate a ship without a map or navigation equipment.  You may end up at your destination, but you’re more likely to end up lost or sunken.

Instead of approaching the ‘redesign’ project as redesign project, think of it as realigning your website.  Realigning your website to the strategic goals and objectives of your institution will ensure positive outcomes.  Your website is, after all, a business tool and should be attached closely to your business goals and objectives.  For example, if one of your institution’s goals is to increase enrolments, then you may need to realign your website to this goal by focusing the website on student recruitment and calls to action.

Some questions to ask yourself and others when approached with the ‘we need to redesign’ idea:

  1. Have trends changed that we need to adapt to so that we can remain competitive?
  2. Have our visitors changed and required realignment to meet their expectations?
  3. Does our current website support the goals and objectives of our institution?
  4. Does the entire website require work, or are there smaller pieces that only need realignment?
  5. Will the realignment move the website more in line with the institutions goals and objectives?
  6. Do the requests for ‘redesign’ support the overall web strategy and business goals?

Realigning your website can occur multiple times a year and can be as large as a complete overhaul or as small as a tweak to the application page.  Think of your website as being in perpetual beta, similar to Google’s Gmail.  Always looking if it needs realignment to the goals and objectives.

How do you respond when someone says ‘Lets redesign the site.’  Please share your comments here.

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  • mfarney

    I never looked at this problem from this point of view. I always encourage my readers to make the changes on their site on a copy and upload the finished layout. If a site has a few years of authority then it's not a good idea to completely change the way it looks. I'm gonna study this matter further and thank you for writing this article.
    Mathew Farney domain