For many small businesses and organizations, commissioning an outside company to design, build and launch a website can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. It is understandable that after a website is launched, the individual or business in question will want to maximize the return on the initial investment – however, what if the website, either in part or in whole, isn’t effective? Although it can be extremely painful for any business (especially a small business) to find that an asset such as a website is flawed and may have to be replaced, either in whole or in part, it may be necessary to take a pragmatic approach to the decision and decide what is best to achieve success in the long-term.
Measuring The Popularity Of Your Webpages
Simply having an active website with data and tools that are relevant to your visitors isn’t enough, especially if you have any desire to convert these visitors into paying customers. For some small businesses and organizations that do little to no business online, any website is “good enough” as long as it reliably loads for each visitor and contains accurate data, such as product and contact information. However, being “good enough” has virtually no measurable effect on converting more website visitors into customers and boosting sales, and any small business that relies on their digital properties to generate leads or online sales simply can’t remain oblivious when it comes to the effectiveness of their website, including each page and component that makes up the site.
As we discussed in our previous blog post, there are services such as Google Analytics and tools built into your own website’s Content Management System (CMS) that can provide a complete and accurate picture of how many people are visiting your website, which pages they are accessing and how long they are spending on each page, including how many people “bounce” away from your website and leave before venturing past the first place the access. Based on what you learn, you should be able to quickly ascertain whether or not your website is successfully functioning as a whole or if certain pages or elements are uninteresting or even driving visitors (and, by extension, potential customers) away.
Making The Tough Decision
If you discover that your pages or elements contained within your website are driving away visitors, you must make the painful decision whether or not to remove and redesign certain sections of your website or to replace the website as a whole. For some businesses, this may be true even for websites that are fairly new – this may be a result of poor design, or simply due to elements of the website that are unsuccessful for other reasons. For older websites, outdated design elements and technology may be to blame. No matter the reason, it’s now time to make the tough decision to invest more money and resources to get your website back on track.
Revamping An Established Website
If you have a website that is unsuccessful for any reason other than outdated technology, it may be possible to fix what’s wrong without scrapping the website completely. If the content needs to be revised, that can be done relatively easily while keeping most of the website intact. If design elements of the website need to be changed, including the theme and any customizations made to it by the original designer, that can also be done while maintaining the website itself and keeping the CMS in place. For websites powered by WordPress, even whole components of the website can be changed by using new plugins and widgets.
Don’t Make The Same Mistakes
Before you decide to take the drastic step of redesigning or replacing your website, make sure that the new designer understands what you’re trying to accomplish and doesn’t repeat the same mistakes that were made before. If the original website was flawed due to a breakdown in communication, ensure that you and your new designer communicate openly, freely and frequently throughout the redesign process.