It’s Time for a New Website: Key Indicators

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“How do I know when it’s time to build a new (or to refurbish the) company website?” It’s one of the most asked questions of MarkeTech.

 The key indicators break out into three areas:

  1. Decline in productivity of the current website
  2. Changes within your business
  3. Technological advances in website development

The first one is measurable. There are plenty of site-diagnostic tools that will produce reports on changes in viewership, the quality of links to your site, amount of syndication, etc. Such tools will give you data, but analyzing what’s wrong can sometimes be tricky. Does the data point toward a new website look, or is it your content that is the culprit? MarkeTech’s Ink Quotient™ tool focuses on content metrics, for example.

Changes within your business can justify a new website. That’s especially the case if there’s been a sea change in your marketplace, such as a shift in buyer preferences. Perhaps you’re about to launch a revolutionary product, and you want a new “brand” look for your online presence. Shifts in your positioning and messaging should be part of the new brand’s online presence, of course. I rarely recommend

building a new website just because a client is doing a product launch. With a new technology launch, that’s a different story. Many new products are likely to be offered as a consequence of the new technology, so a total new site design is reasonably justified.

An often overlooked change in your business is that your website has simply grown stale. I tell clients to make dramatic visual changes to their websites about every 12 months. That timeframe comes from the frequency that brick-and-mortar businesses tend to redo their interiors/exteriors, and it seems to work as a rough rule of thumb for websites.

Web development technologies can drive site visitor expectations, especially on high-tech B2B sites. Flash is a good example. Websites that don’t feature Flash are out-of-the-mainstream these days. Video and/or audio are top priorities, too. SnapShot is de rigueur. Poll/Survey pop-ups, too. I specifically attribute the need to be web-development “techie” as a B2B high-tech issue because the preponderance of those types of site’s visitors is likely engineers. As such, their behavior is to notice the technical functionalities of websites. Always temper this with sound judgment – some sites have so many techie gimmicks that they detract from viewing the content. The impression you make on them is first by your content, and then your site’s “techi-ness.” 

If budget is a consideration, remember my cardinal rule: Design is to website content what packaging is to products. Spend your limited resources on the website elements that will deliver the best business outcomes. That’s always content, not web design. In the same perspective, when you do build a new site (or significantly remodel the current one), don’t make the mistake of plugging in the old content.

When you do a content makeover without making design changes to your site, try changing the typeface on your site as a simple way to present a “fresh” look.

Still puzzled? Either submit your issue here as a comment, or contact me directly at WebGuru@MarkeTechcom.com.

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 Other Relevant Blogs

Web Site Building…A New Business Model
Solving a Puzzle: Weak Web Links
Cliches: Trite or Trendy? [Content]

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