Time for a Change

Neil McKay

When should you do a complete, radical redesign instead of continuously optimising your existing website?

We all come to a point at which we need to choose whether to continue optimising our site (with returns diminishing) or go for a radical redesign.

Currently, the norm is for eCommerce directors to put a business case forward to obtain funding to redesign their website (often launching just before peak season), with the hope that the new site will increase conversions, sales, and revenue.

In reality, such drastic action rarely produces the outcome the company is looking for after splashing out the cash. In fact, a new site can actually reduce conversions.

However, if you want to redesign your website, please consider this question first:

Is your company changing direction or its brand?

If not, then I wouldn’t recommend a complete redesign just yet. You are giving up too much valuable data (which, in fairness, you are probably not aware of) buried deep within your current site.

So, I’d say that it’s preferable to stick with your existing site and re-mine your data (conversion research) to identify new conversion opportunities. In fact, when was the last time you carried out such user research?

The chances are it was probably a long time ago. If so, there is a good possibility of discovering new insights – insights that will lift your current conversions, revenue, and profit.

When is a radical redesign warranted?

However, you may conclude that a complete, radical redesign is warranted. This conclusion may be the result of any one of the following:

  • You’ve hit the local maxima (no matter what you do, the return on investment is getting weaker and weaker – diminishing returns).
  • The technology your website was built on is outdated and is unsuitable for, or unusable on, a mobile device. This is even more pertinent since Google rolled out its mobile-friendly algorithm in April 2015.
  • Your website design looks like an amateur designed it.
  • Your website has very little traffic and your conversion research has revealed many problems requiring a very long time (often years) to test and fix.

Local Maxima

If this resonates with you, then yes, now is the right time for a complete, radical redesign instead of continuously flogging your dead horse of a website that is producing diminishing returns.

The difference is now you are in a much stronger position to do so. You have fresh, valuable research data and insights to lead your redesign. You know what your customers want and what they don’t want.

This data-driven insights approach to your new website design helps minimise your risk and points you in the direction of utopia – a radical new redesigned website that converts better than the old one.