There are a lot of good reasons to change your website design, but we’ve recently had a couple of queries about changing because the site owner is tired of it.
“I’m tired of looking at that color and I want something new,” is a valid complaint, and we’re happy to oblige. If your website has a content management system, there is nothing to stop you from going in and making changes every day, even just for fun. There’s certainly nothing to keep you from hiring your web pros to make changes every day.
There is, however, a difference between changes made on a whim and strategic changes.
Here are some things to consider before you make a change.
Pros of change at your website
- The search engines love new stuff. Updating your content is like tugging on the web so the Google spiders will notice you and rush over and have a look. This is one of the great benefits of blogging: a website that is updated often is perceived by search engines as more valuable than less lively sites.
- Constant improvement is often more effective — and usually more cost-effective — than occasional big changes. Measuring your visitors’ responses to your website and responding to them by making improvements is the foundation of SEO.
- Knowing there’ll be new things keeps people coming back. If someone comes to your blog a couple of times and finds no new posts, he or she will probably not come again. If your website always shows the newest things, people will check back often to see what’s new.
Cons of change at your website
- Most of your visitors are new. Somewhere between two thirds and three quarters of your visitors — possibly even more — have never been to your website before. Everything there is new to them. They should certainly see recent news, current blog posts, and up to date products, but they won’t know that you’ve had the same call-out box for six months.
- Seth Godin said, “Most of the time, creative entrepreneurs lose interest long before their marketing message loses its power.” In other words, we get bored with stuff and change it when it is actually working well. No way is this cost-effective. Rely on data to let you know when your message is losing impact.
- A consistent brand message can look more trustworthy. If visitors find a new theme, color scheme, or tone every few months, you can give the impression that you’re unreliable.
- All marketing, including online marketing, takes time. Changing your message every few weeks because you don’t see the results you want immediately is a recipe for failure, simply because you never actually find out what works. Use the data you have to identify specific changes to test, and give them long enough to get accurate data before making a decision.
Good kinds of change
Some people love change. That can include your visitors. It may be part of your business strategy to make frequent changes to keep things looking fresh. If so, here are some guidelines to consider:
- New content at your blog, your “news” page, or your product pages is always good. Random changes at your homepage are often not so good. Chances are, your homepage was designed for maximum appeal to search engines and visitors, so you should probably check on the thinking behind the element you want to change before you make up your mind.
- If you want frequent change on your homepage, build it in or test it. Slider images, blog posts or videos pulled into your homepage, or sidebar promotions can often change without any effect on traffic or conversion. Sometimes frequent change (for example, at a blog or gallery) can improve traffic and conversion.
- When you make a change, annotate it in your analytics so you can see any effects. If the effect is positive or neutral, you’re fine. If you lose ground, you can change back.
- Some things can be changed easily and inexpensively; some changes require a rebuild. The cost difference will be significant.
If you haven’t made any changes at your website in a few years, you probably should be thinking about making changes. Give us a call if you want an outside opinion — 479.966.9761. We’ll be happy to offer some expert advice.