How Old Is Your Website In Dog Years?

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  • 7/11/2019
    Perhaps the better question is, "How old is your website in internet years?" The web is continuously evolving and to stay competitive your website should evolve with it. Browsers are improved every day, web speeds are getting faster, and devices are getting smaller (or larger, or foldable, or with a better display...). To keep up with the times, you should evaluate your website every few years for potential performance and user experience improvements. You may also want to review your current website to make sure it is meeting your business goals, reflecting industry trends, and accurately representing your brand.  
    So, how often or when should you update your site? Luckily we have this handy blog for you as you begin to make decisions!

    When was the last time your website was updated?
    This question is by far the most crucial factor in determining whether or not your site could use an upgrade. As always, longevity differs from industry to industry, but in general, a site reaches the end of its lifecycle 3-5 years after its launch. By this point, browsers have gone through multiple major updates, screen and device preferences have changed drastically, and you’ve (hopefully) collected years worth of analytics to inform your future decisions.
    Have your company goals changed?
    Your website is the number one tool for pushing your business forward, so it should grow with your company goals. If you’d like to increase sales, why not convert to an e-commerce site? If you’re trying to be a thought leader, make sure you have a robust blog section, with easy search and filtering options. If you’ve seen an increase in mobile traffic, ensure that your site is not only responsive but thrives on phones and tablets. 
    Has your industry changed? 
    You don’t want to be caught flat-footed. Has your competition been outpacing you in content creation, web traffic or, most importantly, overall revenue? Assessing what they are doing online, and then beating them to the next innovation can catapult your company forward. 
    Additionally, if your industry is going through a change, and new trends are emerging, your website is a perfect place to promote your expertise. A robust, up-to-date blog section shows your users that you are staying current with industry trends and are a thought leader.  
    Have you recently went through a brand redesign or refresh?
    Your website should accurately reflect your new brand! A visual redesign is a perfect time to revisit your site as a whole, including voice, messaging and functionality.
    Ok, so now the big question - should you update your entire site, or iterate on the current one?
    There are pros and cons to each approach. 
    An iterative approach consists of rounds of changes to different sections on an existing site. Examples of iterative projects could be the addition of e-commerce to product detail pages, or an updated blog section.
    Pros of iteration::
    • Less expensive
    • The site still seems familiar to the user 
    • Can test theories or new approaches without fully committing to a full redesign
    • A tangible representation of always improving and moving your business forward
    • Mixing new and old sections may make the site feel disjointed 
    • The underlying content management system (CMS) might not be able to accommodate the functionality of the new section
    • Iteration needs to be consistent to avoid even more separation between the old and new portions of the site--you can’t just update your product section and leave the rest of the site
    A full site update is just what it sounds like. In this approach, you will get a completely redesigned site (both visually and functionally). 

    Pros of a full redesign::
    • The most up-to-date software and CMS for the entire site
    • Mobile-friendly and optimized version included
    • A fully cohesive, tailored site that hits all of your business goals
    • 3-5 years of worry-free use
    • More expensive and time-consuming
    • Users will have to adjust to a new site all at once 
    There is a lot to consider, but hopefully we started the wheels turning and gave you some ideas on how to gauge where you are in your website's lifespan. Whether you're thinking of adopting a puppy or teaching an old dog new tricks, there are options for you!

    Are you convinced that you could use an upgraded website? Drop us a line!

    About the author::Jay Mazzone is a User Experience Designer at thunder::tech. He creates sitemaps and wireframes, conducts user research and keeps his finger on the pulse of the UX world to deliver the best possible experience for clients and users alike. When he’s not at the office, you can find him at a microbrewery, vibin’ with friends and family or at the ballpark. He still calls it "the Jake."
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