Continual improvement vs. wholesale website redesign

In Digital Marketing by Josh Dougherty

Most organizations go through a costly redesign process every couple years. Usually, this involves throwing away everything and starting over. This isn’t sustainable. We believe constantly iterating is a better way to improve your site. These approaches can help you get started with this approach right away.

  • Optimization: Optimization uses a disciplined A/B testing approach to improve key areas or functionalities on a site. By optimizing key conversion processes (like donation forms), you can drastically improve site performance (we’ve seen conversion increases of up to 208%).
  • Usability Testing: During a usability test, a facilitator will guide a number of real people through actions on a site. By watching the user interact with the site, test observers discover issues that were impossible to detect with analytics.
  • Content Audit: A content audit evaluates your site’s content for quality, quantity and effectiveness. The outcome of a content audit is typically a report with a neat and organized inventory of your content and actionable recommendations for how to start improving it immediately.
  • Content Realignment: Once you’ve gone through the process of testing and optimizing, it sometimes becomes clear that there’s a need for a more drastic effort. This doesn’t always mean a redesign though. We’ve seen success reworking the content across a site without making substantial changes to the design.
  • Visual Refresh: Sometimes you’ll land on the fact that your content really is functioning fine but your dated visuals are degrading the trust that your users have in you. At this point, it’s perfectly OK to embark on some widespread design improvements, even if you don’t change the underlying structure of the site.

All in all, this approach emphasizes diagnosing issues, fixing them, and then investing in enhancements that will have a larger impact on the user experience, and your bottom line. The overall principle is continually building on what has been done before. That type of emphasis can have big results.

When do you need a full redesign?

In certain instances, the amount of effort required to enhance a site is outweighed by the need for something new. At this point, it’s important to move ahead with a full redesign. Here are a few of the factors that could tip off the need for a redesign:

  • Broken code that cannot be fixed without starting over
  • Substantial amounts of missing content and poor site organization that drastically inhibits your ability to tell your organization’s story
  • Design and content that cannot be converted to a mobile responsive site in its current form

Getting started

It’s never too late to get started improving your site. I’d be happy to talk with you about your specific situation if you’d like. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter (@doughj).