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The Lifespan of a Website: When to Redesign for Digital Relevance

Did you realize websites have a lifespan or what I refer to as a shelf-life?

Just like product packaging is continually being updated to meet consumers’ changing needs and perceptions, websites, too, require change… and much sooner than you think.

Many business owners and executives ignore implementing a website upgrade within their organizations due to the resources required to make it happen. These include financial, time, creative assets required, technological knowledge, and staffing. Further, some executives are seldom convinced a website redesign is necessary, especially since they invested thousands of dollars in a new site, for example, five years earlier, and the business site seems sufficient for current needs.

As someone who has led several global website overhauls, I understand the challenges and rewards. I’ve seen eyes roll or have heard the quiet sigh from overworked staff when a portion of this task lands on their to-do list. For them, it’s the work they hate to love, but staff members end up genuinely engaged in the process because of their impact on the overall company story.

Crux also delays engaging in its website refreshment for similar reasons. It takes extra work, yet our equally sophisticated competitors will outperform us in the digital landscape if we don’t refresh our site. For us, it’s the work we love to hate, and it pushes us to stay abreast of design and technological changes in the digital ecosystem.

Even if the C-suite hesitates to pursue a website refresh due to past or future investments, your business’s virtual storefront must adapt to the changing times. Like any other technology, new websites have a lifespan. Understanding when to redesign and update your site is critical to ensuring it remains effective and engaging, catering to your discerning audience’s evolving demands. So, let’s dive in to understand.

The Crucial Role of a Website

As you know, a website is the primary interface for potential customers in the modern era. Its impact and relevance diminish over time, just like any other technology or product.

Understanding the Lifespan

The useful lifespan of a new website — about 2-3 years – depends on design trends, technology shifts, user behavior changes, and evolving business goals. I’ll delve into these factors with examples and discuss five indicators that signal the need for a website refresh.

Design Trends: Staying Fresh

In the realm of design and user experience, trends change rapidly. A site that once impressed visitors may now seem outdated. Keeping up with design trends is crucial to make an impression on your audience and maintain credibility. For instance, a client experiencing declining sales due to an outdated design witnessed a surge in leads and positive feedback.

Another client’s site looked outdated and clunky. It was fundamentally acceptable for that industry, but a simple aesthetic refresh not only created a boost in employee pride, but customers found the site easier to navigate and understand because the modern look guided the user experience.

Technological Advancements: The Tech Factor

The dynamic nature of technology drives website evolution. An outdated website built on old technology can suffer from slow loading times, compatibility issues, and security vulnerabilities. These affect visitor attraction and your online reputation.

Despite its groundbreaking product and service offerings, a technology association client needed help attracting sponsorship and a new audience. After upgrading the site’s platform and redesigning it with new creative assets and content, its credibility skyrocketed, resulting in audience and revenue growth.

User Behavior: Adapting to the Audience

Understanding your audience’s online behavior is the key to unlocking a captivating user experience. With the rise of mobile devices and voice search, websites must adapt to these changes. Neglecting these shifts leads to missed opportunities and reduced user engagement.

A local travel agency noticed declining traffic due to an unresponsive mobile site. A mobile-first redesign revived their online presence and increased travel bookings significantly.

Business Objectives: Growing with Goals

As your business evolves, so do your goals. A website aligned with your current brand message, products or services, and conversion goals highlights business agility.

A Milwaukee consulting firm recently expanded its service offerings into new industries. A revamped website displaying the client’s expertise across new sectors led to attracting diverse clients, boosting growth and brand recognition.

Indicators for a Redesign

Recognizing when your website has reached its lifespan is a strategic move to keep your digital storefront relevant. Consider these five indicators as your guiding compass:

Outdated Design

If your website design resembles a bygone era rather than a contemporary standard, it’s time to hit the refresh button. A modernized layout and updated visuals are like a fresh coat of paint that immediately grabs the attention of your visitors.

Poor User Experience

High bounce rates and short time-on-site metrics indicate that your website may fail to meet visitors’ needs. Some businesses don’t care about this, but it’s essential. If users are leaving your site quickly, explore why. A website update enhances user experience and encourages meaningful interactions like providing exceptional customer service in a physical store.

Mobile Responsiveness Issues

With an ever-increasing number of mobile users, a non-responsive website is like a closed door to potential customers. Embrace the mobile-first philosophy, and your website becomes a welcoming and inclusive space accessible from any device.

Slow Loading Speed

Patience may be a virtue, but online visitors only sometimes have time to spare. If your website takes an eternity to load – beyond 5 seconds depending on the device —  it’s probably losing potential customers to your swifter competitors.

Changing Business Goals

Your business is a living entity, and your website should reflect its evolution. If your digital presence no longer accurately represents your brand identity or the products and services you offer, a thoughtful reevaluation and content update are in order.

Regular updates and redesigns are necessary to keep up with design trends, technology advancements, user behavior changes, and evolving business goals. Like your devices and software, websites need upgrades within 2-3 years. By investing in and planning for these changes in your marketing strategies, you can maintain a robust online presence and continue delivering value to your audience.

Has your current website reached its lifespan and effectiveness? When was the last time you checked? Contact your digital marketing partner to discuss an upgrade.

If resources are a concern, consider partnering with Crux because we regularly update, refresh, and rebuild websites.

Paula Weigel

Paula Weigel is the VP of Strategic Growth and Marketing at Crux Creative and serves on the advisory board of VRAR Chicago. Her career spans over 20+ years working primarily in B2B design, marketing, and sales from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups. In Crux’s Watercooler, she offers practical advice on the latest trends that impact design and marketing initiatives.