November 7, 2011

Part I – Website Diagnostic: Is it time for a redesign?

I recently had a conversation with a company that didn’t land a project because their website didn’t communicate with the prospective client. It was a blow, but they learned a valuable lesson about taking a passive approach to managing their web presence.

Clients often ask me how many years they can expect to get out of their websites. It’s totally understandable.  You just invested considerable time, energy, and resources to design a website that positions your business in a competitive landscape, and you want it to have a long shelf life.  How long will these efforts pay off?

Instead of averaging the number of years most clients go between partial redesigns or complete overhauls, or spitting out a response based on supposed best practices, I think it’s more helpful to address this question with a set of criteria that educate and empower you to evaluate whether your site needs a spit-shine or a more substantial intervention.

Some of the many reasons to redesign your site are:

  • It no longer reflects the firm’s identity, mission, and strengths.
  • It doesn’t adequately differentiate this mission and these strengths from your competition.
  • It doesn’t accurately or fully describe the services you offer or markets you serve.
  • You get negative feedback about the content, organization or user experience from visitors to the site.
  • You are rethinking the role and responsibility of the website in the marketing mix.

If you found yourself nodding in agreement to any of these points, then it’s time to plan and prepare for a refresh, at minimum.  These benchmarks address the effectiveness of your website as a marketing tool, and they are moving targets. An analysis of your competitors’ websites might reveal that yours no longer sufficiently differentiates your approach, or you may have developed a new vertical and the website content is pitched towards other markets that are now in decline.  Whatever the case, if your website doesn’t hit these benchmarks, then it isn’t helping clients understand your value or distinguish you from other firms they might consider.  While your website rarely lands a project, it can certainly lose one for your team. Drop by next week for additional criteria that will help you evaluate the efficacy of your website!


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