When should I update my website?
Your website should be a living breathing entity, that constantly changes with your business goals, user needs, technology, and design trends. You can learn a lot about this in our post about Growth Driven Design. It is best to keep on top of these things, rather than letting your site fall by the wayside.
Doing Growth Driven Design can prove to be cheaper and more effective in the long run. This is because you can focus your initial efforts on a redesign, and continue to iterate on what you created, rather than doing a large scale redesign every couple years. Sure, that might be necessary at some point down the road, but GDD will definitely increase the shelf life of your site.
What should I update when I do make changes?
Your site should focus on being useful for the user, and in doing so needs to adjust with their changing mindset. You can use things like Google Analytics to track site performance, and see what areas of your site are working and what areas of your site are falling short. Once you figure out how to decode your analytics (which you can learn about in a previous post), you can take that information and prioritize change.
These changes can include:
Creating New Content
You can do customer and keyword research to figure out what people are looking for, and create new pages, products, blogs, white papers, ebooks, and more to engage customers and show thought leadership. This is also really important in terms of SEO, where creating good content is the key to success.
Another aspect of this is updating things like news, or the home page. This shows people you are actively engaged, and constantly refining. There is nothing worse than going to a site and seeing something from months ago in a hero spot on the home page. Being active makes your site more trustworthy, and builds your credibility in your industry.
If your engagement is down, you can try using a new voice or tone to appeal to people, or sending a new message to get your ideas across. Another aspect of this is in slight brand design tweaks. For example, making a color change is something that can easily be done in the code, and applied universally. You can try things out to see what sticks.
Design is important from a usability standpoint. You want to make sure things work, and fix them if they dont. I am not saying you need to update your design every day, but you should be keeping track of site performance and modern design trends to make sure your site doesn’t become dated. This is more of an issue for older sites than something that has been redesigned recently.
In some instances, small tweaks to fonts and colors can be enough to have a great impact. Like mentioned before, this can be done in the code and applied universally. With this, you can make bulk updates, and focus on making larger changes to key pages.
That said, even with GDD, a total redesign will be necessary at some point because of changes in your business, markets, customer profiles, and technology. GDD will make this process easier though, because you will have following best practices in site upkeep, so you will already be set up for success in a number of areas.