Yeah, good question, the answer …. not so easy.
Should you be thinking in terms of weeks, months or years? Maybe you should be guided by other factors like, your competitors sites, your own satisfaction or more importantly your readers or customers feedback, or lack of?
There’s no one definitive answer, the litmus test really is a combination of all of the above.
I’ve compiled a short list of eye openers that are signals that it could be time for you to seriously look at a redesign.
Can you easily update your site?
If the reason you haven’t redesigned or updated your site recently is because you haven’t got the time or don’t have the knowledge, then your site may not be installed on a content management system (CMS).
A web developer could install your existing site on a CMS or could start from scratch with a custom design. WordPress is my CMS of choice, and I’m not alone. WordPress now powers 20% of all websites on the internet. A CMS enabled website makes it easier for you to add content to your site without coding knowledge. I would suggest, however, for more complex changes that are not basic updates, that you allow your developer a few hours to create some magic for you.
Do all of the functions on your site work?
There’s nothing more annoying than clicking on a feature or function of a website and then be faced with, at best a page telling you that this page or feature is no longer available, or worst still, to be faced with …. nothing. Update these, remove them or fix them. Don’t just leave it for months until even you can’t remember what it was referring to.
Do you have social media links and share buttons on your site, do they work, do they look classy and not too obtrusive? Check these out and update or redesign them, if you can’t do that then add them into your developers list.
Are you responsive?
If you haven’t read my previous article on responsive design then take a look. Websites these days are viewed on everything from your TV screen to your smartphone. Does your website look as attractive viewed on an iPod touch as it does viewed on a large desktop? If you can’t say ‘yeah, rock on’ to that question, then you should at least consider getting a developer to look at changing it to be responsive to all screen sizes. Mobile web viewing is exploding at the moment and if your site needs to be pinched and zoomed and moved in every direction on the screen, your viewers are going to go elsewhere.
How does your site stack up against others using new design trends and technology?
Go back 5 years or more and the majority of websites looked cluttered and intimidating. How’s yours looking? The design trends these days are favouring the use of ‘white space’ and ‘flat-design’. The advent of technology such as HTML5 and CSS3 mean that actions and appearances that were dependant on other codes being applied are no longer needed.
At the end of the day it’s your decision. The points above are just a guide to help you look at your site critically. There are a lot of other tell tale signs as well, speed is another one. How long does your site take to load on a smartphone?
My guess is that if you’ve read down this far, the chances are that some of the points above apply to you. If so then, if you can’t do it yourself, it may be time you called a web developer to look over your site and make some suggestions.
You may not need a complete new site but it’s worth that call before you’re relegated to one of those sites that we all click on, then off again, in the blink of an eye.