How often should a website be redesigned?

On average, companies redesign their websites every three years. This is a commonly repeated fact in web design circles, but it’s tough to find the source for this data.

Search Google and you’ll find a variety of opinions on how long a company should wait before redesigning their website. “Anecdotal evidence confirms site redesign every two to three years,” says one site. “Most companies undergo a redesign every 6 months to 2 years,” says another. Yet another site references a survey that found that “…a large percent of marketers (68%) feel that a website should be redesigned every 1-3 years.”

While I’ve heard many people say that you should redesign a website every three years, my quick Google search suggests that the assertions on the “facts” regarding site redesign frequency and even the sage counsel from the experts on this topic is all over the board.

So when should you redesign your website? How often should you redesign a corporate website?

The answer is easy: redesign your website when it sucks.

That’s right. If your website sucks, redesign it. It’s that simple.

How to Tell If a Website Sucks

A website sucks if:

  • Lead Gen Is Sub-Par. If the website isn’t driving leads and new business at the rate it should, then is sucks. In this era, every business should be getting meaningful business results from their web presence. If you are not, you are missing out on sales that could be yours.
  • It Looks Unprofessional, Poorly Designed or Downright Ugly. If you are trying to look like a powerful, thriving big company and your website looks like it was designed by a ten-year old and is so ugly that the average person cannot stand being on it for more than a second, then it sucks.
  • The Messaging and Prioritization Is Out of Date. If your business model, your messaging, your offerings and/or your priorities have changed and your website has never been updated to reflect the change in thinking, then it sucks.
  • It’s Impossible to Update Unless You Work in IT. If the reason your website stinks is because nobody in Marketing can easily make updates to the site, then your website sucks. Modern-day websites are built on easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) software that makes them easy to maintain. If yours is not, redesign your site ASAP and put it on a good CMS.
  • It Cannot Be Found. I’ve seen some decent looking sites that were built by talented web designers who didn’t understand the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The site looks great, but nobody ever sees it because it doesn’t show up in Google’s search results for keywords that actually matter. So, yeah, a site can look nice but still suck.

Is the Decision to Redesign a Website Art or Science?

Some of the above sounds subjective, and, to a certain extent, it is. When we do marketing assessments for our clients, we conduct interviews with executives and other staff members, and one of the questions we always ask is: “What do you think of your website?”

I’m always surprised that one executive will say “I think our website is fine,” while another will say “Our website is the worst. We need to trash it and start over.”

That’s right. The exact same website — with wildly divergent views on its merit and value to the organization!

The reality is that many people are not qualified to judge how good a website is. That’s why we’ve developed a series of diagnostic projects to assess website quality — everything from lead gen assessments to SEO assessments to content audits. Since a website is only as good as its ability to deliver on a website strategy, developing website strategies is also an important part of what we do. But we are not alone. There are plenty of other talented digital marketing consultants out there who can give you an expert assessment as to whether your website sucks or not.

So what’s the bottomline? If in fact it’s been three years since you redesigned your website, there’s a high probability that you need to redesign it. But if you are not sure — or if you think the website needs a redesign but others in your organization disagree — then it would be a smart move to bring in some experts for an objective website review and assessment.

With that expert, objective perspective in hand, you’ll know exactly where you stand, what you need to do next, and how it will be beneficial to your organization.