How Often Should a Business Update Their Website?
Working in a digital agency, you’d probably assume I’m biased towards when a business should design a new website. The truth is, it’s always subjective depending on the business involved.
However, I wondered if website redesigns are cyclical, and whether there’s an accepted period of time before a business considers a redesign.
So I recently posed this question to my connections on LinkedIn:
How often do you think a business should redesign their website?
I tagged an analogy along with the post, which compared websites to cars:
‘should they be updated every few years, or replaced when they’re run into the ground?’
There were two very interesting sides to the comments I received, one from a marketing perspective, and another from branding. Here are some of the best comments:
"It's mostly subjective depending upon the needs of your business. If your site is serving its purpose and you're where you want to be in organic search results then why change? Your analytics should give you a good guide as to what's working well and what might need attention."
Geraint Watts - Customer Success Lead Manager at Lead Forensics
"You will update your website when you have a reason to i.e. Your old one isn't performing, it's become out of date, you're rebranding, you're experiencing software issues. But if your site is still current and working for you, why would you change it?"
Paul Smith - Marketing Executive at Steroplast
"Companies need to evolve their offering and methods of communication and engagement over time. This shouldn't be changed for change's sake though."
Ian Scott - Business Development at Instinct Laboratory
These responses come from some incredibly experienced people in the marketing industry, whose responses all revolve around the same theme: if you’re getting results, why change?
However, seeing this from another angle was branding guru Mike McGowan, who shared his opinion:
"An evolving business is, in general terms, a healthy business. So in a bid to be seen as remaining relevant to their market and their customers, it's good practice to continually review how that brand is being communicated through its online presence.
However, when I see a company relaunching its third or fourth, online 're-imagination', in as many years, I'd be inclined to question whether that business actually ever knew who they are in terms of a brand."
Mike McGowan - Creative Director at Applied Digital
It certainly raises an interesting point, and one I think could be defined by a company’s sales cycle. For example - if ASOS updated their website once a year, because their target audience visit frequently, the change would potentially be well received because any update would be based on data to improve experience, and in truth, cause less friction due to the profile of the brand.
Compare that to even a moderately high-traffic B2B website, whose average order values would be much higher, but order frequency significantly less than the B2C equivalent, an update could affect these visitors more noticeably.
Simply put, if someone visits your website once a year, and it doesn’t have some form of continuity with their last visit, I imagine it would be incredibly easy for them to return to Google and search for a competitor.
So, how often should you update your website?
As with everything in business, it depends on your circumstances.
Markets can move quickly, resulting in a need to keep pace with the competition.
Equally, websites (and branding!) can leave a high-performing legacy that’s difficult to replace.
Coming back to the overriding feeling from the marketing perspective above, ‘why change?’, you should constantly be improving your website.
Whether that’s through CRO or simply writing new copy, resting on the laurels of existing performance can slow growth. Learning how to identify what works, and how to apply that to the rest of your website is the key.
And from a branding perspective, Mike shared a much-needed truth-bomb. Brand has huge value, and is a significant driver of long-term sales when done right. Aligning your company with an image your audience will respond to is a challenge, but once you’ve discovered that crucial piece of the puzzle, it should be protected.
If we come back to my analogy - whether you replace your car every few years or run an existing one into the ground, you’re likely to spend the same amount of money either way. A larger outlay for the latest updates or frequent smaller spends repairing poor performance.
The only difference is that if you buy new, you’ll be getting the latest technology, insights and performance, that will likely convert more users than an old website.
If you'd like some advice on next steps for your website, give us a call on 01484 30 20 10 or contact our web development team here.
A quick thank you to: