Determining when to scrap a website and rebuild from scratch is one of the most challenging and risky decisions a business owner can make. However, there are times when a revolutionary redesign is the right thing to do.

A few years ago a well-known conversion optimization guru named Chris Goward, began speaking on the subject of Evolutionary Site Redesign (ESR). His theory was, and still is, the correct and most effective method of redesigning a website is by A-B testing incremental updates over time to determine what changes result in lifts in conversions and ROI.

The opposite of ESR is redesigning an entire website in one shot. This is often referred to as Revolutionary Site Redesign (RSR). As we explained in a recent article, there are major downfalls to opting for an epic site redesign. In short, changing too much too soon can make it impossible to determine what changes have negative or positive impacts.

That being said, you’re probably asking why, if RSR is so awful, why would anyone choose to do it? The answer is, sometimes a site is just so bad or outdated that a complete reboot is the only option.

When to Opt for a Revolutionary Website Redesign

Analytics Data Proves Your Site Is Failing
The easiest method of determining if your website is worth salvaging, is by reviewing analytics data to determine whether or not the site is driving sales and ROI. Are certain pages or tools failing to produce results? Is the site as a whole not generating business?

If you’re at all concerned about a site overhaul negatively impacting conversions, it’s better to gather conclusive analytics data before making any changes. Even small updates can lead to drastic increases or decreases in engagement. Changing too much too soon can spell disaster, so tread with caution.

Outdated User Experience
Trends and technology are the drivers of how websites look and feel. When social media blew up, everyone rushed to integrate social buttons, widgets and feeds. When responsive design arrived on the scene, layouts began changing for mobile adaptation.

If your site was built many years ago and hasn’t been updated since, there’s a strong chance your front-end user experience lacks many features and tools that are necessary to drive engagement and conversions.

A well-designed user experience considers the way all components work together to achieve business goals. This means everything from visual elements to content to technical integrations must work in harmony. This type of experience can’t be haphazardly patched together. It requires upfront research, planning and a thorough understanding of what your users need.

Change in Business Model
As online businesses grow they often change brand positioning and/or introduce products and services intended for new audience segments. This can trigger the need for the introduction of major website updates, including revamped navigational structure, creation of new user funnels, revamped content strategy and development of proprietary features.

For many businesses, their website is the number one sales tool and most effective catalyst for facilitating brand recognition and consumer loyalty. As business models shift, it’s critical to ensure your website effectively speaks to each type of user, in order to ensure maximum potential for driving conversions and ROI.

Revolutionary site redesign allows you to start fresh and reinvent the way your online looks, feels and works to empower your online business.

Benefits of Revolutionary Website Redesign (RWR)

Chance to re-align website with current business goals
A change in business model typically includes updating creative, content, marketing and sales strategies, all of which have profound impacts on the design of your website. Your website should reflect who you are now, not yesterday. Otherwise you’ll miss valuable opportunities for growth.

Allows for introduction of modern trends and technology
The web has changed drastically over the past several years. From mobile optimization to integration of streaming video and social media feeds, users now expect websites to wow them. Static desktop-oriented sites, for example, stick out like a sore thumb, and are a sure way to give your audience the impression you’re stuck in the past.

Updated look and feel
A visual redesign is recommended every 2-3 years to keep the digital face of your brand fresh, on-trend and appealing to your audience. Your site is an online brochure and one of your most effective sales tools, so it should work as hard as possible to impress anyone who sees it.

SEO implications
As Google continues to roll out major algorithm updates, websites need to evolve to ensure they abide by the latest guidelines and best practices. An older site built prior to the latest Google updates, may lack proper on-site SEO structure or use old-school tactics now deemed to be “black hat”.

Some examples are:
– lack of a “flat” site architecture: e.g. too many clicks to get to internal pages
– lack of proper page hierarchy
– improper URL structure
– lack of proper meta data (title tags, heading tags and meta descriptions)
-spammy footer or sidebar links
– too many outbound links to external websites
– overuse of keywords
– hidden text
– duplicate content

by Fuze June 25, 2015