“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” ~ Mark Twain
We all want the perfect website. But the reality is that ‘perfection’ is a journey and websites are virtually always in need of improvement.
In years past, this generally demanded constant redesign and reinvention from the ground up to create the optimal experience. But this traditional approach to website design of completely rebuilding your website is not always necessary—or even ideal—anymore.
Your site is like a garden. It’s not finished once planted and buds start to show: it requires consistent tending and support to grow it alongside evolutions in the market and to your business. Fortunately, technology for key platforms like Drupal and Wordpress has improved to the point that most websites no longer no longer need to be rebuilt from scratch every 3-4 years.
In this article, we’ll explore why, how and when an approach of continuous improvement is better than a complete redesign.
Building resilience and sustainability
We recently looked at how a dedicated and proactive approach to maintenance benefits your website once it goes live. We also noted that maintenance activities often get short shrift from many agencies.
While a portion of the job of maintenance is corrective or reactive, proactively improving your website is crucial to ensuring it is healthy and resilient. This can only be done through ongoing incremental improvements.
It also keeps your website secure, more durable and up to date. While a complete rebuild may take as much as a year to complete, small changes made during the lifecycle of your website can incorporate new technologies needed to meet user expectations in a fraction of that time. A philosophy of continuous improvement ensures you are always providing the optimal experience, while maximizing your budget and providing a greater return on investment than a full redesign.
Strategy first and foremost
Of course, every decision made about your website needs to be aligned with your business goals. To that end, iterations made must always circle back to your web strategy.
Just as your website needed during its initial development, each iteration must start with a clear strategy and measurable objectives. These objectives could include elements like improving SEO, security, user experience and performance or adding new features altogether. And, of course, every iteration must be consistent with insights from your data. What is the journey you are intending to have your customers and partners take when coming to your site - is it working? How does it need to be tweaked?
How your website is performing against these metrics lets you know whether it’s time to upgrade.
When do you need to make an iteration?
It is not as daunting as you might worry. Continual improvement doesn’t mean continuous non-stop change. It starts and stops as needed, constantly improving your website to meet new requirements or align with new objectives as part of regular website maintenance.
A few key metrics can help you know whether your website needs improvement:
- Are your users finding what they are looking for?
- Do your calls to action generate leads?
- Can your administrators edit and publish content easily and flexibly?
- Have new features and integrations improved the efficiency of your processes?
- Are you keeping up with what your competitors are doing with their web presence?
- Do your website and content effectively tell your story?
Of course, major changes in your organization and industry should be significant reasons to evolve your website too.
And back to strategy
As noted earlier, perfecting your website is a never-ending, always-improving journey. It must be viewed in an agile way; once you or your agency have implemented improvements to your website, they must be tested against your objectives, and you must circle back to your web strategy—which itself changes over time.
Of course, there are times when a full redesign or replatforming is needed (ex: Platform end of life, major change in your organization’s strategy, website is 7+ years old). Fortunately, we at Symetris can help with both.
With more than 17 years of experience designing and supporting more than 400 websites, our team of experts can audit and evaluate whether a redesign is needed. You may learn, like most of our recent clients have, that small improvements provide the impact needed to achieve your business goals while making the most of your digital budget.
Want to learn more?
Get in touch with one of our experts to find out more. We can analyze your current situation and help you determine what you need to succeed.