When it comes to website redesign, every few years this becomes a business necessity. Not only does a fresh website help reinvigorate you and help you take the business in a naturally new direction, but it also gives customers and fans something to talk about. A great website redesign can almost feel like an upgrade to the business and can help the business take a deeper look at its positioning, targeting and segmenting of customers.
But is it better to launch a completely new website or to slowly improve your existing one in stages as a gradual evolution?
The function of a website is to showcase what the business can do or sell. If you have changed something major about your business that would affect most pages on your website, there’s no point in gradually making the changes as this could have an impact on your business. A gradual evolution works best for when you only want to change some aspects in particular. For example, the NetEnt website changed its Free Slots page to focus on free spins and their new offering. Closing the entire website would be redundant while these specific product changes were being made, so a gradual evolution based on changes to the product or service made more sense here.
A gradual evolution also enables pages to be updated and shared across social media, especially in response to the ever-changing business world. A business is supposed to be there to respond to consumer issues and to solve a problem, so being able to constantly update and reflect the changing nature of consumer problems is also key. The blog page is regularly updated, with little effect to the functionality of the website, so keeping the website maintained to perform the function that it was designed for is important.
The main argument for a sudden change of website is so that shock marketing works to attract attention and can give the business something exciting to talk about across PR channels and social media. A major rebranding, such as the John Lewis rebrand to John Lewis & Partners required some tweaking across the entire website, so would have resulted in an overnight sudden change. This means that the entire website offering can be analyzed and changes can be made in keeping with the growth of the business. As the major change was that of the brand name, this would have resulted in some careful reading of every mention of the brand to ensure it considered the new brand name where necessary.
However, some argue that a sudden change requires the website to be down for maintenance. This means that the website will be offline for some time, which risks customers quickly finding a different company to buy their goods or services from. Even if they end up coming bak to you, they have been exposed to a new brand, which might eventually win them over in the long run. While social media can mitigate against this and some forward planning can fix any issues, there will be some who slip through the cracks while the website is down for maintenance.
Whether you take the website down and change most of the pages or just do it gradually depends on the reason for changing the website. Either way, ensuring that the website is running at an optimal level to perform its key function is crucial.