It’s sad to say, but nothing lasts forever – especially not web sites. Even if nothing is particularly wrong or broken, changes in technology and usage make it worthwhile to revisit your online “front door” every few years. In our experience, web sites need to be refreshed every three to five years.
You can probably think of the most common signs that it’s time to rebuild a web site. We’d like to share a few of the lesser-known (but no less important) reasons.
1) Maximum Mobility
Plain and simple, everyone is mobile nowadays. The shift to mobile just in the last year or two has been massive, and now you simply can’t ignore the mobile experience. Even if you spend most of the day in front of a big desktop monitor, does your old site work at all on mobile devices? Does the site just sort of work on mobile widgets? Or worse, do mobile visitors get shuffled off to a threadbare mobile site, with no way back to something that sort of works? The new standard is “responsive” — sites that automagically rework themselves to look great on whatever device they’re being viewed on. The same site can take advantage of the space available on huge desktop screens or morph into a finger-friendly mobile layout.
2) Increased Importance
Up until recently, there were still a few holdouts who still weren’t sure this whole internet fad was here to stay. Maybe your boss was one of them, and the penny-pinching on your old site is now painfully obvious. Time marches on, CEOs fall in love with their smart phones, and Board members become attached to their iPads. Suddenly the web site is a real priority now, and not just an extra expense. It’s still a bargain — you can build a killer web site for less than it costs to remodel the restrooms in a branch — but it might be easier to get the budgetary breathing room to do it right.
3) Organizational Opportunity
Back in ye olden days (you know, 2013) it was common to find people who thought a web site “belonged” to the IT/IS department, along with everything else that involved computers. So instead of marketing driving the boat, you end up with IT making the decisions, and thus web sites only a programmer could love. Web sites, of course, belong firmly with Marketing — they represent your brand online, and they’re one of the primary ways you communicate with members. When the org chart shifts, it’s a perfect time to overhaul your online presence.
4) Cast Changes
On a related note, perhaps there are a few new name tags around the management table. Chances are, a newly promoted or hired exec is going to have a fresher perspective and might be more open to making some decisions on the web site.
5) Wild Weather
Are you dealing with some unusual challenges? Are there storms on the horizon? A strong web site can actually help steady the boat. We’ve found that a new web site often sparks a revitalization of a brand and helps drive the brand into the future. Among many other things, a web site is a big, public brand statement, something to be proud of, a rallying point.