Unless you still use a hit counter and the photographer who took the picture you stole for your homepage is threatening to break your legs, you might not need to redesign your website. Nevertheless, many an unscrupulous web design company, or SEO company, will try to convince you that your website needs a complete overhaul, at the thoroughly reasonable price of enough money to fund the college education of every child you’ve ever met.
Not so! Your website is fine, more or less. Your client base has gotten used to the layout and everything seems easy to navigate. Also, making bold and aggressively trendy changes to your website can backfire; sometimes a site can be so cool and unusual that consumers are just confused and unimpressed. So, why are you being bugged constantly about redesigning your site?
Because, there’s money to be made. Business owners just don’t want to be bothered with the details of web design and maintenance, and they entrust design companies with those responsibilities without really knowing what they’re getting for their money.
Taking a Good, Hard Look at Your Website
Of course, if you’re truly unhappy with your website, you shouldn’t let it hang like an anvil around your company’s neck. Maybe your website doesn’t display your company’s extreme hipness to your satisfaction. Perhaps you may be under the impression that your site needs to be totally unique in order to communicate the supremacy of your company. Maybe your website was originally designed by your 14-year-old nephew and now you’re beginning to think that was an unwise decision. In that case, maybe you need to do some research on what’s in and what’s out in the web design world, first.
Your website layout is only one part of your business’ identity. If your website is driving your customer base away in droves, by all means, make some adjustments. However, unless you literally have the worst website in the world, that isn’t your only problem. What, oh what, to do?
If your business is experiencing an extended lull, what you might need is a rebrand.
Whoa, tiger! Didn’t we just say that mere website redesign is a huge and expensive hassle that yields marginal results? Yes, yes we did. However, redesigning your website without particular attention to the modification you will be making to your brand in the process certainly is a waste of money.
Alright, it won’t be exactly easy. Prepare for a long and occasionally painful ordeal, not unlike giving birth. Nonetheless, scrutinizing your whole company’s identity carefully and thoroughly will benefit you in the long run, and you won’t be slapping an extremely expensive band aid on a gaping, severed revenue artery.
Rebranding is not something to be taken lightly. It isn’t cheap, and it isn’t something you should leave in the hands of the inexperienced (and for the love of all that is holy, it’s not the same thing as a logo redesign). You know your company needs a rebrand when your current brand fails to communicate your business’ personality, goals and character, or focuses on an aspect of your business that is no longer relevant. Think very carefully about exactly what you want your brand to accomplish before you begin the process, and ask the following questions:
- Why isn’t my current brand working for me?
- What do I want my new brand to achieve?
- Has my customer base changed significantly?
- Does the customer base I currently have care about my brand?
- Do I know what image I want to convey and how, or am I just desperate to seem culturally relevant?
- Do I have the money?
- Do I want my new brand identity to endure for the next several decades, or am I just latching on to a ridiculous fad?
- Do I really have the money?
These are just a few of the questions that will be important to know you as you begin the process of rebranding. Do yourself a favor: draw up a list of everything – literally, everything – you want your company to be and how you want to be perceived. Avoid vagaries like “edgy,” or “socially responsible.” These terms have turned into buzzwords that communicate nothing about what a business hopes to achieve. The clearer you are about your goals, the more specific your brand identity will be.
You will also want to clarify where your brand needs a major adjustment. Does your logo need to be revamped? To which demographic are you currently marketing your product, and do you feel as though that is no longer appropriate?
Your brand is more than just your company’s ability to stand out in a crowd; it is everything your company stands for. Give it the thoughtful attention it deserves, and it will reward you for years to come; unless, of course, you keep that hit counter on your site. What is it, 1997?