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Web design is dead long live web evolution

People have been talking for years about web design being dead because of web templates, mobile usage and social media.

We don’t think that is necessarily the case, although we are suggesting that the traditional web design project is dead and now web evolution is the approach that companies should be taking to get the best performing websites that not only rank well on the search engines but also convert better and drive more value.

Why your website needs to be constantly evolving

Essentially websites should be constantly evolving rather than ‘redesigned’ in the traditional sense, i.e. a one off project that sucks time and energy out of the client.

The Usual Process
The standard website redesign project involves a lengthy design process for every conceivable page template design where several rounds of iterations take place, with input from a number of different stakeholders – who can sometimes have opposing priorities and opinions. As well as the aesthetics of the website, the design also needs to be considered from an SEO and usability perspective to ensure that customers and Google bots alike will be able to navigate it easily. This is followed by the creation of all the copy (which then has to be optimised and signed off) and a lengthy build and testing process.  Websites can easily take three to six months from conception to completion.

Then after the all the hard work everything builds in excitement as launch day approaches but often this ends up being later than forecasted or with larger costs than first expected. The site finally goes live, how exciting! Until you realise that it is now out of date – maybe in terms of the way that customers use the website; the product ranges or services you are offering; or even the vision of the company has changed and so the website is no longer as relevant as it was a year ago at the start of the design process.  This is particularly a problem for e-commerce businesses or large multinationals, as the sheer volume of work required for the site  build- and in some cases the amount of red tape that there is- can end up pushing the deadline back further and further.

The Launch
But the site is live, it’s finished so at least now everyone can get back to business as usual can’t they? Unfortunately not, as problems do crop up which need fixing and websites need to be maintained with technical updates to keep them working, as well as being regularly updated with fresh content to stay relevant in the users and Google’s eyes.This can lead to companies finding themselves in a responsive firefighting mode, reverse engineering changes to the website to try and not spend any more money but still keep the website up to date.

This is the old way of managing a high performing website.  Instead you should treat it more like a bricks and mortar shop, with regular tests and changes to keep it looking fresh and to maximise user flow and sales. Consider your website to be an evolving sales and marketing tool that is constantly changing depending on client needs, what you learn from your data and your marketing strategy.

The New Way
This requires a change in the way that we think about designing and building websites and how you budget for them; rather than thinking ‘we need a new website, so let’s get a quote for a whole new site’, instead consider the budget you want to put aside in order to keep your website continuously evolving.  You should set aside a budget each month then you can have an always up-to-date website that works for you and for Google, in a more manageable way than having to pay a much bigger one off cost (that, as we saw above, isn’t actually one off!). This can be much more cost effective and less stressful than a complete rebuild, and it is better for your digital marketing as well.

If you want any more information about this strategy, how we run these types of projects and how we link it to our digital marketing strategy for a more holistic approach to marketing then get in touch with us.

Alternatively for more website SEO advice, see our recent blog on the importance of web speed.