When should you relaunch a website (and what does relaunch mean, anyway)?

There are many things that it’s not a good idea to share on social media. And near the top of my list would be the words ‘check out our new website’.

You may have spent months (even years) agonising over content, design and functionality; watching the new site being built; testing it (you do test it, don’t you?) and finally signing it off. It’s an exciting day when your new website goes live. Does anyone else care? Well, sorry, but the answer is ‘probably not’.

Boats in Beer

If your new website is good, your users probably won’t even notice, unless a) they have had a bad experience with one of your competitors, b) it is genuinely outstanding, or c) they are in the digital media business.

So, if that’s the case, why should you relaunch your website? Here are some possible reasons.

  • People aren’t visiting it or, when they do, they don’t stick around.
  • It’s so buggy that it’s embarrassing.
  • The content is out of date.
  • The suppliers who built it won’t support the technology any more. Or have gone out of business. Or are just too expensive to continue working with.
  • Users are not doing what you want them to.
  • The design looks old-fashioned (and you only built it five years ago!).

There are, of course, ways around some of these problems that don’t involve creating a completely new website. A good ‘refresh’ can create the effect of a relaunch with less cost and effort.

You can update content fairly easy, but in the course of doing so you may find that the site structure doesn’t feel right any more. You can change the look and feel of the website through tweaking your style sheets, but you may then find that you need more radical changes. You can pay a helpful web developer to sort out the bugs, but be prepared for the knock-on effect. You can get more visitors to the site through SEO (search engine optimisation) or SEM (search engine marketing), but that’s no good if they don’t find what they want when they get there. When all else fails, it may be time to start again from scratch.

Then there’s the other reason. The ones listed above are negatives but there can be a positive reason for a website relaunch too: because you have a vision of a better way to communicate with your target audience. And that is something you can allow yourself to be excited about, whatever anyone else may think.


Posted in Websites
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