You’ve finally mustered up the courage to say it. “Hi [insert boss’ name], sorry to catch you in-between meetings, but I think we need a new website”. You said it with confidence. A masterclass performance. That’s all said and done surely. But no.
“Why do we need to redesign the website?”
“What’s wrong with the existing one?”
That’s when you realise that it might not have been so easy after all.
Convincing the stakeholders with power to approve of a change is always a challenge and you need the data and arguments to back your decisions up.
Justifying a website redesign is no different, with it’s own considerations and unique arguments for and against it. But there are some key arguments you can turn to time and time again to move the odds in your favour.
So if you’re looking to get your website redesign project up and running, read on to hear what management are thinking when they respond to your request and some of the key arguments you should be making.
Understanding management’s perspective
Dale Carnegie’s famous book, How to win friend’s and influence people, touches on how important it is to see things from the other party’s perspective and the value in referencing their interests in your argument.
It’s the same when talking to management. Before you go in to stake your claim for a website redesign, you need be able to understand and address their needs while doing it.
Reasons management would say “no”:
- “It’s going to cost money”:
Their thoughts: A website redesign may not be cost effective. We don’t see how it could feasibly improve the bottom line or goal achievement. It would be outside of the existing budget for that department.
- “It’s going to take time”:
Their thoughts: We can’t see ourselves finding the time for the project. The scope is too large to be achieved in the timeframe requested.
- “It’s not a priority”:
Their thoughts: It’s not possible to prioritise it against the other projects we have going on. It can’t be done anytime soon. Other channels matter more to our objectives than our website.
- They don’t understand the metrics:
Their thoughts: How does bounce rate/site speed/time-on-page affect our ability to meet objectives and our bottom line?
- “We can do what you’re requesting with the current site”:
Their thoughts: The current website can achieve our goals, we don’t need to outlay for a new website.
Make sure you recognise these possible pain points before using any of the below arguments. With these points in mind, lets move on to the reasons you should use.
Justifying your website redesign project:
1. Bottom Line Metrics
Why it’s important: If your company is driven/supported by revenues from your website or are looking to expand revenues through your online platform, your conversions will have an even bigger spotlight on them. If your website is holding back your conversions growing and targets being met, this can be detrimental to multiple departments and the health of the business overall.
Key Metrics / Arguments:
- Web conversions (% that complete purchases, sign up etc).
- Button clicks
- Behaviour Flow (Google Analytics)
- Comments from user reviews/mystery shoppers/internal user testing
How a redesign can be argued: Low conversion rates are the most commonly cited reason for a website redesign. To demonstrate how your website redesign is business critical for your organisation, justifying your business health through data is a must. If people are abandoning their cart, having lower order values, not taking on your cross-selling opportunities, you can harness metrics around your web conversion funnel for help.
Pointing towards add to basket and checkout metrics for e-commerce can be immediate tell-tale signs, while assessing objectives like ‘Book a Call/Demo’ over time can indicate your website might need a refresh or UX reevaluation to begin increasing volumes.
Navigating to different pages as part of your funnel can also be indicative of a redesign being needed. If people are tuning out during stages of your funnel, content or navigation could be a problem that needs investigating. Using screen recording tools and metrics like Google Analytics Behaviour Flow, you can visually display to management how people are tuning out and why your case for a redesign is valid.
2. General User Experience Metrics
Why it’s important: Your website needs to act like a brochure for what you offer and be a good reflection of the company. If pages take too long to load, pages are too long and full of information, or aren’t optimised for different screen sizes, they will all affect how your customer engages with your site, and their view of your company.
Bad site UX also has knock on affect on how your website ranks in search engines, meaning you’ll rank lower based on your metrics.
Key Metrics / Arguments:
- Screen recordings
- Page speeds
- Bounce rates
- Devices used to access the website
- SEO rankings
How a redesign can be argued: Poor UX is said to cause 89% of users to move to a competitors site, so it’s well worth paying attention to how your visitors use your website. The financial implications of poor UX is well documented, with IBM even stating that every dollar spent on UX delivers an ROI of 10x to 100x. To demonstrate your user’s struggle with your site, present to stakeholders your case for a website redesign with visual indicators like screen recordings to illustrate authentic customer journeys. Recordings which show difficulty navigating, confusion around text and buttons, may all warrant a conversation around redesign work. Pair these with statistics like bounce rates (% of users who leave after visiting just one page) and page speeds to show the affect of poor UX on achieving company objectives.
Considerations can also be made here to point to ineffective content or formats as displayed on the site, or how it presents itself on other devices. Arguments can then be made that these items need to be addressed to prevent users leaving before they reach your call-to-actions, and prevent your organisation losing its competitive edge.
If SEO is a part of your company’s strategy, illustrating the inability to attain high rankings without a shift to customer-led UX design can address their pain point of why it matters. Showing site rankings against competitors (using tools like UberSuggest or typing your company’s target keyword into a search engine) can help create urgency around the project.
3. The Time Since You Last Refreshed The Site
Why it’s important: Some things age great. Think of wines and cheese. Some things don’t. Milk and bread. Out-dated websites fall into the latter category. Websites built on old infrastructure, rarely updated, or using old styles can be a turn off for customers, with 94% of visitors jumping away from outdated or poorly designed sites.
With the UX design landscape changing so often, keeping your site modern and relevant is crucial to gaining user trust.
Key Metrics / Arguments:
- Date/year your company built the site
- Analytics over the years
- Aesthetic presentation against modern websites in your industry
How a redesign can be argued: Just saying “it’s been a while since we last updated the site” isn’t an overly strong argument, but highlighting how it reflects the brand can be. Justifying your website redesign with the fact customers can feel more secure and trusting of the brand can be powerful. 75% of customers base company credibility on your site’s look and feel, making first impressions matter especially if you’re using a more dated design.
By using arguments like the year the site was last rebuilt, you could argue about older infrastructure holding back your potential for converting and reaching your goals, especially if you’ve been relying on your existing format for a number of years with limited changes. A key set of metrics you can use to illustrate your point can be data over the years. If data is showing increasing bounces, reduced time on page and heatmaps where fewer clicks are made on your CTAs than in earlier years, it could indicate that it needs a refresher.
Finally, you can take a look at the aesthetics of other sites in your industry to see how they present themselves online. Do they utilise plenty of white space? Are sites content rich or navigate differently? These points can all influence action when comparing your websites presentation to another.
4. Our Competitors Are Doing It
Why it’s important: Market share and positioning in a competitive marketplace is a great driver for innovation. Seeing what your competition is doing can be a good indicator of where the industry is heading, so paying attention to the trends can be useful in investments and strategic direction.
Key Metrics / Arguments:
- Competitor website layouts
- Competitor search rankings for keywords
- Recency of a competitors website updates
How a redesign can be argued: Management are driven to be as competitive as possible, and so presenting figures like search engine rankings compared against your own, NPS scores, web revenues, side-by-side testing results on your target audience or simply aesthetically pleasing versions of their site can be enough to raise urgency. Even if the reasoning is just to differentiate the brand, your website can be an important space to make your mark, with 73% of companies using web design to stand out for competitors.
Taking screenshots of general site layouts, highlighting features you like about navigation and button placement, and conducting lightning demos to gather feedback can all build an understanding of what your site could achieve to keep up with the industry.
You can also quantify the need for a website redesign by looking at their site performance. Using tools like SimilarWeb, you can analyse bounce rates, on-page duration and other items for comparison, while you can also look at keyword rankings to compare SEO rank for specific keywords. With this data, a compelling argument can be made for maintaining a competitive website.
5. Not mobile Friendly
Why it’s important: A study from StatCounter in 2016 showed worldwide mobile usage for internet browsing topped desktop viewing for the first time. Although time on page is strong with desktop (Broadband Search), mobile has proven to be growing stronger and stronger, supported by increased smartphone adoption and broadband access. For websites that were built before mobile came to prominence or are not scalable to different devices, this can leave teams with lower traffic, poorer customer experiences and even lower SEO rankings.
Key Metrics / Arguments:
- % of mobile users to desktop
- Page load time (mobile)
- SEO rankings on mobile
- Heatmaps, recordings and demonstrations of the sites mobile accessibility
How a redesign can be argued: Justifying a website redesign on the mobile friendliness can be straightforward. By showing mobile or tablet versions of the website to management and highlighting experience issues, combined with mobile access statistics (use your analytics platform for this) and screen recordings of user use (try tools like SmartLook or HotJar), you can build an argument around how customers actually want to use your site.
If user experience issues are not enough, you can also refer to SEO, as desktop and mobile search results differ based on their mobile-friendliness (79% of searches are different across the two formats). With this in mind, you can argue that to maintain strong search rankings across devices, you will need to have a responsive site that can cater for mobile users. This is particularly powerful if your users are leaning more towards access via mobile, as this will be affecting a larger proportion of your user base.
6. The Time Saved Running The Site
Why it’s important: A teams ability to change the site quickly and easily is an under-rated benefit of a good website. A simple and clean CMS can save hours of time navigating the backend, updating content and other admin tasks, while also returning time for other tasks.
Using an old infrastructure for the website is more likely to cause this issue,
Key Metrics / Arguments:
- Average time taken to update or send out posts and potential time savings
- Historic delays in completing tasks caused by poor CMS design (this could be milestone events like launching a new product page)
How a redesign can be argued: Saving staff time for other tasks is a great argument to make, but make sure this is connected to the financial benefit too. Every minute lost working on an older, difficult to navigate system is a cost. With this in mind, look to support your answer with cost estimates for savings on a new CMS or infrastructure.
If you do not have access to statistics like how long you spend updating the site, if you or your team have first hand experience with how this has affected your ability to work or on a big occasion for the company, e.g. a new product launch was delayed or took longer than it should have, then you present this as an instance in which your old website design has prevented the company meeting deadlines.
7. Not Supporting Important Content Types
Why it’s important: The internet moves fast. Over the years we’ve seen the rise of different content formats, from long-form infographics, podcasts, and short video as shown by TikTok. Being able to enrich your pages with engaging content formats can change boring text-based posts, into entertaining, SEO-friendly pages that drive traffic and stand out.
Key Metrics / Arguments:
- Time on page
- Heatmaps/screen recordings
- Competitor search rankings in images/video
- Competitors page designs using different content formats
How a redesign can be argued: If your website is outdated or isn’t able to get the relevant plugins to support the content formats you need the way you would like them, justifying a redesign of your website can focus on improving metrics and visibility against competitors.
In terms of internal statistics, using items like ‘Time on Page’ if customers are tuning out of long form written content can be a good indicator to point towards. This can be complemented with statistics about the influence of rich media formats on buyer behaviour, e.g. 83% of people prefer watching videos for instructions, having big implications for wordy text manuals. By focusing on how your website is missing the ability to provide eye-catching content can be a great selling point.
Alternatively, an argument can be made on content, and moreover, brand visibility in search engines. With videos being 45x more likely to rank at the top of Google over text answers, management will be interested to hear how they can use other content types to reach audiences, e.g. videos can appear in Google Videos, top of search engine results, or even in YouTube. Complement this with recordings of user movement through your existing pages pages. What do heatmaps and videos show about how your user navigates the site. Are long pages getting the user to the desired outcome?
Finally, videos can build a professional aesthetic which can be useful when compared against your competitors. Showing competitors pages with different content types embedded, e.g. video banner backgrounds, can inspire a change in attitude to become more innovative.
Why it’s important: A rebrand can be comprehensive (website, logos, colours, fonts) or on a much smaller scale. When the company proposes a rebrand, this can mean your digital channels have to reflect the incoming changes both functionally and aesthetically. By not having your rebrand translate across all channels (social media, your website, your print materials), your customers can be left confused about who they’re working with or lose confidence in your ability to deliver.
Key Metrics / Arguments:
- Ability to offer the functionality requested
- Does the current website communicate the values you want?
How a redesign can be argued: Whether it is through a merger, acquisition or done for PR purposes, a rebrand will come from expectations from management. In many cases, the option to redesign the website won’t need justifying. The rebrand has already been sanctioned from the top and may include a need to refresh the website depending on the scale.
In the event that your existing site is not able to complete management’s objectives, you can state that the existing website isn’t capable of achieving the objectives set out, or the scope of the change requires new functionality to be implemented.
Want to kick off your web redesign project?
PixelTree have experience delivering everything from comprehensive UX audits to full end-to-end website design and development. Visit our UX Design page to find out more about our services or get in contact via the contact form below:
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