Why you should (or shouldn’t) have your website redesigned

As a strong advocate of the addiction called “redesignitis”, the Ocular Harmony blog main page has been updated to a fresher, more unique look (go check it out!). In fact, the entire site has changed layouts in the past two weeks. Expect these post pages to get the overhaul soon too. This gets on the subject of how often is a redesign / functionality change reeeeeeeaaaaalllllyyyy needed?

The dreaded competition

Unless you were smart and chose a niche topic, you likely have a lot of competition to keep up with other blogs / sites. If you find anything groovy that other sites have that allow them to succeed more, it might be an idea to think of something that’s equally or more groovy. Updating your layout and the functionality of your site to match the competition will help you compete. Have you ever heard those intense guitar licks by Django Reinhardt, Hendrix, or (insert your favorite guitarist here) and imagined being able to play that? If you don’t match up with the other guys, you will be seen as the one who doesn’t understand the tools / tricks of the trade, like a person brand new to guitar. Go out and see what other sites are doing that you’re not doing.

Use new technologies

Keep up with technology, even if you’re not in the tech field. If your competition isn’t tech-savvy, then you have the upper hand. This applies to on-site and off-site technologies. If you’re trying to promote your business on Myspace groups instead of facebook groups, it’s likely a bad move unless you have a good reason to. If you’re using the stats tracking tool that your hosting company provided you that shows just the number of visitors are on your site each day, perhaps you need to move to something like Woopra.

The new Ocular Harmony layout (now) uses a prominent RSS / Mail subscription, a button to add me on twitter, and a fashionable way to display social media links.

Layouts have a time limit

You can have killer AJAX technology that loads like a bee, but if the loading screen is filled with various animated GIF’s and marquee tags, the whole glamor of in-page loading is defeated. That’s an extreme example, but layouts age like a living thing, and some faster than others.
On the rare occasion, some stay fresh after a decade. Adam Russell shared this interesting link on Twitter that’s unbelievably a layout from 1999. It looks fresh and fo’shotally 2010.

So that being said, keeping up with a fresh look can keep users engaged.

Layouts are more important nowadays

An increasing amount of people place importance on the layout to avoid scammy sites or fake blogs. They would also like an easy read. When I read blogs, sometimes I come across a site using the default WordPress theme. The first thing I do is check to see if the content is relevant based on a two second glance, and then bounce if it’s not. I never do this ‘check’ if it’s a nice design, because the layout can establish trust with the user.

That’s all folks! If your site is up-to-date then all the better - just avoid redesignitis and as spyrestudios says - “realign - not redesign”!

Related posts:

  1. Ocular Harmony has a new design
  2. A website is more than just good design
  3. Making a perfect grid-aligned website using Gridfox and Firebug

Robin Bastien
Howdy! I'd the head of Ocular Harmony. I spend most of my time designing, reading beatnick literature, and pounding sound waves of experimental pulsation into my brain's frontal lobes. Contact me if you have any questions!

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  1. Louis Gubitosi says:

    March 17, 2010

    good read, thanks for sharing.

  2. Web Designer Lee says:

    March 19, 2010

    I agree. A good web design can help you engage with your readers more. It makes for easier navigation and understanding of your web site. Keep the design clean and you can’t go wrong at the moment.

  3. web design victoria bc says:

    November 28, 2010

    I dreaded this for quite a while, my reasons to re-do outweighed reasons to leave it as-is but like everyone I am now thinking of what to do next. thanks for the article gave me some more reasons to now leave it alone.