We are officially winding down the year. For most small to mid-sized businesses that means looking toward the coming year and in many cases revisiting their marketing budget and plan.
There are many items that you will consider as you evaluate how your marketing performed over the last twelve months, but one that should always be on your list to consider is the age and effectiveness of your current website design.
Very few items in your marketing plan will be as impactful as your website, demanding a unique place in your planning and budgeting process for the coming year.
Your Annual Marketing Plan Evaluation
Let’s pause here for just a moment and discuss the importance of revisiting your marketing plan and budget on an annual basis.
One skill that separates good marketers from the rest of the pack is their ability to constantly look forward and make moves in the present that will be impactful down the road.
On the flip side, the hallmark of a poor marketer is constantly and consistently making reactive decisions, resulting in a constant see-saw of marketing effectiveness.
The point being that waiting until your leads, and ultimately sales, dry up before you evaluate your marketing plan is a bad idea.
While you should be looking at your marketing effectiveness on a month to month basis, here are some questions you should consider year to year as you’re looking forward toward your next budget and plan.
- How is your lead volume?
- What is the quality of the leads that you are getting?
- How are your sales? Up, down, or steady?
- What is your average customer and/or order value? Has it changed?
- How long is your sales cycle? Are there obvious weak points in the sales cycle?
- Did you hit your marketing budget? Go over? Underspend?
- Did you meet your marketing goals for the last 12 months?
- Did your marketing goals convert into sales goals? What about revenue?
- Which marketing tactics have yielded the best results?
- Which marketing tactics have yielded the worst results?
Answering these questions, and the inevitable questions that arise from answering them, will give you valuable insight into where you should be putting your focus in the year to come.
Is the new year a good time to redesign your website?
If you evaluate your marketing on a regular basis, or even just an annual basis, you will come to the inevitable realization that your website plays a major part in your marketing.
I can’t tell you how many times business owners have told me that they “don’t get a lot of business from their website.” It usually doesn’t take many questions about their marketing efforts to discover that, in fact, their website plays a fairly significant role in their marketing and sales cycle.
If you look back over the course of the year, you should get a good idea of where your website is performing well and in which ways it is deficient.
In some cases, making some tweaks here and there is all that is warranted as you move forward with next year’s plan. In other cases, a full redesign is the most efficient and effective path forward for your website.
If, after evaluating the last 12 months of marketing critically, you feel that your website needs no changes or updates, I’d urge you to evaluate the year again.
If you fall into the category of needing a full redesign, the question then becomes whether the first of the year is the right time to redesign your website. The answer is, of course, yes.
1. What’s the alternative?
If you’re struggling with the question of whether the new year is the right time to redesign your website, ask yourself what the alternative is.
If you’re in need of a redesigned website, then you are probably experiencing deficiencies that are strong enough to warrant a redesign versus an update. Can you afford to tough it out until you feel it’s a better time to tackle a redesign?
The alternative to redesigning your website in the new year is that you delay the project and most likely put a little capital into addressing some of the immediate concerns you have with your existing site.
Pushing the project may be a necessity for budget reasons, which we’ll look more closely at next, but generally it’s more closely related to time and/or effort concerns.
As a general rule, it makes more sense to move forward with the full redesign versus applying a band-aid to a hobbled website. It very rarely makes sense to invest in something that you know needs to be replaced.
2. You can build it into your budget
One of the biggest questions you will have to answer when determining if you should redesign your website, regardless of when you do it, is whether you can afford to do it.
As we’ve discussed previously in our post How Much Should A Website Cost; there are three general price ranges for most small to mid-sized business websites:
- Less than $1,000: No design insight or direction, development or strategic input – This is just a bare-bones, possibly unbranded website that uses a very basic or free template.
- $1,000-$7,500: Some design insight, development and/or strategic input – This is a small, basic branded website that may use a configurable pre-built template or a custom designed template, but does not include much strategic insight or advanced functionality like e-commerce or third-party integrations.
- $7,500 and Up: At the bottom end of this range you will find smaller, but custom designed websites that include custom interior and landing pages as well as more strategic insight regarding conversions process and optimization. This range continues upward in price dependent on needs including extensive web design and/or custom development, e-commerce integrations, large-scale third-party integrations, and large-scale websites (100+ pages).
We find that the majority of the website that we build fall in the $5,000 – $15,000 range. If you reach out to us to discuss your website project, we can tell you exactly how much your project will cost.
Once you know how much you will need to invest, you can build it into your budget for the next year. Building the project into your budget allows you to allocate enough marketing dollars to cover the project without blowing your budget for any given month or the year.
It is important that you consider your website to be as impactful to your bottom line as most other forms of advertising and therefore as deserving of funding as almost anything else in your marketing budget.
3. Ride the momentum
Lastly, and perhaps more on a human level, redesigning your website in the new year will allow you to ride the momentum of the fresh start.
If you’re like most people, you’ll be getting some time off around the holidays and the new year. Additionally, you’ll probably already be setting goals for the upcoming year, and most likely rolling out new initiatives.
Take that energy and ride the momentum all the way to a new and more impactful website and you may just find that your other goals and initiatives will see a boost from the improved performance of your website.
There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when, how, and who should redesign your website. Take your time making the decision, weigh your options carefully and do what makes the most sense for your business.
The new year is often a great time to move forward with your plans for a new website, but it may make more sense to push the project to Q2, Q3, or even Q4.
The best advice you may find, regardless of your final decision, is to go ahead and begin the process now. Start getting bids for your web design project and plan ahead. If you do, your redesign will be much more successful.