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How Do We Know if a Website Design is a Success?

Web design is constantly changing.

With each year that passes we see new technologies, functionality and trends emerging that seem to radically alter what we expect a website to deliver. This inevitably means that a certain % of business websites will look very different to a brand-new 2014 design.

Whilst it can be very tempting to compare a 1, 2 or 3 year-old website to a brand new one – and this can be a useful exercise in determining what condition an older site is in – we believe that there is a better way.

Instead of asking how modern a website looks, we think that it’s better to ask the question: “how do we know if a website design is a success?”

Written By
Dan Partridge

There are metrics and tests that we can apply. Whilst design is constantly changing, the principles underpinning successful design are not. This means that we can use timeless frameworks to evaluate how successful a website design is and how well it is performing.

This is an important process. We would recommend that most businesses review their website on an annual basis. This allows you to make ongoing improvements which will extend the lifespan of your website. It will also give you a more accurate indication of when it’s time to replace your website.

There are times, for example, when a website design might look a little dated – perhaps it’s not as impressive or modern as rival sites. If, however, it’s drawing huge volumes of traffic and achieving its conversion goal (perhaps that site visitors pick up the phone and ring you) then it’s probably a reasonably successful website design. It might be outperformed by a redesigned site, but that’s a decision for you to make based upon the data available to you.

Just as possible is that you replaced your website very recently but are not experiencing the kinds of results that you’re looking for. Traffic, conversion rates and user experience might all be letting you down. In this situation it’s important to understand that achieving success online is about more than a modern website design; it’s about developing a holistic strategy that enables you to succeed.

How do we know if a website design is a success?

To determine the success of a website design it’s important to look at the following qualitative and quantitative factors:

  • Conversion Rate and Bounce Rate
  • Organic traffic and search engine results (SEO)
  • Speed and load-time
  • User feedback and comments
  • Compatibility with your wider online/offline marketing, including social media
  • Increasing traffic, particularly relating to your target demographic and audience
  • Accessibility: can different visitors on different devices find what they’re looking for?

Ultimately, how do we know if a website design is a success? We need to test the site according to our website goals. Whilst comparison with other sites can be helpful, too many businesses lose focus by concentrating on what other sites are trying to achieve. A successful website will achieve the goals that you have set and deliver tangible results that strengthen and grow your business.

Image: Success in Sight by Simply CVR on Flickr (Creative Commons)

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