Redesign vs. Realign, What’s a Website to do?

I once heard myself answering the question “should I redesign my site” with a question “do you think your website could perform better?” Which is the same as saying “yes.” I would like to expand and argue with myself. Yes, I believe all sites can increasingly become more effective but the real question is should I redesign or give my site a realignment?

Small effort, bigger results

My friend Jacob Smith introduced this word “realignment” to me 5 years ago in a dark Virginia cave. The word evokes imagery of auto mechanics… NOT designers, engineers or factory workers but mechanics. Many times all a website needs is modest changes or a restoration to its former beauty. Not all realignments are equal but here are a few examples:

  • To improve the action taken on your site, maybe all you need is a sitemap and universal navigation adjustment.
  • Your homepage might need tinkered with to throw out the waste and bring in the useful — the same might be said about your secondary page templates.
  • Are your key pages not getting traffic — redraw those calls to action prompts and reword some primary content.
  • Sometimes you just need to refresh the page with cosmetic changes to the header and style sheets.

Relignment Example:

As BEFORE's activities increased, the need for a dynamic homepage increased too


It might be time to redesign

You cannot resuscitate chicken bones or put lipstick on a pig… a realignment might not help. How do you know if it is worth the investment to redesign your website:

  • You would never drive your website to the prom let alone to a dumpster dive gathering. If your website is not attractive it could be conveying that your org is not trustworthy, not organized or worse, that you don’t care about your constituents enough to create a positive web experience.
  • Your website is difficult to maintain due to no CMS being used or an out-dated CMS
  • Your organization has gone through major changes and you need a new communication tool for your marketplace repositioning.

Redesign Example:

After many realignments, GraceDC was in need of a redesign (sneak peak!)


Like my dance moves, all websites can improve

The reasons for a realignment or redesign are many, but the most important reason is to improve the experience for a donor that results in a desired reaction. For some of you a minor change to your site might be the most cost effective way to see big increases. For others, it might be time for big planning to change. Let your business requirements drive the decision and get talking about your objectives, goals and technical requirements.

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Michael has spent the past 20 years applying his experience and superpowers to further the missions of social-good organizations, and has no plans to stop.
January 13th, 2011 // , // ,
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