7 reasons website redesign projects fail and how to avoid them

Find out the most common 7 reasons B2B website redesign projects fail, and how you can prevent them from happening in your project.

Picture of Lauren Nuttall Lauren Nuttall

Published: 04 Aug 2020

7 minutes read

7 reasons website redesign projects fail and how to avoid them

Dedicating the time, resources and people needed to do a website redesign is a serious commitment - so you need to be sure that when you’re considering undertaking the project, you do everything you can to ensure its success. 

So, to help, we’ve listed the most common reasons why B2B website redesigns fail, along with some advice on how to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

1. Doing a redesign for the wrong reasons

Think about why you’re considering doing a redesign. Really think about it. Is it because your current website isn’t pretty enough? Is it because your competitor just did a redesign and you think their website looks better than yours?

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you’re considering doing a website redesign for the wrong reasons. 

Why?

Because, if your current website is getting lots of traffic and bringing in hundreds of leads a month, but you don’t think it looks good - this isn’t a good enough reason to do a redesign. However, if your website isn’t getting the leads you want, or isn’t converting them into customers - this is a great justification for undertaking the project because you’re thinking about the goals you want to achieve. While this may seem fairly straightforward, it’s surprising how many businesses don’t have goals in mind when deciding to do a redesign. 

Take it from us, the easiest way to ensure your website redesign is a failure is by setting unrealistic expectations, and having poor reasons for doing it in the first place. Don’t make this mistake - have clear goals and targets you want to achieve in mind with your new website when deciding to do a redesign. 

2. Too many decision makers - whose input isn’t actually needed

Ever heard the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen”?

Well, it’s essentially the perfect metaphor for every single bad website redesign ever done, throughout history. Often, businesses will start out with a sensible number of people for a project, however this quickly spirals out of control when multiple new faces start appearing at different stages of the project - bringing with them their unwanted input. Harsh, but true. 

Naturally, too many decision makers on a project leads to disagreements, frustration and the dreaded “let’s meet in the middle” compromise, where design standards often drop, and the end result isn’t something that anyone wanted. 

To avoid this, you need to be clear and strict with exactly who the decision makers are throughout the redesign project - this way, you can ensure that the right people make the final decision, and you don’t unnecessarily delay the project due to small issues. Additionally, if you’re doing your website redesign with an agency, make sure it’s one that has an experienced project team, and that your key decision makers trust their advice and recommendations. 

3. Setting an unrealistic deadline for completion

This is an extremely common reason why website redesigns fail - because businesses don’t always think through how long completing a website actually takes from initial kick off to completion. Now, that’s not to say that redesigns should take a huge length of time, it means that they can’t be done well if they’re done too quickly; so it’s important to understand how long the project will take before you get started, and set yourself a realistic deadline for completion.

How long your project will take to complete depends on the method in which you decide to undertake the redesign. For example, if you go down the more traditional website design route, where you have to wait until the deadline to see any tangible product - this will obviously take much longer. However, if you choose to redesign your website using growth driven design, you’ll get a minimum viable product in as little as the first few months - which can then be built on over time. For B2B organisations, GDD makes sense, as it involves less disruption to day to day activities, and means you’re able to expand the website throughout the project, and easily add to it once it is completed.

4. Trying to make it “perfect”

Much like having too many decision makers, it’s extremely common for businesses to get caught up in the pressure of making their website completely “perfect”. 

The “perfect” website doesn’t exist, and trying to strive to such an impossible goal will only lead to frustration, a loss in productivity and project delays. When it comes to redesigning a website, it’s all about evolving and adapting, due to the ever changing technological landscape. Fixating on getting little details “perfect” in this environment becomes futile, and you’ll never finish the project if you continue in this mindset.

That’s why it’s important to look beyond minor details, and think about the bigger picture. Get key stakeholders and decision makers to focus on measurable results, and how the site solves users needs, rather than fleeting momentary opinions or preferences. Not only will this help move the project along, it will likely result in a much more customer-focused website that will perform much better.

Free Download: B2B website brief template

5. Feedback too late in the process

Speaking of “moving a project along” - there’s nothing that slows a redesign quite like feedback at the last minute. Often, website projects will be done in phases, so if feedback from a completed phase comes in too late in the game, it can really slow down the progress. While this isn’t always an issue (many web designers or developers work in an agile way to respond to changing circumstances), it’s always best to give feedback when you’re asked for it, or ensure that you’ve covered all bases initially. 

This will not only keep your developers happy, it will also help you stay within budget - changing huge elements of a site at the last minute could take a lot of time and effort, which ultimately results in a more expensive project. To avoid this, be sure that you’re up to date with the latest developments throughout the project, and ensure that feedback has been given by a decision maker each step of the way.

6. Thinking about the business instead of the user

Too often, businesses go into a website redesign project from their perspective, and rarely consider what it is their users actually want. Even though your website is about your company, it isn’t the place to talk about yourself, or even consider what you personally prefer. This is because your website should focus entirely on your users - it should have their goals in mind, and provide an experience that gets them where they need to be, quickly and easily.

Ignoring the needs of your users quickly leads to a website that looks good to your business, but doesn’t actually work the way it should. Think of it this way: your website should be an extension of your sales and marketing team - if all your salespeople did was talk about themselves, would you make any sales?

Probably not - which is exactly why you should prioritise your users above your business when undertaking a website redesign project. You should use your buyer personas and user journeys throughout the project, and use them as a reference to ensure that everything being done has your ideal customer in mind. 

7. Choosing the wrong website redesign partner

Unless your company has a well rounded, completely functional internal website design team, the chances are you’re going to need to consider hiring an agency for your website redesign project. Choosing the right agency partner can be a difficult decision - agencies come in different sizes, with different levels of experience and specialist areas, and you need to ensure you choose the right agency for you.

However, this decision involves more than just finding the cheapest, most conveniently located agency with the best looking websites. Often, when businesses base their decision on these factors, they miss out the important things - their goals and needs. The agency you choose must be able to meet these, otherwise what’s the point?

We recommend considering these 8 factors when choosing a website redesign agency, and going with the company that meets your needs, and can build the website that showcases the very best of your company, while generating positive results. 

However, to do this successfully, you need to know exactly what you want your new website to achieve - which is why we’ve created a B2B website brief template, so you can create a draft of your very own personalised website brief, designed to make the whole process easier. This brief will help you think clearly about every aspect of your project, identify your goals and document them so you know exactly what you want, and how you will go about doing it.

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