Should you redesign?

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As the Web matures, more and more marketers are faced with the challenge of redesigning their Web sites -- a trend that will only increase as both Netscape and Microsoft ready their next generation of browsers.

This month's NetMarketing Web Price Index finds that giving your site a face-lift can be somewhat costly. Many of the same processes that went into putting it together originally will need to be revisited.

The new look will need to be planned out and designed. Most likely, changes will need to be made on the backend of the site as well. The new site might require a different navigation technique or even new methods for the marketer to post its content. All of this will take time and money.


The costs are, of course, relative to the size of the site and the number of pages that will need redesigning. Our small site, ACME Sprockets, drew a median national bid of $11,000. The company wanted to give a new look to its existing content.

For Investments 'R' Us, Web developers offered a median price of about $37,000. Blockmonster, which was looking at implementing whole new technologies for the navigation of its site, was looking at a median price of $58,000 to put out the changes.

Of course, as always, the range between the lowest bid and the highest is significant. For Blockmonster, prices ranged from $18,000 to $542,500.

The cost of a redesign is something marketers will need to plan for, but one which they should be looking to offset with revenue from the site itself.

Karin McDonald at San Francisco-based Ikonic says marketers are now looking for a stronger return on investment from their sites.

"The era of 'We need to be on the Web' is over," she said, adding that marketers should address the balance between "passive entertainment value" for their consumers and the revenue the site generates.

The timing of a redesign is also important. The issue hinges on your market and your focus, says Ms. McDonald.

Marketers should be aware that this might not be precisely the best time to redesign, but that time is approaching.

With new browsers from Microsoft and Netscape coming, the challenge will be to "take advantage of opportunities that will be less interactive and more rich media."

However, if a site needs to address issues of navigation, or new features -- especially transactional functions -- now is as good a time as any.


Marketers will need to spend time consulting with their developers about how and when to redesign and to what extent they wish to integrate their sites with their total marketing approach.

All of this is good news for developers. As technologies for the Web become more complex and more Java or ActiveX-oriented, the skill sets necessary for developers will also change, increasing the need for experienced programmers and designers.

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