Six steps to determine if it's time for a website redesign

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The prospect of a website redesign can be daunting for any small business owner. Before investing the time and money necessary for such an undertaking, entrepreneurs should consider six factors.

Does your site feel fresh? If your site feels as though it no longer accurately reflects your company, feels stale, is overly complicated or just unmemorable, it's time for an update.

Does your site feel effortless? Your site worked exactly the way you wanted it to when it first launched. Does upgrades, changes, expanded product categories and new content made it unwieldy and difficult for visitors to navigate (and for you to manage and easily update)? If so, it's definitely time for a redesign.

Are you really as customer service oriented as you think you are? What and how your customers order (or don't order), their comments and phone calls, tell you everything you need to know about how user-friendly your site is. You might believe you are doing everything you can to make their experience positive, but their words and actions will tell you if that is true. Listen and redesign around their feedback; it will pay off for both of you.

Are you really as shopper-focused as you think you are? Your site's design must cater to your customers. Your content and labeling should speak their language. Your navigation structure should allow for customers to shop the way they want to shop – not how you think they should. Be there when they need you, and get out of their way when they don't.

Are you utilizing social media? The time when you could ignore social media is gone. Integrating sharing and interaction features with your site will increase traffic and sales. Different businesses need different amounts of social exposure, but almost every site can benefit from it in some way.

Are you capitalizing on recent technology advantages? Every day, new technologies are making more and more things possible and raising consumers' expectations. These days, it is imperative to offer location-based functionality, integrated product reviews, fast page load times and simple methods for browsing and finding products.

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, it's probably time to at least consider a website redesign.

Josh Levine is the founder and CEO of New York-based Alexander Interactive, which specializes in building and designing websites, including e-commerce sites.
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