How long were you in business before the website you launched with needed a complete redesign?
Two years? One year? Six months? What changed about your business to make a redesign necessary? Was your original website a basic design that quickly became outdated, or did you start out with a design that could be updated as required? I'm interested because of the number of sites I see that bear little resemblance to the business they purport to represent. Often, it's not because the site is poor, it's just that the business has changed direction, or target market, making the website redundant. If you changed your website within two years of business launch, what internal or external factors influenced your decision? And what did the whole exercise cost?
I think you touched a variety of reasons that websites should be updated. My bias will come through on cost, because any updates we make to ours are made by myself or my co-founder (so it is really just time spent for us).
The reasons we've changed our sites in the past do include, shifting our focus, tweaking our demographic and coming up with a better idea on how to present the content and information.
I believe that the reason so many websites aren't up-to-date or accurate can happen do to cost. Small budgets make it hard to justify a website refresh if they have no assurance it'll drive more traffic and create more sales. Other ventures may not give enough thought to their website and the frequency at which it should be updated. This may happen because of a small team that is covering a lot of work that is more directly tied to sales or profit. It could also result from a mostly offline venture not understanding the value of their online presence.
I think it is important that anytime you create a new product or service or even make noticeable modifications to your existing business, review your site to see if it still reflects the right message. Revisiting should be done for all key moments. Do you have your team posted (is it up to date)? What about product shots? Press Releases? When something major changes, revisit your current website.
Look for clues that would show clients and/or customers you haven't updated your site in a while. Do you still have job openings posted from 6 months to a year ago? If they were filled remove them. If they weren't filled, revisit the job post, refresh it and repost with an updated date. Eliminate things that will make your clients and customers see your website as a virtual ghost town.
I am about to redesign my site for the third (? fourth maybe?) time in 15 months. It is not giving me the results I am after, I am DIYing, constantly learning and evolving, and while I was happy with my site 6 months ago, now I realise how much better it can be.
Also, I will be launchign my first Google Adwords campaign later in the year so will optimise the site for that too.