As we sometimes learn, new is not always better.
Last year I decided it was time to revamp my website. This a common practice. Every three years, you should consider redesigning your website.
Not because a web designer tells you (and is trying to get more money), but because technology evolves so quickly these days.
Why Should You Redesign Your Website After Three Years?
Think about 3-years-ago.
The year 2019 is a bit different:
- Would you have used Zoom in 2019?
- How many of you were getting groceries delivered to your doorstep? Or even brought out to your car?
- Venmo, was it even a thing?
- QR codes were actually a thing of the past.
It’s crazy to think how three years makes a huge difference for technology.
This works for most years, not just 2019-2022.
When I made websites in 2014, we were creating mobile websites, but using the m.url.com. A year or so later, responsive design came out. There were no “patches” to fix this dilemma. We had to rebuild entire sites.
Design trends also change.
I was pretty excited to launch a new website with an “Apple” design. The icons had a slight drop-shadow and everything was white/silver. This design was cutting edge, but then Apple shifted their phone design and the website looked “old”.
Cost of Redesigning Your Website Every Three Years
I’m not going to even try and explain how web designers price their services. You will have prices from a few hundred dollars to several thousands (tens of thousands if you need customization).
Asking someone to spend $10,000 every three years on a website might be a reach – but then again – maybe it’s not.
- The average cost of a billboard is $750-$1,500 per month.
- An effective 30-second commercial campaign on local network television runs over $1,000 per month.
- Buying a full page newspaper ad can still run you several hundred (or a thousand) dollars.
Take any of the advertising methods above, budget out the cost monthly, and you are looking at over $10k per year.
Maybe even an expensive website is worth it.
Should Your Website Be Included in Your Marketing Budget?
The single greatest marketing channel you have is your website. You own the messaging, you control the content, and you dictate the delivery. With all other forms of advertising, you are answering to someone else:
- What am I allowed to say on my ad?
- When will my message air?
- How much time do I have to convey my message?
You don’t have to worry about algorithms or open rates. If you send someone to your website, you dictate exactly what they see and what they can do.
Putting money into your website should be a given. Even if it’s just for technology updates.
How Much Should I Budget for My Website Monthly?
Have you ever asked a media sales rep how much you should spend a month? How did that go for you?
I bet it went something like this:
There’s no right answer to how much you can spend. I have clients that spend (absorbent amount) and also clients that spend (amount that is just a bit higher than what they will take as the lowest amount). It’s all about how much money you want to put in to be effective or GROW.Media Sales Rep (all companies)
Sometimes I just wish they would say – “spend $500, Eric”.
Okay, most companies do have fixed costs per “ad/unit”. I know that I can buy a commercial in the Steelers game for a few hundred bucks. But how many commercials will make my campaign effective? How many eyeballs need to see my ad for a good ROI?
I know it’s impossible to say. I guess we can say “it depends” for websites as well.
Two Camps: Maintain As We Go and Keep It Working
It’s possible (and a good idea) to keep your website updated with the newest technology and functionality – without waiting a full three years. Sometimes it’s simple plugin updates (Hello, WordPress Friends) and other times you have to do some extensive refactoring (nerd talk for updating code).
As you can tell, these scenarios also have different price points.
Maintain As We Go – The Price for Basic Website Maintenance
Let’s take out marketing, advertising, search engine optimization, and analytics.
The cost to maintain your website shouldn’t be too pricey. We are talking small updates, security patches, backups, and an occasional deep-dive into a potential problem.
Sometimes called a webmaster, this web guru will help you manage the “technical stuff” on your backend. A good webmaster should be able to handle a hacked website, an accidental deletion, and efficiently make small edits to your site.
On average, a webmaster would probably charge a retainer (a few hundred dollars a month) and an hourly fee of, let’s say, $100-$150.
If you pay a webmaster monthly, you might be able to squeak out a few more years on your website (pending the design holds true).
Keep It Working – Let’s Hope Nothing Breaks
Let’s say you opt-out of paying a webmaster and decide to treat the family to a dinner and the movies (average $200 for family of four), you still want someone to hit the “update” button on your backend – occasionally.
Hacked websites are not fun. Keeping your website updated and patched from vulnerabilities is pretty important. Depending on what CMS (content management system) you are using, they can be as simple as submitting a button.
If you don’t want to hit the button yourself, maybe you can pay someone $50 a month to do it for you.
Yes, there are occasions where that update will break your site – but some people like the thrill of gambling.
How Much Money Should I Pay a Webmaster?
Pay your webmaster a few hundred dollars a month and build some maintenance hours in the contract.
Time for a New Eric Hersey Web Design Site
I’ve owned EricHersey.com since 2011. It was originally a blog. When I tired of that, it sat dormant for years. Finally, after launching my LLC, I put together a quick website and built it up through the years.
I didn’t quite have the luxury of spending an entire year building out my site. Work was coming in quick. I guess it was somewhat important for a Web Design Company to have an actual website.
I was very happy with my first design. After working with the talented Abby Hersey, I had my branding fine-tuned and worked on EricHersey.com v1.1 (we won’t count the blog from 2011). I continued to build out the website, page by page – blog by blog. I added new tools, plugins, and features.
I found myself posting blogs that seemed a little less relevant to my main category: Web Design. I wanted to share stories about Fantasy Football, Pro Wrestling, Theme Parks, and Comedy.
Yes, this officially was my website and I had control, but I also know that this wasn’t the right place to talk about Conan O’Brien and South Park.
EricHersey.com was the right place….
But Eric Hersey Web Design & Development, LLC was not.
This is when I decided to create EricHerseyWeb.com.
Personal Brand vs. Company Brand – Does It Matter?
Don’t get too cute with Search Engines.
Googles mission statement is: organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Make it easy on Google. Let them know who you are, what you do, where you do it, and who you want to help.
Eric Hersey – the personal brand – wants to talk about Disney Theme Parks, Classic Rock music, and Choco Tacos.
Eric Hersey Web Design – the company – wants to help businesses and brands in the Ohio Valley with their websites and digital visibility.
Mixing Choco Tacos and SEO-talk confuses Google (search engines).
Splitting the brands made sense.
Domain Authority on EricHerseyDotCom
Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and El Chupacabra have something in common with Domain Authority (DA)…
There’s suggestion by the experts that they don’t exist.
Okay – Domain Authority does exist. There’s really no denying that. It’s a metric created by Moz (SEO software company). The real question and debate is if domain authority matters (or exists within Google/Search Engine Algorithms).
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to greater likelihood of ranking.Moz.com
EricHersey.com started as a DA 1. Through the years, getting website traffic, backlinks, name mentions, etc… I’ve built my DA up to a 16. It’s not great, but it’s respectable.
Let’s not forget, you don’t have to be faster than the bear…just faster than the guy next to you (this is me being cute – confusing the hell out of Google).
My DA just needs to be better than my competition for me to show up on the top of “web design company near me”.
Most of my competitors are in the same ballpark, but fail miserably at optimizing their local search results.
This allowed me to “own” most of the keywords and search phrases that make me money.
But guess what? EricHersey.com has been around since 2011 and has a respectable DA.
EricHerseyWeb.com is brand new.
Doing the Right Thing – Sacrifice Leads for Quality
I made my decision. I was going to start from scratch with EricHerseyWeb. Not only would I stop blogging about my good friend Justin Benline (and the years I’ve trolled him online), I would even contain myself to only blogging about websites (leaving SEO, Social Media, Advertising, etc… out).
I had grand ideas of the new website – design and functionality.
More Personality. More Customization. More Authentic.
I would slowly build out the new Eric Hersey Web site, while maintaining the money maker (EricHersey.com).
Over several months, I pieced my free time together and launched my new website.
We now had two websites live – promoting my services.
Old Eric Hersey Keeps Winning
As one would predict, the DA of the old website keeps it on top of the SERPs (search engine results page).
Although the new website is faster, with better information. The years of blogging, building organic mentions/links, and promotion still favors the inferior website.
It’s not a bad thing. People are still filling out forms and contacting me. But I would love the first impression to be of the new website.
How Long Will It Take to Beat My Old Site?
In order to get to a DA 16 for EricHerseyWeb.com, I will have to do some similar tactics as I did during my first few years of operation.
- Promote my website on local directories – Chambers, Networks, etc…
- Focus on good PR – links and mentions on local television stations, newspapers, etc…
- Create new, engaging content in forms of blogs, articles, and updated projects.
They say getting from a DA 1 to a DA 10 is easier than getting from a DA 11 to a DA 20 (and so on). Much like losing some weight, the first few pounds aren’t that hard to cut if you have a lot of weight to drop.
Now, I did run an extreme experiment where I stopped blogging for a full year. This didn’t help my cause (but was a worthy experiment). Now that I’m back at it, I’ve pushed my DA to a 6.
I’m thinking by the end of Q1 2023, I can start competing again.
Dangers of Changing Your Domain Name
This entire article is really just an example of the dangers of changing a domain name and starting from scratch.
There are very good reasons why you would want to change your URL.
- Confusion in the Marketplace
- Outgrew Niche or Local URL
- Using Intellectual Property
It’s pretty unusual and uncommon for a company to start from scratch with their URL. Most clients that ask my opinion, I advise against.
Besides trying to rank your website from scratch, there are plethora of technical issues (like broken links in the Google index) that make changing your URL a nightmare.
Who Wins? DotCom or WebDotCom
Here’s the goal:
- If you search Eric Hersey – erichersey.com shows up #1
- If you search Web Design Near Me – ericherseyweb.com shows up #1
As I see EricHerseyWebDotCom taking the lead, I can start removing the references to web design and digital services from EricHerseyDotCom.
When I want to discuss web design tactics, tips, tricks, and hullabaloo – I will use this website.
Everything else – will be transitioned back to EricHersey.com (with a redesign in the future).
In 2011, EricHersey.com was a personal blog: “The Imaginary World of Eric Hersey”.
In 2022, EricHersey.com will be my new personal blog: “The Real Life of Eric Hersey”.