sunken ship

Perception: You make rational decisions based on the future value of your investments.

Truth: Your decisions are influenced by emotional attachment. The more you invest in something, the harder it is to abandon or change it.

This is known as the Sunk Cost Fallacy. It’s an unsettling truth to come to terms with, but the fact is, almost all of our decisions are impacted to some degree by emotional investment.

I see this on a regular basis in regard to websites. I’ve had people come to me saying they had a new website built, but they’re unhappy with the result. Usually what they’re hoping to hear is we can fix it with a few simple tweaks because they’ve already spent a lot of money. Sometimes this is the case, but at other times what they’re looking for requires a ground-up rebuild. In cases like this, it’s not unusual for people to decide to try to keep working with what they’ve got even though they’re not happy with it. Unfortunately this could negatively impact future earnings if the website is not designed well.

The Sunk Cost Fallacy is also responsible for many outdated websites you see. The tech industry changes fast, and something that was cutting edge a few years ago might be a liability today. It can be difficult to start thinking about a redesign when you spent a few thousand dollars just a couple of years ago, even if recent improvements could mean a better return on your investment.

Whether you’re looking to have a new website built, or you’re considering a redesign for a current site, here are 4 things to keep in mind.

1. Make sure it’s flexible

One of the reasons we build with WordPress is that it’s easier to make changes once the site is already built. Even with WordPress though, not all sites are equal. I have seen custom WordPress themes that made it difficult to make any changes. On the other hand, there are extremely customizable themes like Avada and Div, or tools like Beaver Builder that make changing the layout of your site far easier. Set yourself up for future success by making it easy to change things down the road.

2. Plan to upgrade

If you’re not getting the results you want, it’s time to consider a redesign. You should plan on redoing your site every 2-3 years, because a stale website doesn’t convey to your visitors that you’re on top of things. You want your visitors to have confidence in you and your business, and an outdated website is a serious turn-off. Plus, every year new research comes out which changes the industry. If you’re not incorporating new techniques and/or technologies, you’ll only fall behind your competitors as your website becomes less effective.

3. Work with a professional

So your nephew is really good with computers and knows how to build a website. He has offered to do it for cheap, or even free. Keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for. Being able to build a website and knowing how to make a website effective are two different things. A skilled professional should understand a lot more than just how to get a website up. Chances are your nephew isn’t going to know how to utilize CTAs, emotional response triggers, effective architecture, security, and a hundred other details that a professional needs to know to be successful.

4. Don’t get attached

If you want to stay ahead of the game, you should be prepared to make changes when they’re needed. The most successful websites are always making changes to find out what works best. Just because you like something, doesn’t mean it’s serving it’s purpose. Keeping the end-goal in mind (more sales, better exposure, etc.) will help keep you from getting attached to parts of your website that could be improved upon.