Many website owners and webmasters take the month of January as a good time to take a long hard look at their web design.

For ecommerce websites especially, once the Christmas and New Year rush fades into the distance, it’s usually time to take a fresh look at the web design and navigation.

And it’s a good habit to adopt. Too many people see the design of their website as a one-off job; something to get out the way at the beginning of a site’s life and then forget.

What they don’t realise is that fashion, trends and looks change rapidly, and if you’re not careful, a website can look dated, and therefore jaded, within a matter of months.

But there is a word of caution here. It is not necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water. Don’t change for change sake and don’t make radical, clean sweep changes which often antagonise your users to the extreme.

Think about the aggro Facebook and Google get when they make dramatic changes to their sites. Okay, they have the power and user base to pull it off, but it’s not really worth antagonising too many of your users with radical design changes.

The trick is to see design changes as an evolutionary process – one that involves a series of tweaks and refinements over the year which makes it a more enjoyable experience for the user.

And that’s the key, always think, will my user base get what I’m trying to do. Remember that you’ve worked hard to get people to your site, don’t throw it away on design changes for change sake.