Should you redesign your website or just update and improve it?

12 mins
Updated: 28th August, 2020

You can get a lot from this article if you are creating a website for your business, or already have a website but aren't’ satisfied. Keep reading to find out the differences between website redesign and website refresh! Improve your business and sales through improving your website. 

In this article, you’ll find out what to look for. You’ll discover what are the signs your website needs a refresh or a redesign. Here are the answers to how long does it take and how much does it cost. And in the end, which should you choose.

Differences between website redesign and website improvements

You created a website for your business. Some time has passed but your website isn’t performing good enough. You’re thinking about what to do to improve your business objective. You have two options:

  • Website refresh & improvements
  • Website redesign

Which option to go for? It depends.

What about website improvements? If your website is functional, making money, and user-friendly. But, you see certain areas where you can improve. Such as contact form or a product page, or maybe website speed.

Why redesign a website? That is a total website makeover. If you think your website is beyond repair. It means creating the website from scratch. It’s more costly, but it can be more useful in the long term.

Here is a side-by-side comparison.

Website improvements vs. website redesign comparison
Website improvements vs. website redesign comparison

You want to find out the specific reasons why you should go for website refresh? Or why to redesign a website? Keep reading to find out!

Let's dig in deeper.

Website refresh & upgrades (Updating your website)

Website improvements icon

Most of the websites get the job done. But are those websites effective? After all, it’s about making money. And how to make your website effective? Maybe there is something you didn’t think of. That one image you could upload, that one Call-to-action you can insert, or that one contact form you could improve. In this section, you will learn how to improve your website. Get ready for designing websites tips.

When & why go for a website refresh

If you want to refresh your website design, you first need to know the reasons for doing so. Here are the 4 most common ones:

  1. Updating & publishing content

Keep your website alive! Publish promotional news, discounts, but even something simple like a holiday card on your homepage. Refresh old articles and add new photos or content to it.

  1. Improving user experience

User experience can be improved incrementally with minor improvements. However, all these add up. Improvements often include adding certain features such as progress bars when reading an article. Or offering related articles while a visitor is reading a certain article. Or perhaps adding search filters for content.

  1. New products/services or other additions

If you’re changing your services, be sure to let your customers know! Update your website with new services/products or remove the ones you’re no longer offering. Be sure to update your About page, Team members page etc.

  1. Search engine optimization

Google loves when the website is kept fresh. It means you’re working hard on improving your website to satisfy your users. Google is all about keeping the users happy. They might, in turn, reward you with better ranking.

Elements of a website to improve

Elements of a website
With which website element to start with?

How to refresh a website? By changing the website elements. All the website's elements are there to make it easier for the customer to buy or convert. 

Sometimes, mistakes happen. Or it’s a matter of a simple oversight. In this section, we’ll see where the most common errors occur. Which ones are the easiest ones to fix. And changing which website elements offer the biggest benefit for your investment (of time and money). Here are the most impactful website elements you can change easily and update your website. Get ready to drastically improve your website!

  • Hero image

Hero or main image is the first thing your customers see on your website. Make sure they are relevant to your brand and high quality. Did you know: Users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image! Make sure that the hero image represents your brand and communicates the message you want to send.

  • Product images

Images that are authentic, big and which showcase the benefits of the product are the best. They can persuade the customer into buying the product, giving them that final needed push. Upgrading the image to a video at some point is also a great idea for a subsequent iteration.

  • Website copy (website text)

How to improve your website using one element of design? The website copy is the answer! Even though users spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content, you have plenty of time to capture their attention. Use storytelling and emotions. When combined with great pictures, your website copy is a major website improvement. There are some great copywriting guides out there.

  • FAQ

In the Frequently Asked Questions section you have the opportunity to answer all the uncertainties and doubts of your customers. Answer their questions even before your customers have them - it shows confidence and increases the trust in your brand.

  • Testimonials

Social proof is one of the oldest tricks in the book. There are numerous ways to use them. One of the most common ways is through testimonials of existing customers. Potential customers take the word of a stranger a surprising percentage of the time. Read more why testimonials are so powerful and how to use them!

  • About section

Storytelling is a powerful tool at your disposal. Use it! Here, you have an opportunity to tell your captivating story. How you got the idea, how it’s your passion and how you want to make your customer happy. People respond to emotions. And they want to be moved and believe in your brand.

  • Contact form

Usually, the short contact form works best. However, that’s not the case if you’re selling an expensive product or service. Then, the people usually think that they need to provide additional information. We actually want people to give as much information as they’re willing to give. Because: 1. We will have a clearer picture about our customer, 2. Customers giving more information are committing more to your brand.

Website redesign - What is it, process, steps & questions

Website redesign icon

Website redesign is basically creating websites from scratch. A website makeover. Sometimes, it can be a bit overwhelming. I’m here to answer all your questions about redesign. It doesn’t have to be scary.
Keep reading to find out: When and why redesign a website? What to ask when building a website? How long does it take? Redesigning or starting a web page is a big step. Knowing this stuff before getting into it is a must!

When to redesign a website

Sometimes, the websites are beyond repair. And if you’re investing time/money on it, it’s like pouring water in a leaking bucket. In that case, redesigning your existing website is the solution.

Don’t throw your money into a leaky bucket!

So how to recognize when a redesign is due? Here are 7 most common reasons to redesign a website:

1. Rebranding

If your company went through a full rebranding, chances are you’ll need a new website. Simply because a lot of elements of the website need to change. These include: logo, colours, style elements, user experience, website narrative and language, informational architecture and more. At that point, it might be cheaper in the long-term to go for a redesign instead of adjusting every website element individually.

2. Outdated design

Usually, if your design is more than 3 years old, there is a decent chance it’s now not as pretty. Yeah, that means you should update your design often. There is no rule for this, as some things age better with time, and others become outdated much sooner. A good rule of thumb is to check with your users what they think about the design of your website, every couple of years.

3. Old technology

Is your website fast enough? Does it have responsive design (meaning it’s mobile-friendly)? What we want our website to have is: speed & being mobile-friendly. If your site is a couple of years old, it could have been made using older technologies. All those things drastically affect user experience and your position on the search engines. Use one of these two free website speed tests to find out if it’s fast enough (Page Speed Insights & GTMetrix), and Google mobile-friendly test to find out if your web is responsive.

An old typewriter might be cool, but at some point it becomes obsolete

4. Changing digital marketing strategy

After a while, a lot of companies pivot or change their digital marketing strategy completely. Website is just a means to an end. It should be in service of your SEO, social media, content marketing and advertising strategies. Depending on how and in which capacity your company’s strategy changed, you may need a website redesign.

5. Not achieving any of your website goals

Have your sales or conversions been decreasing? First you need to do a thorough research using the tools at your disposal (ex. Google Analytics). Often enough, there will be too many bottlenecks or problems which stop your prospects in becoming customers. In some cases, a website redesign is the only option.

Missing website goals
After so many tries, maybe it’s time to change something?

6. Limited editing possibilities in your CMS

Using custom CMS (Content Management System) has its advantages. It often makes it easier for the owners and editors of the website to make changes. However, it can often have strict limitations. For every change, you need to contact a specific web developer for him to make the changes. Those changes can often be expensive, and you don’t have the flexibility you would have with open source CMS. For that reason, open source CMS-s are recommended (such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento, etc). This is especially important for small business websites.

7. Numerous user complaints

Noticed a pattern in user complaints regarding the subject and frequency of complaints? It’s time to start taking things seriously. One user complaining is usually not a big deal (even though it needs to be taken care of gracefully). But if they pile up, they could be a sign of a serious problem. That means it’s time for investigation and a potential web redesign.

How many chilli peppers can your website take before becoming too hot?

Why redesign a website - Benefits

It doesn’t matter if your website is shiny if it doesn’t fulfill its purpose. You’re making your website for the purpose of making or saving money in the long run. There are a lot of benefits in redesigning a website. Here, I'll mention 4 big ones:

1. Achieving your business goals

Did you know that 70% of small business websites lack a Call to Action (CTA) on their homepage? Do it right and get more qualified leads and sales.

2. Improved user experience and satisfaction

Websites are one of the most important touch-points in the customer journey. 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site if they’ve had a bad experience.

3. Website is a vital part of your branding and company identity.

Why is website design important? 75% of website visitors form a perception of a company's credibility based on the company’s website design. This is true for big companies and for the design of small business websites as well.

4. More flexibility and speed in making changes on your website

The consumer behavior is changing rapidly. The website and mobile trends are changing as well. To give your customers what they want, you need the flexibility to pivot and upgrade your website quickly. That can be done with a seamless web design.

Keep all those things in mind. Try thinking about the big picture. Make a website that will achieve your goals. And make you stand out from the competition. It’s more than just a website makeover.

Do you have a lot of website redesign questions?

Questions to ask when redesigning a website

You don’t need to know how to make a website from scratch. You just need to ask your team and yourself the right questions. What to ask when building or rebuilding a website? Here are the questions:

  • What is the purpose of the website? Engagement metrics, acquiring lead or sales?
  • How do you measure success? Often the wrong metrics are measured (vanity metrics).
  • What is your target demographic? Who is the website for, and why are they coming to the website?
  • What are the most important pages on your website? They should all connect into a sales funnel. Using SEO for website redesign is very useful.
  • What to change? Find out the change that has the best return on investment.

Quick tip: Get somebody reliable to work on your web. I mostly work with one trusted developer with whom I’ve been working for years. He’s specializing in web design services for small business and personal web pages.

How long does it take to redesign a website?

Website redesign usually means building a website from scratch. It mostly depends on the amount of research that needs to be done beforehand. But other major factors include:

  • Number of languages
  • Number of URL-s
  • Competition and benchmarking
  • Complexity of design

As a rule of thumb, once the work has begun, it can take anywhere between 3 weeks and 3 months. It depends on the scope of the project: total website redesign or a website makeover. The cooperation and responsiveness of all people working on the project is a huge factor.

So... What to choose?

Both options have their use cases. The table below sums it up nicely.

Website improvements vs. website redesign comparison
Website improvements vs. website redesign comparison

In the end, if you think your current website design is great, you can stick with the occasional website refreshes. Especially if you own a small business website and the budget might be tight. On the other hand, if your website is outdated, not performing well, and you lack the flexibility to do any significant changes on the web… It might be time to go for a website redesign - invest some more money and plan for the long-term.

In any case, get a professional to take a look at your website. A small investment of your and their time might get you significant results.

Denis Devcic portrait photo

Denis Devcic

Online marketing strategist, entrepreneur and content marketing expert. I help owners of small and medium-sized businesses to increase traffic and sales. Also helping to scale their businesses by leveraging the power of websites and search engines. Find out more about me and my journey.

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