What is best – to refresh or to redesign my Website?
Websites (like cars) become old and due to mileage they start to look dated, issues start to arise and things stop functioning. This is the time when many people decide to refresh their website, many choose to start over and have a completely new one.
So what is the difference and what works best?
A refresh is an aesthetic change to the front-end of the website – what we see when we look at the pages. Like redecorating a room with new colours and furniture without changing the structure of the room. This can sound the most appealing way however, with websites it depends upon whether the structure still works both with your audience and with the Search Engines, things move fast in Digital.
The perfect example being how not so long ago, the majority of us used to search mainly on desktop, but now we primarily search only on mobile. We use to click and now we swipe, we use to present few images and many words but now we have to show many images and videos with fewer words, so the templates in which your old website once sat may need to change. If you are thinking of a simple refresh then, best to do this over the long term as long as the structure of your content and pages doesn’t need to change too much. However, if you need to add new functions and tools as well as making your website more mobile adaptive then it may need a redesign.
Cost wise, it can be just as expensive to refresh as a new build, this is because older templates may need a lot of updating, so in effect it is easier and quicker to rebuild, you can still use the content from the old site and anything still valid, however unless it’s a simple refresh on a platform that has been maintained and is mobile adaptive then it is like trying to place new wallpaper on walls that are decaying and cracked.
Timewise, both can be quick or slow depending upon what is required, some refreshes we have done take days, some weeks. However some thought needs to go in prior to designing any new website refresh or redesign, you want to ensure you future proof your business asset, the site we build now should last a few updates before technology moves on again.
The main thing is to ensure you speak to an expert website project manager, not just a designer or developer, especially if your web platform and site are important to your business. Some experienced designers can develop and manage websites also but when it comes to a refresh or redesign it needs to include the current and future growth, the business model, new content and audience reach, and not just simply the website as in isolation.