In Web Design, Web Development

A common question we get as a web development company is when should a business owner consider refreshing or redesigning his or her business website? And is there a difference between refreshing a website and redesigning a website?

These questions invariably come up when a business owner hasn’t updated the content on a website in a very long time, or there has been a change in the business which has prompted the need to contact a web designer to make the needed changes on the site. This leads to a discussion about the possibility of freshening up the site, or creating a whole new site – which can be a costly option.

So let’s explore the ins and outs of making a good decision when your website needs some revitalization, and start with the differences between refreshing and redesigning a website. 

The Difference Between a Website Refresh and a Website Redesign

A website refresh generally means making minor updates to the content, images, and graphics of a website. This usually includes optimizing the meta data (background information read by search engines) and making other minor SEO improvements to reflect the changes made. A website refresh does not usually include any changes to the structure, layout, or theme of the website, and is an affordable way to breathe new life into a stale, but modern, website.

A website redesign on the other hand usually refers to a complete rework of the website’s appearance, structure, and functionality. It is basically a complete website overhaul and can come with significant cost incurred. This option is usually recommended if the website’s technology is outdated, if there has been a major change in branding, and/or if the website’s performance has been hindering the business.  

When Your Business Website Needs a Refresh

As mentioned above, a website refresh generally only involves updating the content of the website, including images, logos, and graphics if needed. Regardless of need, it is actually good practice to refresh a website at least once a year, but the more often, the better! 

If you are considering a website refresh, it is good practice to go through every page of the website and make sure all addresses, phone numbers, and other critical business information is current and correct. Also, it’s a great time to update team member photos and any outdated business images. Ideally, it’s best to be ready to provide your web designer a list of changes when you first contact him or her. 

Whenever changes are made to an older website, ideally there are a lot of other background optimizations that should be taken care of as well. A good web developer will optimize a site after a substantial refresh, but not all web designers can or will do this. For more on this, read our blog about the differences between a web developer and a web designer.  

When Your Business Website Needs a Redesign

Redesigning a long-established website, especially one that a business depends on, should not be taken lightly. There is so much more involved technically than just how a website looks. If changes in URLs and other site aspects are not handled correctly, there can be disastrous consequences in how the site is indexed in search results. These days it is always best to hire a competent web developer to handle redesigning an older site.

Usually it is pretty clear to a website owner when it is time for a website redesign. There are usually major issues with performance or functionality; the website doesn’t match the current company branding, identity, or business goals; or the website just plain looks outdated. 

The time and cost involved in redesigning a website depends on many factors, but the good news is that many of today’s modern website platforms can actually be redesigned without a whole new website having to be created. WordPress is a prime example of this. If you have a WordPress website and feel like you want a completely new look for the site, a new theme can be applied to your existing website and formatted to meet your design, color, and branding wishes. 

If your existing business website is built using a platform that is either technologically outdated or one that does not allow you to move it between servers (in the event you sell the business or need to change hosts) then this is a good opportunity to switch to a more robust platform like WordPress that offers scalability, portability, and 100% ownership of your data. There will be added expense involved, but you will save money down the road. 

Hiring Someone to Breathe New Life into Your Website

As mentioned above, if you have an established business website that your business depends on, it is crucial you hire a web developer rather than a web designer. Many web development firms like ours have a combination of developers and designers – the developers do the technically heavy lifting, and our web designers handle all the content aspects. This helps keep the cost down but ensures that our clients get the best possible outcomes and the new website does what it is supposed to do – bring in business!

If you’ve been considering a website refresh or redesign, contact us today!

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