BY DARREN PORTERS
What is a website redesign and is it worth doing?
A website redesign is more than updating the visual design of a website. It is a process that is driven by a strategy that considers all aspects of a website including customer journey, user experience, functionality, SEO, visual design, target audience research, how users will engage with the website and more.
So let’s explore the most common questions we receive when clients are considering a website redesign, to help you make an informed decision, which are:
- Why should you consider a redesign in the first place
- What is the difference between a redesign and a refresh?
- How much does it cost to redesign a website?
- When is it time to redesign your website?
- How long does it take to redesign a website?
- Does a website redesign hurt my SEO?
- What are the next steps?
Why should you consider a website redesign in the first place…
Your website is the most important sales and marketing tool you have. It is for all intents and purposes the first member of your team that a potential client interacts with, before speaking with a human member of the team. And we all know that first impressions are very important!
Statistics show that on average 1 in 4 users will leave a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load and over 46% of users will never return to a poor-performing website. They stay on a website for around 15 seconds and if the user experience and functionality are not engaging they will drop off even sooner.
So if your website is not performing, engaging and representing your business and providing the best first impression possible, then essentially the website is telling your potential customers to go away. Yikes!
What is the difference between a website rebuild, a website redesign and a website refresh?
The difference between a website rebuild, redesign and refresh is substantial. Let’s break it down:
A website refresh is essentially a makeover of the existing site. It is done by modifying visual aspects of your website only, namely your brand/logo, colours, fonts, and graphic elements and adjusting global layout parameters like padding and margin measurements. Changes are performed in the master style sheet, meaning as web developers, we can apply some changes to the style of the website in the code, and this will give your “refresh” your website with a new look and feel. There may be some minor layout tweaks required once this has been applied, but this would be performed without changing any content. A website refresh is less work than a redesign (next option below) and is best suited to websites that already have solid performing content, UX and functionality in place.
A website redesign on the other hand is a reworking of the existing website and should be informed and driven by strategy, taking into consideration the multiple aspects that deliver a successful website. This includes considerations of user experience and conversion which may require us to conduct research that will inform the redesign decision-making process. Think of a refresh like giving a room a new coat of paint and moving the furniture around as opposed to a full renovation or knock down and rebuild, which would be a website rebuild.
A website rebuild is the most thorough of the approaches outlined here and includes improving all aspects of a website (customer journey, user experience, functionality, SEO, visual design, target audience research, how users will engage with the website and more.) It is effectively starting from scratch, however, if a website has any history and insights that can be leant on in our planning for a new site, these should definitely be considered.
How much does it cost to refresh, redesign or rebuild a website?
This will really depend on how extensive the changes are. The difference between a redesign and a complete rebuild is that you will already have the hosting and framework in place to work with, and during the strategy phase it’s important to optimise what is already in place to reduce cost and utilise available resources and functionality to deliver the outcomes outlined in the strategy.
Working with The Creative Collective will ensure that the best solutions are achieved in the most optimised and cost-effective way, banking on our years of experience and expertise in successful website solutions.
When is it time to redesign your website?
There’s no real predictable time that warrants a website redesign, but it is definitely worth putting a note in the calendar to regularly check in on your website performance or have someone do this for you (we can certainly assist here). We would recommend doing this monthly ideally, quarterly at least, and certainly very thoroughly every year given that a lot can change in technology in this time. Below I have explained the most common things that indicate it may be time for a website redesign and the reason why:
- Your website is slow and doesn’t display correctly on new devices
Website technology has advanced substantially in the last couple of years and the way the browsers display websites have been updated to be with the technology of the latest devices. This can leave an older website in an unfortunate position of no longer displaying correctly on the latest devices. You can check out if your website is displaying well on mobile devices here.
Also, an older website will most likely load a lot slower as it hasn’t been optimised with the latest website technology. The ideal page load time is under 3 seconds and even that is quickly becoming an outdated metric and the website will need to feel instantaneous for users. You can check your website page load here.
- Your bounce rate is high and increasing
Bounce rate is a percentage metric that measures how much of your website traffic is leaving too quickly due to poor performance or user experience. If your bounce rate is high and increasing, it’s a clear sign that something is no longer working. People on average will leave a site in under 15 seconds if they are not being engaged to stay and explore, visually this happens much faster. A person will make a decision visually within 3 to 4 seconds and if your website user experience (UX) and design are outdated and confusing they will leave very quickly. Another reason for the high bounce rate is page load time.
Website technology has advanced to a level where a page-load of under 2 seconds is now considered normal. In short, the user should feel like the site loads almost instantly. If your page loads take over 3 seconds to load, you will most likely lose that potential customer, or at the very least they will have a certain level of frustration before they have even seen the page which is not a good first impression.
- Content is no longer relevant
Content can sometimes quite easily become outdated, it could no longer reflect who you are as a business or services and offerings that are no longer current, or the content may no longer be relevant for your customer in both how it looks and the information and messaging the content is delivering. Think of the content you serve as preparing a meal you know your audience likes and will eat i.e. whether they are hungry for bacon and eggs versus plain white toast and jam.
- Your business has grown but your website has not
You can literally think of your website as a member of your team. They need to perform tasks and meet goals and KPIs like every other member of your team so giving some consideration to tasks that are laborious or which take too much time for your current team is a good way to make your redesigned website deliver strong value.
Also having your website built in a way that is easily scalable, makes it a much easier process to keep content and functionality up to date with your business growth. So often we have seen website designers not get this right, and deliver a website that’s great at the current moment, but fall down shortly after, when a business is trying to grow, and needs the website to do more and function at a higher capacity. Teaming up with a website designer and developer that understands things from all angles is important and will save you from having to say down the line “we will have to recreate the entire thing from scratch”.
How long does it take to redesign a website?
The answer to this question will largely depend on the level of a redesign being undertaken. A website redesign should always be guided by some initial strategy and planning work, where we do some deep thinking on all the angles at play. We’re so firm on this concept we’re not even sure how a website redesign could happen without first having quite a robust strategy in place.
If the level of redesign emerging from the strategy is minimal, then obviously it would take less time than a complete redesign from the ground up. What you are saving with a website redesign compared to a complete rebuild is the existing infrastructure of the site, the hosting, CMS framework etc. How much of the website is redesigned will relate to the amount of time it will take to complete.
Does a website redesign hurt my SEO?
The ramifications of genuinely losing your SEO positions and organic traffic during a website redesign are costly, time-consuming, and could even send a business under if not remedied swiftly. Regaining your valuable search ranking positions can also prove challenging, if not impossible.
To avoid these situations, our web development team work closely with our SEO team to ensure your site is in safe hands through our service called SEO Migration. Working closely and collaboratively, no stone will be left unturned, once again showing the importance of having a solid website strategy in place when undertaking the website redesign to make sure all aspects are considered and planned, including preserving or improving the SEO of your website.
What are the next steps?
Now that you have an understanding of the importance of a website redesign or refresh, if you’re curious to discuss us potentially assisting you with yours, it’s time to reach out to our team of experts who you can trust to deliver your website redesign project to be the best solution for the growth of your business.
You can contact The Creative Collective here and our Web Team Lead will be in touch to discuss your website redesign project.