How to Decide Between Website Redesign Versus Website Update
Website Redesign Versus Website Update
These days we get a lot of phone calls and emails that start something like this: “We need a new website. Please help!” The reasons are understandable; both human visitors and Google have certain expectations when it comes to websites. The trick is to decide between a website redesign versus a website update for your business website.
Your business website is a crucial element of your overall digital marketing strategy. Therefore you must keep it both up-to-date and updated. But that doesn’t mean you have to fresh every time!
Yes, you do need to start with a mobile-first website at some point. Maybe that time is now. If you already have a functional website, it comes down to website redesign versus website update.
Redesigning a website is a significant undertaking, and there are website redesign considerations you need to keep in mind before you decide. Yes, there are times when building a completely new website makes sense, especially if you have a long to-do or wish list.
Other sites may cover all the basics already. In that case, you can give your website a boost with a simple website update.
“In a crowded market, having a website that simply serves as a brochure is no longer competitive.” — Small Business Marketing Trends Report
When we start evaluating the need for a website redesign versus website update, we follow five necessary steps. To help you decide which approach works best for your situation and requirements, we decided to publish them here. If you’ve got the basics, then maybe you just need a refresh or update of specific areas. But if you are falling short on all five, it is time for a shiny new website!
Website Redesign Versus Website Update – 5 Questions You Must Answer!
1 – Do You Have a Mobile-First Site?
In 2020 having a mobile-first business website is essential. No matter what your business, most of your online visitors will come from a mobile device. If your site does not offer an ideal user experience, they will go elsewhere. A mobile-first website meets the following criteria:
- Renders appropriately on different screen sizes by resizing and repositioning design elements on smaller screens
- Fast page load speed across all devices
- Has size-appropriate links and buttons that are easy to click on small screens
- Simple design without distracting elements and generous use of white space
- Utilizes mobile navigation to help users find different pages, products, and services
- Provides bite-sized chunks of content that are easy to scan on mobile devices
- Serves scaled and optimized adaptive images on mobile devices
- Avoids interstitial popups (which are banned by Google anyway!)
- Limits the use of memory and resource-intensive functionality on mobile devices
If you look at mobile-first websites, you will notice certain similarities in design and functionality. Most sites will feature the “Hamburger Menu” at the top, contact info and socials in the footer, and screen size-appropriate content in between. Content will be easy to scan on smaller screens, and the entire experience is pleasant and engaging.
These are the things that the average mobile user expects from your website. If you already have all or most of the above requirements covered, you most likely will only need to update some aspects of your website.
But if you fall short on more than one or two of the above, you should consider a website redesign versus a website update.
2 – Do You Have Outdated or Obsolete Design Elements or Content?
The next step in deciding between a website redesign versus website update is to look at the design and content of your website. Let’s start with some essential design elements.
Sometimes, certain parts of websites are just flat-out obsolete. The old table-based sites that sit on the top left corner of your browser are one extreme example! But many other outdated design elements are working against you.
Outdated Design Elements
- Any Flash-based elements
- Splash or landing screens
- Auto-play audio or soundtracks
- Using too many colors and fonts
- Too many or inconsistent design elements
- Using too many stock images or clip art
- Excessive popups on desktops and laptops (Google forbids them on mobile devices!)
- Inconsistent navigation menus
- Too-small or low-quality images
While design elements are an essential part of having an engaging website, don’t forget about the content. Outdated content will make your business seem outdated as well; it is as simple as that! As you consider website redesign versus website update be sure to keep your content in mind!
59% of consumers globally would instead engage with beautifully designed content as opposed to simply designed —even when short on time. Adobe
Outdated Content to Remove or Update
- Contact info, including location, hours, phone numbers, and contact email
- Business info, including your team, updates, stories to share
- Service info, including new or seasonal offerings, services that you no longer offer, etc.
- Product info, including new products, out-of-stock, or no longer available products
- Images and videos that are no longer relevant
- Reviews, testimonials, and case studies, including online reviews, citations, and endorsements
- Blog posts, including updating evergreen content and deleting outdated and seasonal posts
- Content that is overly long or does not include lists and images
- Broken links, including updating existing links as needed, and removing all broken links
- Social media, including links to your social profiles AND the ability to share your content on social networks
The design and content of your existing website play an essential part in your website redesign versus website update considerations. Most often, a simple website content update meets mobile consumer expectations. You may want to consider adding new fresh content as part of a web design update. But if you fall short on most of the above considerations, it is time for a new website!
3 – Is Your Website SEO Compliant?
To comply with the many Google Mobile-First algorithm changes your website must pass the mobile-friendly test to rank on search engines. But that is only the beginning. Your website design and content must comply with several Google guidelines for the best search results.
Therefore SEO has to play an essential part in your website redesign versus website update considerations.
Put bluntly; if you do not have a mobile-first website, your only option is a website redesign. Google prohibits having a separate mobile site, so that option is out. And there are other reasons to consider a website redesign versus website update solely for SEO benefits.
- Search engines prefer websites coded to the latest standards instead of having to crawl through endless bloated code.
- According to Schema.org, outdated websites usually do not allow adding the latest SEO strategies, such as Microdata Markup.
- Websites based on modern Content Management Systems (CMS) make it easier to add Meta Data such as page and image descriptions.
- Mobile-first websites tend to load faster, which is a search ranking signal.
Including key SEO considerations in determining your website redesign versus website update only makes sense. A loss in search ranking is usually one-way business owners find out their website is no longer useful. And in the ever more competitive field of online marketing, your business needs to incorporate essential SEO upgrades in 2020.
Part of the consideration between website redesign versus website update has to address user behavior and user expectations. To do that, you need to understand how visitors are navigating your website. In other words, are they finding what they expect to see? And how can you find out?
We recommend services like Hotjar as an excellent way to get information on what your current visitors are doing. This type of service can give you a “heat map” of your customers’ clicks. This information gives you insights into the behavior of your website visitors. You don’t want to remove or ignore any section that’s popular enough to attract visitors.
You can also gather valuable insights through your Google Analytics dashboard. Remember that you must install these services and keep them running for at least 30 days before they can collect the data you need.
Therefore you need to start with this type of analytics as soon as you can so that you can gain insights into what sort of updates will benefit your website.
5 – What Devices Is Your Target Audience Using?
Most likely, you are not considering a website redesign versus website update just for the hell of it. You are doing this because you need a business website that works for your business, not against it.
And that means a key consideration here is the expectations of your intended target audience. After all, you are updating or redesigning your website for them, not you!
The first step is to find how visitors are accessing your site. That depends on a lot of factors, including age, location, intent, and personal preferences. Once you know if your visitors are surfing on their iPad or researching at the office, you must find out what they do once they are on your site.
Nearly 8 in 10 of consumers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device. Adobe
The most important thing to consider is how many people are using desktops or laptops and how many are using smartphones and other mobile devices.
But devices alone aren’t the story. They are simply a tool for viewing your website. A better approach is to decide which devices drive the most revenue to your site.
For example, if desktop visitors are 30% of your traffic but 80% of your business revenue, you need to focus on that target demographic.
On the other hand, if your business targets mainly Millennials, you need to offer an excellent mobile experience. We always recommend you look at these things holistically and figure out the characteristics of your most valuable demographics.
What Will It Be: Website Redesign Versus Website Update?
There you have it, five simple questions to help decide on a website redesign versus website update. Once you answered them, you can focus on tweaking your site. Emphasize what’s been helping it succeed and lower (or outright cut) anything that’s been dragging it down.
As you can see, there is a big difference between a website redesign versus a website update. A website redesign is a complex undertaking that you should only consider if your current website has significant shortcomings.
If your business website has not had a refresh in three or more years, you are most likely due for a redesign.
Website updates, however, are far less complicated. We recommend updating your website at least once a week with some fresh content as part of an engaging content marketing strategy. You can schedule more extensive updates, such as replacing images in galleries and slide shows about two to four times a year.
The Difference Between a Website Redesign Versus Website Update
Based on many years of professional experience, we generally follow these guidelines:
Plan on a website update as part of regular website maintenance at least two to four times a year, depending on your business or service. Consider a website update like spring cleaning for your website. Open the windows for fresh air, sweep out the cobwebs, and put some fresh flowers on the table.
Regular website updates:
- Updating relevant content, including images and video
- Verify all contact info and social are current
- Adding more content or pages
- Making minor design tweaks, such as updating the color of your CTA
- Adding or removing a special offer or promo
- Adding and updating product and image galleries
- Updating SEO keywords and phrases to match search trends
- Editing or updating SEO Meta descriptions and image Alt tags
Website updates usually take a few days, and the business owner can do much of this with minimal help from a web designer. Thus a simple update is much more cost and time-effective than a complete website redesign.
On the other hand, if your current website is not mobile-friendly or does not meet most of your business goals, you are better off with a website redesign. We recommend that you redesign your business website every 2 – 5 years, depending on your business and industry.
Reasons for a website redesign include:
- Not having a mobile-first site
- No content management system (CMS)
- Unable to update simple content yourself
- Not meeting the expectations of your target audience
- Not being able to add required content or functionality
- Following outdated web design and development standards
- Having too many outdated web design elements
A website redesign usually requires the services of a professional web designer or agency. It can take 4 to 8 weeks or longer, depending on your website and requirements. You may want to consider adding content strategy or copywriting, new product or location images, search engine optimization, and social media marketing to your project.
It may also be time to evaluate your current content management system and website hosting to decide if you need to make changes. If they are no longer meeting your needs, you should make that part of your website redesign versus website update evaluation. We are here to help.
Did You Need an Updated or Redesigned Website?
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of website consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, brand design, and WordPress optimization.
Feel free to reach out to us and learn more about our business website design, update, and redesign services. Our team will listen to your concerns, evaluate your needs, and come up with the best way to ensure your website meets the expectations of demanding mobile consumers.
Have You Recently Updated or Redesigned Your Website?
Did you recently decide your online presence needed a refresh? Was an update the better option? Or did you opt for a complete website redesign? And what kind of results did you achieve afterward?
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Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!