Redesign vs. Refresh. What is best for your website?

You know your website needs help. Perhaps, it is a bit dated, perhaps it no longer represents your expertise well. It just needs…work. At Spring Insight, we work with lots of clients who know they want to make changes, sometimes significant ones to their website. But…do you need to start from scratch? After all, you are super busy running your organization, be it an accounting firm, law office, association, medical practice, or other type of organization. Who has the bandwidth to manage a website redesign on top of it all?

There is another path business owners can take that will liven up and modernize their site, align it more closely with their brand and offerings, AND is a lighter lift. 

What’s the Difference Between a Website Redesign and a Website Refresh?

Making the decision between one or the other must be carefully considered and I’ll get into that next. But first, let’s see how the two approaches compare. To understand the difference between a website redesign and a website refresh, I’ll turn to an analogy, which anyone who reads me knows is one of my favorite ways to illustrate a point

You have a house. It’s definitely habitable and when your kids haven’t strewn their hockey sticks and backpacks and shoes all over the place, it’s even inviting. At some level, it represents you and those living there. It communicates to everyone you welcome into it what you are about and what you value…your family “brand” if you will. 

But, as all things, it’s not perfect. It could use some improvement. Perhaps the front door gives more of a “don’t you dare ring that bell” vibe instead of a “come on in, we’d love to see you” one. Maybe you and your loved ones never ditched the college-era concert posters and lava lamp and you realize that the aesthetic doesn’t really align with who you are anymore. You and yours are fine to live with the jiggly handle on the half bath faucet but it makes it hard for your guests to use it. 

Here’s where we circle back to websites. If this analogized house were going to be refreshed, the front door would be modernized for greater curb (and guest!) appeal. The outdated design elements would be taken down and replaced with things that speak to who you are and what you are really about now, not back then. The jiggly faucet would be removed and a new one that functions properly and with ease would be installed. 

If this analogized house were going to be completely redesigned? It would be stripped down to the studs (perhaps even torn down), reconfigured and reframed, and every element would be rethought to better suit your family and how you use the house. 

That’s the difference between a website redesign and a website refresh. A website redesign strips it and rebuilds it from the ground up, so to speak. A website refresh retains the existing “bones” while it aims to remove the things that no longer represent who you are as a business or as a subject matter expert as well as the things that make it difficult for your users to experience your site in an easy, appealing way.

So, that leads us to the question: when should you go for the full website redesign and when will a website refresh get the job done?

Which is Right for You? Website Redesign or Website Refresh

When a business owner comes to us to determine what level of work they really need done to their website, we guide them through a series of considerations that helps dial them in and make a decision that is best for them and their business. 

Consider a website refresh if:

  • Your business and what you offer is pretty much the same as what is reflected on your current website.
  • You need to just “get by” for a certain amount of time because you’re preparing the business for sale.
  • You’ve got something significant coming up with the business pretty soon and you just want to spruce things up to put a better foot forward to prospective clients.

Consider a website redesign if:

  • It has been a while (over three years) since you last did a redesign. It is quite likely that the technology and design norms have changed. (Plus, don’t forget about accessibility!) 
  • Your business has grown and the website no longer adequately reflects the level of service and reach of your business.
  • You have undergone significant changes in what you offer, how you position yourself in the market, and the types of clients you are trying to attract.
  • You have brought on new partners that add value to your business and want to fully incorporate that messaging into your website.

In addition to the above considerations, website redesign is highly recommended when there are confusing aspects of your website’s navigation and structure (how users find what they need to know about you and your business) or when there are serious flaws in the user experience (the ease with which users can flow through the site and not run into frustrating friction as a result). It kind of boils down to this: do you (and your users) love it or hate it? 

If you are fairly satisfied with your website and how it works, but just want it to feel a little spiffier, a website refresh will work. Conversely, if you strongly dislike your website and know it isn’t working for your business, a website redesign is the way to go.

A website redesign gives you SO much more. And with a team like Spring Insight, we drive decision-making, present only the best options, and take care of you every step of the way. 

Thinking about a website redesign or refresh? Get in touch with us and let’s chat about it.