Redesign or Redevelop? How To Know When It’s Time To Update Your Site
We often get folks calling us because their website is getting out of date and they don’t know exactly what to do. Maybe the business has changed, or has scaled up, and they need the site to better reflect that. Maybe their marketing materials have been updated but their website has not. Perhaps they are having site speed issues, or security issues. Or perhaps the site has been through many different redesigns and updates and has become something of a Frankenstein, pieced together with digital masking tape.
Whatever the reason, we’re glad you’re thinking of overhauling your website. This article will help you get a sense of whether you are looking for a redesign or a redevelopment, and will give you some tools to begin the process.
Redesign Versus Redevelopment: What’s the Difference?
It’s time to give your website a new lease on life, but is it a redesign you are looking for, or a redevelopment? What’s the difference?
A website redesign is when you take the existing website and make changes to the way it looks. For the most part, the underlying structure and functionality stay the same, but you give it a new visual impact. This might include some other changes as well: some new copy, perhaps a new page or two, or a form. But the basic bones of the website stay the same.
A website redevelopment is when you build a new website from scratch. You may include elements of the previous website, but you set about rebuilding the structure and functionality of the site.
Home renovation provides a good analogy. A redesign is equivalent to a new coat of paint, new furniture and a new carpet. The room feels and looks different even though the underlying footprint and structure of the room stays the same. A redevelopment is when you gut the room completely and rebuild everything, perhaps knocking down a wall or changing the architecture in the meantime. Both are important steps, but they are very different projects – different timelines, different purposes, and different budgets.
Common Redesign Scenarios:
- You have been through a rebranding, resulting in a new style guide for your brand. The website needs to reflect the new branding – new logo, typeface, color scheme, visuals, etc.
- You have done a competitor analysis and you see that your website seems dated. New photos and a new visual approach can make it feel more contemporary.
- Some of the content on the site is obsolete and needs to be switched out. Perhaps you want to emphasize different pages, or reorganize the content in some way.
- You have added new products and/or services, and you’d like to incorporate them into the site. This requires new pages and also working these new pages into the overall architecture. You also want to change the linking structure and some of the content on existing pages to accommodate the new material.
Common Redevelopment Scenarios:
- Your site was created more than ten years ago and hasn’t been updated much.
- Your site is seeing a high bounce rate and a low conversion rate and you’d like to try to make better use of current website traffic.
- You find the current site burdensome to maintain and it is time consuming to add content or manage the data from a CMS.
- You find that the current site gets an increasing amount of mobile traffic, and this traffic has a high bounce rate or a low conversion rate because your site lacks mobile functionality.
- Your business has scaled up and the old site can’t keep up with the traffic and activity – you may be having server or site speed issues, or eCommerce functionality issues.
- Your organization has gone through a rebranding or restructuring process and the site needs to change in significant ways to reflect changes in the organization.
Congrats! You’ve decided it’s time to proceed with a redesign or redevelopment. Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin the process of redesigning or redeveloping your site.
- Be sure you have the time and resources to dedicate to the project. This is a big step and you want to be sure you do it right. Rushing a website out the door, or cutting corners, will often only result in headaches down the road.
- Work with a reputable agency and have a clearly agreed upon budget and timeline. You want to be sure that the resulting website works well for you, on both the front- and back-end. Be wary of agencies that develop the whole site “behind closed doors”, i.e. without any input or transparency.
- Take the time to make sure that you are serving all your users and target audience. The needs of an affiliate marketing manager and a PPC manager are different. The needs of a returning customer are different from those of a new customer. Be sure to account for all your users before you start building the new site or redesigning the old.
- Be sure that you have an eye on your SEO as you go through the process. Specifically, make sure that all your main SEO resources make it through to the resulting site. Well-ranking pages should be handled with care. A redesign or redevelopment that squanders some SEO juice by changing urls for backlinks or losing some well-keyworded copy can leave you with the curious scenario that you love your new website but fewer people are seeing it.
Ready to take your site to the next level?
A website is best when it is a living, growing and changing entity. Every so often, it’s good to take a hard look at your site (perhaps giving it an audit) and see how you can improve it. When you’re ready to take the next step and bring your site to the next level, contact Millennial Web Development and we’ll make sure that your website comes out looking, functioning and converting better than ever.