Can I Fix My Current Site or Should I Redesign from Scratch?
Factors to Decide if You Need a New Website or Just a Redesign
As a Digital Strategists that meets with new clients, I get this question about once or twice a month from prospective clients who are looking for improvements to their marketing strategy. To be honest, it’s most often a question of "how much do I have to spend in order to get what I want?" To be fair, if I were in their shoes, I’d ask the same question. The point is, no one wants to feel like they overpaid for something they feel like they didn’t need.
Rather than a simple yes or no, let's consider a few factors that will help a business owner or marketing manager determine if a redesign is necessary, or if a refresh can accomplish what is needed. In order to give an honest recommendation on next steps, we must identify what your website means to your business.
If you are considering a website update, then I presume there are some issues that your team feels they need to address and an outside developer is needed. Things like slow load speed, high bounce rate, not enough leads, or an old design often drive people to consider a change. While these are all good things for a digital marketing consultant to know, they don’t give us the information we need to make the best recommendation on how to spend your marketing budget.
Instead, let’s consider these four factors that help inform our decision.
1. How old is your current site and is it mobile responsive?
This is more of a technical question than a marketing or branding question, however, it is harder to have a strong brand presence with an older website design.
Older sites tend to have slow loading times, less functionality, and less flexibility to make changes. Plus, sites that are built on older code may be a security risk, as languages like PHP and CSS have depreciation dates where the systems patching older languages. What that means, basically, is that older sites that are running on older code frameworks may be susceptible to getting hacked or the site breaking, since the code developers aren’t maintaining the language. Similar to the foundation of your house, if it’s not maintained, it can crack and let in unwanted pests (hackers or viruses in the website’s case), or result in damage to the rest of the house. Only in this case, websites age much faster than a home. For these reasons, a website older than 3 or 4 years, is probably ready for a redesign with updated code.
If your site isn’t mobile responsive, then you most definitely need to update the design with a full redesign. With more users searching on mobile devices than ever before, having a website that doesn’t display well on mobile is costing your company money in lost business.
2. Does your company rely on the website to generate business?
Does your website actually help you get customers in the door and buy your product, or is it more of a business brochure that stores helpful info for current clients? If your team is using the site as a place holder for information, but you don’t typically see a ton of business referrals coming through, then you may be better off keeping the cost down and working on some simple updates to the current site.
However, if your site is one of the main ways your team generates revenue, a site redesign may be the best path forward, considering other factors. While starting from scratch with a new website design may cost more upfront, the value it generates may not be possible to reach with a slower, older site that may not work well on mobile devices. Not to mention that trying to refresh an existing site can lead to unforeseen problems and hold-ups that cost your team time and money, especially if you are changing teams from the previous build.
3. How does the current site’s design, branding, and functionality compare to your competitors? Will a new website offer competitive advantages?
Your company’s standing in the market may be hard to fully understand until you have researched other competitors in your industry and understood how they are positioning themselves. We often offer competitor reports to understand how a site is performing in comparison, as well as a breakdown of the user experience.
You will see very different website trends depending on location, practice areas, and firm or company size. If companies that you compete with directly have up-to-date designs, helpful content, and SEO strategies in place, you are falling behind in more ways than one. Not only will users find your competitors’ sites more attractive, but if they are performing link building strategies or writing industry-specific content, then they are likely to outperform your site on search engines if your team is remaining stagnant.
Our site for Lappe's Bee's has helped them grow because the easy to use design is above and beyond what their competitors currently offer.
4. Are you considering a website refresh strategy in order to stay under budget?
This is a more difficult question to answer because the answer will always be dependent on a litany of factors. How much of your site actually needs updating? What CMS is it running on, and would it be possible to make the changes you need?
If your team is considering a refresh to remain under a specified budget but needs a lot accomplished to reach the goals you are set out to achieve, then consider these factors. Things like site speed, functionality, or content structure may be very difficult to update or improve, if not impossible, for less then the cost of a full redesign.
By this time, you probably know what path your company needs to take. But what if you aren’t the decision-maker, and while all this makes sense, you still need to sell your team on increasing the website budget. Here are a few more questions that can help you and your team get in the right mindset on what needs to be done.
Does your website look modern?
Has your company shifted its focus or changed since the last redesign?
Has your target market changed?
Do you consider the website a strong piece of your marketing and sales strategy?
Do prospective customers or clients have an easy time navigating the site and finding the information they need to make a decision?
Get a Professional Opinion and Free Website Assessment.
Contact us today for a free consultation and website audit where we can discuss in detail your site and how you compare it to a few of your closest competitors. This is the first step of working with a digital marketing partner who can lead your team through the process of creating a revenue-driving website. Are you ready?