How to Tell If Your Website Needs a Full Redesign or Small Upgrade

By Mikel Brucel / 10 December 2019

With design trends and technology changing rapidly, every year businesses are faced with the question of whether it is time to invest in a complete website overhaul, or if a few short-term website tweaks would be enough for now.

Redesigning your site is like selling and moving to a new house in a new neighborhood. It requires a bigger investment and more work upfront, but in the end, you have an exciting, brand new site for your business. 

The alternative option is to keep what you have and make small improvements. This is more like a renovating part of your current home. After all, putting in granite countertops and new appliances in your kitchen can make you feel like you have a whole new house.

Just like deciding between whether to renovate a room of your house or tackle a big move, there are lots of factors to consider before diving into redesigning your website.

4 Questions to Ask When Deciding to Tackle a Website Redesign

  1. How is your website performing?
  2. How much is your website needed for marketing?
  3. How easy it to manage your web platform?
  4. How much can your business invest?

5 Questions to Ask When Deciding to Invest in Small Upgrades

  1. Does your site have a high bounce rate?
  2. Does your website reflect your current services?
  3. Does your site have stable security?
  4. Does your website have performance issues?
  5. Does your homepage have a modern design?

When to Redesign Your Website

A website redesign project requires a bigger investment of time and money than small improvements, but the bigger investment typically guarantees a bigger return. 

In the end, you have a new website and a dramatic change to your business’s online presence. While it may be tempting to cut costs and start with small improvements, there are certain scenarios where you have to throw caution to the wind. 

1. How Is Your Website Performing?

If you are seeing poor results and low conversions from your existing website, it’s a sign that you need to make improvements. A skilled web team can help you design a high-quality site that is more relevant to visitors, prompting more engagement and conversions. You can create a checklist. 

Web owners should check how everything relates to security, performance, and conversions.

Web owners should check how everything relates to security, performance, and conversions. This should be one of the first steps when deciding to conquer a web redesign. 

2. How Much of Your Website Is Needed for Marketing?

If you are spending money on driving traffic to your site, you need to make sure the site is converting well and delivering results for your business. If it’s not, invest in a redesign as soon as possible. Without a solid and effective site, your marketing efforts, such as paid advertising, search engine optimization or content marketing, could be a waste of time and money.

3.    How Easy Is It to Manage Your Web Platform? 

If your website was built years ago on a limited platform and you can’t easily make content changes, invest in a redesign. New sites are typically built on content management systems, allowing non-developers to easily edit text, images and major aspects of the site. Building the site on a new platform always requires a full redesign. 

4.    How Much Can Your Business Invest?

If it’s clear that you need to give your site a full overhaul, but your company’s budget doesn’t currently allow for it, hold off and save up for the full redesign. If any of the previous items above apply to your situation, saving up for a redesign will be much more cost-effective than investing in short-term changes that may not make an impact.

When to Invest in Small Website Upgrades 

If after evaluating your website, you feel like a full redesign wouldn’t make sense right now, then a small project may be the best step. Websites are not static, and you should always be looking at the latest trends for ways to boost your results. 

The next step is to figure out what to change on the site. Unlike your home renovation, upgrades to your website are not for you – they’re for your visitors. Keep your web visitors in mind at every step, and be careful to not make haphazard changes based on your own preferences.

Here are a few questions to help you get the biggest "bang for your buck" when making website tweaks. 

1.  Does Your Site Have a High Bounce Rate?

Look at your website analytics to find your most visited web pages and then look at the bounce rate for each page and the bounce rate for the entire site. As seen in the screenshot below, Google Analytics is a great tool for businesses to figure out this type of information. 

The bounce rate indicates how quickly a visitor leaves the site.

The bounce rate indicates how quickly a visitor leaves the site. In turn, a high bounce rate for a specific page suggests that the page is not as engaging as it could be. These pages are therefore prime contenders for an isolated redesign: just a few tweaks could be all they need.

If you notice an extremely high bounce rate for the overall site, a full redesign may be in order.    

2. Does Your Website Reflect Your Current Services?

Your website often serves as your 24/7 representation of your business. If your site doesn’t accurately portray all your services/products, you could be losing out on customers or confusing web visitors.

Review your service/product pages every few months. If you launch a new service, consider designing a dedicated page. This can really help with marketing or sales efforts.  

3. Does Your Site Have Stable Security?

Unfortunately, website security is now a significant issue for all businesses.  Even skipping a simple security protocol like having an SSL certificate installed can impact your website and conversions.

Most web browsers, including Google Chrome, will now display a security warning message to web visitors.

Most web browsers, including Google Chrome, will now display a security warning message to web visitors.

Users will get this message if an SSL isn’t installed or a security breach is detected by the browser. While you may be able to put off certain improvements, never postpone fixing security issues on your website. 

4. Does Your Website Have Performance Issues?

Improving the page speed and performance of your site is always a good investment. Web visitors expect sites to load in less than three seconds and will often bounce if a site takes longer to load, especially on mobile devices. 

Because so many factors can affect performance, your site speed can change drastically over time. Every few months run several performance tests and work with a skilled web development team on optimization work. 

5. Does Your Homepage Have a Modern Design?

Your website homepage is typically the most visited page of your site. If you need to make adjustments to any page of your site, start with the home page. Because design trends change so quickly, it’s easy to spot an outdated website.

If you aren’t ready to invest in a full redesign, you may want to look at a homepage redesign only. It can transform the look of your site and make the biggest impact. 

Consider What Your Website Needs to Stay Ahead

If after evaluating your website, it is clear that your business needs to go the route of a redesign, you may still have some hesitation. Just like moving homes, it’s normal to be nervous about a big change. Do your research and find a trusted web team that will follow best practices for maintaining SEO, integrate your branding into the new design and help you navigate any functionality challenges. 

If you decide to go the route of making just a few small site changes, make sure you have realistic expectations for the project. Like any home renovation, be clear about the scope of work before you get started so that your renovation remains focused and doesn't turn into an inadvertent full-site overhaul and a huge expense.


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