To Rebuild or Refresh: That Is the (Web Design) Question

Computer with emoji thinking on the screen.

Over time, your business will inevitably shift and change, and so should your website.

There’s a flurry of demolition outside our office window as construction workers tear up the road, fix what needs fixing, and build up layers to create a surface that can support vehicles (and hey—maybe even a bike lane) for years to come. This metaphor might be a bit of a reach, but this literal and figurative shaking-up has left us feeling inspired to dive deep into how businesses can decide if their current website just isn’t working for them anymore, or if a simple refresh is all that’s needed to optimize performance.

It takes users about 50 milliseconds to determine if they’re in love with the visual appeal of your website, meaning your website doesn’t have long to make a great impression. Whether your goal is to increase website conversions or to showcase your revamped branding, there comes a time when you’ll need to answer the big question: do I need a new website?

As a business owner, here are some factors to help you determine whether you should invest in a website rebuild or refresh.

When is it better to rebuild your website?

There are a few situations in which a complete website rebuild might best serve your business and your customers, such as:

Your company is pivoting. If you’re rebranding your business or making significant changes to your marketing strategy, a new website helps show off the new “you” to the world.

There are too many technical issues. Tired of trying to diagnose dead links, missing images or cryptic error messages? These problems can add up, especially when a site isn’t properly maintained – it might cost more to pay a web developer to fix these issues than to start from scratch. Working with a professional can help you move on from these tedious issues, and provide an impressive new online home for your business.

Your website is outdated. If your website still looks—or runs—like it was created when you couldn’t use the internet and your landline at the same time, it might be time to upgrade to a mobile-responsive and accessible website that better serves your customers.

Starting from scratch and rebuilding your website creates space to get your creative juices flowing and provides the opportunity to critically consider how your online presence connects with your target audience.

When is better to refresh your existing website?

Sometimes, all a website needs is a little sprucing up. Whether that’s an information architecture optimization or slight design tweaks, a refresh is perfect if:

You’re happy with the overall design. You’re absolutely in love with the overall design of your site, but *something* just isn’t sitting right. A website refresh allows you to take a deep-dive into the design elements and content components that constitute your site and figure out how to optimize their presence and maximize site performance.

You want to increase conversions. Ideally, your website will convert curious prospects into invested clients. If your website just isn’t meeting your conversion expectations, an audit and refresh can streamline your messaging and transform your results.

You’d like to move up the search engine result pages with SEO. Whether you’re a local storefront shop or a rapidly growing business, moving your way up search engine results pages (SERPs) allows you to get your business in front of those searching for your services. Download speeds, keywords, and content relevance all play into SEO, so a small content refresh can go a long way.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge you need to decide between a rebuild or refresh, move forward with confidence and create a website that catches—and keeps—the attention of your ideal audience.