Should you update your website, or start again from scratch?

9 December 2019 • Responsive web design, Web development

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What are the rules when it comes to deciding when to update your website? How long should you keep your current design before starting again? And is it always necessary to go right back to the drawing board each time?  

How often should I update, redesign or reengineer my website? 

It can be argued that when it comes to considering how often you should update, redesign or reengineer your website, the only rule is that there are no hard and fast rules

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Why? Simply because this kind of a decision very much depends on your business goals, objectives and wider economic considerations, rather than a randomly derived timeframe. 

So what kind of factors should you take into consideration when deciding how often to update your website? 

Update your website on a regular basis

Gone are the days when businesses could launch a website and then take the next 12 months off, happy in the knowledge that their digital presence was covered. 

With the rise of the internet and more and more websites being built and made live every day, the onus is firmly on the business itself to keep its web presence alive if it expects to appear organically in any search engine results pages (SERPs).

And in order to appear anywhere within the top 3 pages of Google for example, brands need to consider devising a content strategy that sees regular, relevant and fresh content uploaded to the site, ideally several times a month.

What difference will it make? Well, Rick Burnes at Hubspot surveyed data from 1,531 HubSpot customers (mostly small and medium-sized businesses) and found that 795 of the businesses blogged, whilst 736 didn’t. 

He dug deeper and found that: 

“companies that blog have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has:

  • 55% more visitors
  • 97% more inbound links
  • 434% more indexed pages”

That’s an incredible uplift for a relatively small investment. 

When to redesign the look of your website rather than rebuild it

It’s been agreed that websites need to be kept regularly updated in order to be indexed by the big search engines and stand any chance of a decent organic ranking. 

See also →  How to boost sales with live chat on your website or app

But when should you redesign your website, rather than simply rebuild it again from scratch?

Refreshing or rebranding your business

Assuming the technology behind your site is still current, there is rarely a need to completely rebuild a website from scratch. 

But you might want to consider a redesign if, for example, you have chosen to refresh your brand or totally rebrand your business

Updating your brand image needs careful consideration but could result in a new colour palette, logo, imagery and font that need to carry through to your online as well as offline presence.

Widening your product range or services

Adding new products or services to your existing offering can often lead to a website redesign as you look to reach out to a new, wider market or offer a brand new product to your existing market.

Redesigning your user journey 

You might also choose to redesign your website because your analytics show an unacceptably high bounce rate which indicates that your current design is not converting web traffic as effectively as it could. 

Updating your brand to enhance your user experience can mean the difference between a website or app that really drives customers to buy your products or hire your service and one which falls short of the mark.

When to rebuild your website from scratch

Other than wanting to start again from scratch, the main driver for completely rebuilding a website tends to be technical. 

And it’s usually a push factor that means that otherwise leaving your site as it is would negatively affect your organic ranking and any chance of future web traffic – let alone conversions on your site. 

If your website is not responsive

Search Engine Journal reported back in 2017 that “mobile web browsing has overtaken desktop browsing as the device of first choice of internet users” and it is now well known that Google operates a policy of ‘mobile first’ when it comes to indexing websites.

Therefore if your website doesn’t automatically adapt for screen size then your site should be rebuilt as a priority. 

If you don’t have access to your CMS

All websites should usually come with access to a content management system (CMS) that allows you as the owner to make changes to the site within given parameters. 

If this is not the case with your site and you currently pay out to a third party designer or developer to make simple copy changes, then it can be worth rebuilding your site to save money going forward.

See also →  6 proven ways to tell if your website UX is really any good

If the technology driving your website is out of date

The technology behind web design and development changes all the time, occasionally rendering other technologies obsolete.

For example, as Creative Stream Marketing notes, “if you have an older website built mostly with HTML, you probably can’t incorporate many of the new features seen on more modern content management systems like WordPress.”

Outdated technology also includes, for example, sites built using Flash, which is no longer supported by Apple on either its iPhones or iPads – therefore cutting out a significant proportion of potential traffic. 

It is also known that Flash can slow a website down and speed is another key ranking factor for Google. In short, a site running Flash is outdated and requires rebuilding. 

If your current site wont rank organically 

Following on from factors that can slow down a website, such as running Flash, it is worth considering the myriad of other SEO markers that search engines such as Google use to index and rank a site.

Site speed is one of these. But you should also consider site size; site security and ease of access. 

If these technologies cannot easily be updated on your current site then a redesign might be in order. 

When the cost of rebuilding is less than the cost of redesigning! 

This may well sound obvious but there comes a point with a website when the cost to redesign is outweighed by the cost to start again from scratch.

A little like the cost of repairing a crashed car, it is always first worth investigating the price to rebuild your current site using the latest technologies as this may sometimes come in cheaper than the hours needed to reconfigure an existing site.  

It therefore may well pay to ‘write-off’ the current version of your website and invest in all the latest developments for a more affordable cost.

Get advice about how to develop your website

If you have an existing website and would value an honest and objective assessment of its current performance and whether or not you should commission a new build, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with

We are a small and friendly team based in Leicestershire, with a wide range of expertise in all of the following areas: 

  • App development
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  • UX design
  • Digital strategy
  • Responsive web design
  • Graphic design
  • Video animation 
  • Content
  • Marketing support 

And we would be more than happy to help you with any aspect your digital marketing strategy.

Whatever you are looking for, contact us to talk through the creative processes of any of our services and products.    

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