Website rebuild vs redesign

The difference between redesigning vs rebuilding a website

Wondering about website rebuild vs. redesign? 

You’ve come to the right place.

According to this HubSpot study, “the top 4 websites in the world attract nearly 33% of the traffic.” These are Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Baidu. Most websites don‘t attract much traffic at all! You don‘t want to be in this category, do you?

If your website isn’t attracting traffic, you need a website redesign or an entire website rebuild. Which one should you do? We will deal with this in this article.

Besides being more pleasing to existing customers, a good application design will also attract new customers too.

What is Website Rebuild vs Redesign?

An illustration of a website before and after redesign

Your website may not attract traffic due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • If it was attracting traffic earlier but isn’t doing it now, the reason could be the recent changes you made.
  • Someone might have dropped the website tracking code, due to a change in a plug-in or other website code changes.
  • The market channels you use could have become less effective.
  • There may be technical issues such as “404 errors”, or delayed webpage load.
  • The information architecture may be outdated.
  • Web server overload often causes crashes and delays, thus turning users away.
  • Meta information, e.g., keywords may have been removed inadvertently.
  • The geographies you target may now have other contenders for their attention, hence your website is receiving less attention.
  • Hacking of your website may result in the site being blocked or blacklisted by search engines like Google.
  • Google search algorithm changes may have impacted your site. This could mean the content you create may need to be improved significantly. It could also mean that there are unnatural links to your site, therefore, Google is penalizing the site.
  • Domain or ’Domain Name Server’ (DNS) issues may also contribute to lower traffic to your site.

Read more about these reasons in “12 common reasons your website traffic is dropping“. A cursory glance on the above list tells us that a website rebuild or redesign can solve quite a few of these issues. That‘s why we are talking about it in the first place.

But, this list still doesn’t solve the website rebuild vs redesign dilemma.

What is a redesign of a website?

Redesigning a website typically involves modernizing it. It may include changing some design elements. The work may also include improving some aspects of the website, however, the fundamentals of the website remain the same.

When you build a website for the first time, you likely use the technology available at that time. You focus on the needs of your customers, additionally, you incorporate your organizations’ branding guidelines. However, technology changes. The designing techniques also evolve.

Over time, your website may look dated, i.e., it’s not keeping up with modern technologies or designing techniques. You need to change the look and feel of the website so that you can reinvent your outreach to your customers. This is website redesigning.

This could mean updating the graphics, furthermore, you might enhance the layout. You could also rearrange the content. While doing so, you need to stay abreast of the latest ’Search Engine Optimization‘ (SEO) best practices. Remember that SEO best practices are continuously evolving.

When to redesign a website?

How does an entrepreneur know that it‘s time to redesign the website for his or her business? Usually, there are tell-tale signs. Proactively look out for the following indications, to know if you should redesign your website:

  • While the traffic to the website might still be okay, your conversion rate is reducing.
  • You see reduces sales, and a lower number of leads are coming up.
  • When compared with websites for similar products or services, your website doesn‘t look good enough.
  • Mobile visitors are leaving your website too soon. The website isn‘t ’mobile responsive‘.
  • The website isn‘t communicating your brand value adequately.
  • You are consistently outsmarted by your competitors.
  • Your Google ranking has gone down, and consistently.
  • Adding new content to the website is no longer easy.
  • The website technology still uses a dated ’Content Management System‘ (CMS), whereas several trendy CMSs have sprung up since then.

Read more about these indications in “Calling It time for a website redesign”.

Alternatively, companies such as DevriX specialize in website development. If you are not sure how your website will benefit from a redesign, and how much it will cost, you can ask an expert.

That said, lets take a look at what the pros of redesigning your website are.

Benefits of redesigning a website

How can you decide when or if you need a simple website redesign? For that, you should know its‘ benefits. Read on, to find out the benefits of a website redesign:

Improve effective communication via your website

The appearance of your website is key. Most consumers get influenced by how your website communicates your values. Branding, color, logo, layout, etc. play key roles here.

Stay up to date with the latest design trends

Website design evolves, and new trends appear. New ways of communicating via graphics and images emerge regularly. A redesign of your website will allow you to catch up with these. Your customers won’t find our website dated.

Retain visitors with better usability

Over the years, adding content to the website can make it look unwieldy. As I had mentioned earlier, there are far too many websites. Websites lacking in user-friendliness lose visitors. A website redesign exercise enables you to arrange your content better, therefore, it becomes more user-friendly.

Read more about it in “8 ways website redesign can help your business”.

Showcase new products/service

Marketing new products and services can be hard with an unwieldy website. Redesigning your website opens opportunities for you to market your new product and service offerings.

A visible upgrade of the technology

Consider WordPress CMS. Top WordPress plugins like WPForms and OptinMonster receive frequent upgrades that enhance their functionalities. If you are using a WordPress website but not such plugins, you could be constraining your functionalities and user engagement.

Using the latest plugins enables you to visibly upgrade your technology. Even if you aren‘t using WordPress, you get the idea, don‘t you?

Improve your reach

When you redesign, you will likely use new social integration, email marketing, or SEO plugins. These enhance your reach.

What is involved in a website rebuild?

Now that I have described what is a redesign of a website, let‘s understand what is a website rebuild. The differences are crucial since they enable you to choose between redesigning vs rebuilding a website.

Rebuilding a website doesn‘t confine itself to look and feel. It impacts the underlying technology, additionally, it might include changes to the website functionalities. You might examine all aspects such as the web server, CMS, database, and the code.

The website rebuilding process requires you to ask fundamental questions, as follows:

  • How to make the website more usable?
  • Are you using the right CMS for your use case?
  • How is the website load time, and how does it compare with the industry standard?

Read more about website rebuilding in “Rebuilding your website? Start with goals and objectives”.

When to go for a website rebuild?

Before you had launched your website first, you had a strategy around it. Your website might have worked well against that strategy. However, with technology changing at a break-neck speed, the strategy around a website also changes.

If you sit down now to redraw your website marketing strategy, you will likely include new aspects. For example, your initial strategy might not have focused on mobile much. The mobile Internet traffic was less at that time. However, that has changed now, and mobile responsiveness is key.

Read “25 creative website marketing strategies and ideas” for more such examples.

When your website can no longer support your website marketing strategy, you need to rebuild it. An example is an old website built largely on HTML code. Such a website can‘t support most features of modern CMSs like WordPress. A simple website redesign will no longer suffice.

Benefits of a website rebuild 

When you rebuild a website, it‘s typically no longer mutually exclusive with redesigning it. Think about it. With an overhauled, modern technology foundation, you can now take advantage of modern web design principles. You will most likely undertake some website redesigning activities along with rebuilding.

Due to this, after rebuilding a website, you will likely reap the benefits of redesigning also. Following are just a few examples of benefits, however, this is not an exhaustive list.

Improved ’User Experience‘ (UX):

Take, for example, the use of a video on the landing page to explain your business. Your earlier technology stack might have constrained your choice of how you showed it. With a modern stack now, you can show such a video more elegantly now.

Faster loading of the webpage:

Page speed is an important metric for Google to rank your website higher. An overhauled technology and infrastructure stack can help you to improve page speed. For example, you can enable GZIP compression in your WordPress site.

Read more about it in “How to enable GZIP compression in WordPress”.

A responsive website:

If your website didn’t adjust to the different screen sizes of the various devices, it wasn’t responsive. A dated technology stack wouldn’t allow designing responsive websites. A rebuilt website has an overhauled technology stack, therefore, you can now make your website responsive.

Tips on redesigning a website

When you decide to redesign your website, you will need to plan for the following key tasks:

Define your objectives:

You need clarity on your goals before setting out to redesign your website. For example, your objectives could be to attract more visitors and generate more leads.

Engage a website redesigning partner:

If you already have a skilled team at your disposal, then you can entrust them with the task. Review the HubSpot website design resources, if you need help. If you don‘t have such a team, you will need to engage professional website design agencies.

Choose appropriate tools:

This is crucial for the smooth execution of the project. HubSpot provides a great platform to redesign your website, additionally, you can easily integrate your marketing effort with the website.

Read “Redesign your website” for more details.

Check key guidelines and resources:

Redesigning a website can be a complex project depending on your requirements. You and your team need the right resources for this project. I want to introduce you to a few such resources, which are as follows:

  • HubSpot designer documents: You can access useful guides here, for example, a CMS discovery kit to help you code on HubSpot. They offer a suite of important CMS developer documentation. Visit the following link to read these documents in detail.
  • HubSpot guide to redesigning a website: HubSpot also offers a comprehensive guide for redesigning a website. You can find it here.

Tips for a website rebuild:

Rebuilding a website can be a far more involved project. It may impact many website components. You may need to overhaul several aspects, e.g., hosting, CMS, etc. A capable team is important.

You also need to manage this complex project from end-to-end. Following are a few key considerations, however, this isn‘t an exhaustive list.

Hosting decision-making:

You may have found that your website isn’t performant enough to merit a high Google ranking. The reasons could be code issues or a sub-optimal web hosting. If hosting is an issue, you need to get a reliable, scalable, and performant hosting service.

Before you decide, do your research and find out which web hosting providers are the best on the market right now.

Choose the right CMS platform for a website rebuild:

CMS platforms make it easier to quickly launch your website. Popular CMS platforms use modern technology stacks, furthermore, they allow integrating various functions using plugins.

If your website was using an outdated technology stack, then switching to a modern CMS platform can significantly enhance its‘ functionalities. WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix are a few popular CMS platforms.

A skilled team, and the right project management methodology for a website rebuild:

You need the right team for a website rebuilding project. Such a team should consist of designers, expert web developers, testers, and a project manager.

A website is a ’System of Engagement‘ (SoE), i.e., a tool for you to reach your customers. SoEs undergo frequent changes, therefore, you need to use an iterative development methodology. I recommend the Agile methodology for this.

Read our guide “How to build an Agile development team?” for more details.

Planning for a Website Rebuild or Redesign?

The decision of redesigning vs rebuilding a website largely depends on where your website stands vis-a-vis your website marketing strategy. Providers like HubSpot and the hosting providers publish their price on their websites.

Quite a few CMSs are free, e.g., WordPress. However, you may require specific plugins, and some of those are paid plugins. Your website redesigning or rebuilding manpower cost depends on the scope of the project and your local labour market.

If you, as a business CEO or CTO, are looking for experienced software developers to revamp your website successfully using the latest technologies, DevTeam.Space can help you here via its field-expert software developers community.

You can easily partner with these vetted and experienced software developers by sending us your initial project requirements via this quick form. One of our account managers will get back to you to discuss further details on how we can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions on website rebuild vs redesign

Which is the better option – redesign or rebuild a website?

The answer depends on how old your website is and what you need it to do. There is only so long that you can keep adding features to an existing site without problems. Sites need to keep up with the latest technologies. If your new site requires a substantial redesign then you might be better rebuilding it from scratch.

Is it cheaper to redesign or rebuild a website?

A redesign is nearly always cheaper than a rebuild. Website owners should be reviewing their sites every 2 years or so in order to undertake an update and usually a redesign too. Since the redesign is largely UI focused, it is cheaper.

Why should I update my website?

Users are constantly demanding new interfaces and latching onto new trends. This means that websites quickly appear outdated and old if they are not regularly updated.

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