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What's in the Article

  • What is a Website Redesign?
  • What is a Website Rebuild?
  • 5 Must-Ask Questions Before Choosing a Website Redesign or Rebuild

Thinking about a website redesign? Or should you just completely rebuild the whole thing?

You have goals for your business. If your website isn’t getting the job done, you’re probably wondering about redesigning or rebuilding your website. How do you know which one is right for your business? Ask yourself these five questions first before rushing into a decision.

But, before we dive into these questions, let’s take a look at the difference between a website redesign and a rebuild.

What is a Website Redesign?

In a nutshell, redesigning a website involves making it more modern. But, it’s usually more involved than just making a superficial update. This may include updating web design elements, improving navigation, enhancing visuals, or changing the look and feel to enhance engagement with customers. The fundamentals of the website framework, however, remains the same which can pose unique challenges.

When you launched your website years back, it most likely worked for your strategy at the time. However, since customer expectations and technology are constantly changing, so should your website. If you want your business to grow, your web presence must also adapt and change, too.

Sometimes all it takes is a little refresh.

But, other times, that refresh is not enough.

What is a Website Rebuild?

When a simple refresh is not enough, it’s time to think about rebuilding your website. Rebuilding a website is basically starting over with a clean slate. You’re updating the underlying technology, which may include changes to the functionality, web server, CMS, coding, database and more.

If your current website can no longer support your organization’s needs, you need to rebuild.

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5 Must-Ask Questions

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5 Must-Ask Questions Before Choosing a Website Redesign or Rebuild

A lot of factors go into designing and building a website. Whether you’re redesigning or rebuilding, we know you want to nail it the first time around.

Do You Have a CMS?

Surprisingly, many websites are still operating without a content management system (CMS) or they’re running on an outdated version that their organization outgrew years ago. When you’re thinking about launching a website redesign or rebuild, this is a big question to answer at the beginning.

Think about how it will need to be updated, who will be making the updates and how often it will need to be updated. Upgrading your website (rebuild) on a CMS platform, such as WordPress, may prove to be a worthwhile choice that can offer numerous benefits down the road.

How Does Your Website Look on Different Size Screens?

User experience has the power to make or break any website. These days, users expect that your website should look and function the same whether it’s viewed on a desktop or the smartphone in their pocket. And, it’s not just user experience we need to worry about. Google has become particularly focused on mobile-responsive and accessible website designs.

Not sure if your current site makes the cut? Try out Google’s tool, Lighthouse, that ranks your website’s performance and identifies any issues with accessibility. We use it, and love it.

If your website does not have a responsive design, this will require a rebuild of the CSS/HTML to account for accessibility on different screen widths.

What Do You Want Users to Do On Your Website?

These days, every brand needs to have a website presence. But, it has to serve a specific purpose to properly serve your brand and customers. Whether that’s to inform, engage, or entice prospects to make a purchase, there should be no question what users are supposed to accomplish when they land on your site. If you can’t direct them to the right next step, they’ll leave which will not only affect your reputation, but also how your website ranks in search engines.

Research shows that most visitors leave a website in just a few seconds of first visiting it. This means you have a very small window of time to hook someone before they click away to the competition. That being said, what is the one thing you want them to take away from during those first few seconds? Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Do you want them to make a purchase or subscribe to a service?

The possibilities are endless.

However you answer this question will determine whether you need a redesign or rebuild. For example, if you just need to clean up content for a clear call to action and adjust navigation to enhance user experience, you can typically get away with a website redesign. On the other hand, if you’re selling products online and want people to make a purchase, that would require you to rebuild your site on an ecommerce platform. And, if you need a member portal, that kind of website is an entirely different beast and will also require a rebuild.

Hash it out and get specific on all the details. It’s important to think about what you want users to accomplish on your website. Ultimately, delivering the right information in the right way will result in a great user experience, decreased bounce rates and a stellar organic performance.

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5 Must-Ask Questions

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What Goals Do You Have That Aren’t Currently Being Met By Your Current Website?

One of the biggest questions you can answer is “why?” Why do you need a new website?

  • Are your conversion rates too low?
  • Is your current website too difficult to make updates?
  • Do you need a new framework?
  • Do you just need to update messaging?

Gain clarity on this by identifying what goals you currently have that aren’t being met by your current website. Let’s take a look at a few common scenarios to help guide you in the right direction:

  • Do you have new services or products to add? Website Redesign
  • Has your company rebranded? Website Redesign
  • Has your website become slow or feel clucky to make simple edits? Rebuild
  • Is your website unresponsive (not mobile friendly)? Rebuild
  • Does your website look like it was built in the 90s? Or was it actually built in the 90s? Rebuild
  • Your bounce rate is extremely high and noticeably slow to load. Rebuild
  • You need more features on your current website. Depends on your current platform and provider.

Who Will Be In Charge of Redesigning vs Rebuilding Your Website?

Now that you have some direction, it will not only make the entire process a lot less stressful for you, but will also allow the project to move along more quickly. Of course, there are many project-specific considerations to factor in, but these questions should help you get started in the right direction.

Either way you go, this will be a major, but worthwhile, effort. Which means only one more big question remains: who will guide your brand and manage the new site build? Do you have an in-house web team and/or the time to make this a primary focus for the next few months?

If the answer is “no,” it’s time to find the right web agency for the job. Ideally, you’ll want to work with someone who can provide you with all the services you need to redesign or rebuild your website. Many organizations end up hiring a web developer for their website, but miss out on the branding side. A holistic agency, like CMDS will dive into brand strategy, copywriting, multimedia, etc., in addition to all the technical complexities. To see a few examples of our work, head over to our portfolio page.

Unhappy with your current website and still not sure if you should do a redesign or rebuild one from scratch? We’d love to hear your story, do a site review and get you guided in the right direction.

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5 Must-Ask Questions

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