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website design or website refresh battle
Website Design

Website Wars: The Battle Between Redesigns and Refreshes

So many websites fall short of their goals. A website that once accurately represented the brand, can over time, offer up mixed messaging, present a dated visual appearance, or become completely frustrating for the user. Conversely, some beautiful websites may fail to drive meaningful conversions or user engagement.

When it comes to your website, the decision for many CMOs – who are tasked with growing the brand, expanding its reach, generating new leads, AND managing a budget – the question inevitably arises: do we need a new website or can we simply improve the existing one?

light saber battle

At Peaktwo, our priority is to first be an advisor, providing guidance and expertise to help our clients navigate the hard business decisions. It’s why we’ve adopted a “strategy first, build second” philosophy. As a marketing partner to companies for over 15 years, we understand the complexities of your role and are here to make things easier.

So to get you started in this epic battle, here are some of the more common pros and cons of each approach. We encourage you to reach out for suggestions on your specific situation.

In this Corner… The Website Redesign

 

THE PROS

Cohesion
Clean slate! Starting with a blank canvas allows you to create a more cohesive narrative and experience throughout your site, bringing to life your brand and ethos in a way that truly engages and appeals to your target audience. Every element can be meticulously designed to guide visitors through a seamless customer journey, from first impression to conversion.

Freshness
It starts with great branding. Pair that with a capable product, and you’re ahead of most. A modern redesign can polish everything with a fresh look and feel that clearly positions your brand ahead of the competition. A new design can demonstrate innovation, investment and certainly has that wow factor that makes a strong first impression.

Foundation for Growth
Starting from scratch means you’re in total control of the tech stack. Choose your CMS of preference, built with a clean code base on a platform meant to scale and finally say goodbye to quick patches, messy fixes, and workarounds

 

THE CONS

Investment
Depending on your needs, the upfront cost of website design can be substantial, ranging anywhere from $50K to six figures. While it can be a worthwhile investment into your brand’s future, it’s essential to weigh this against any time or budget constraints along with the goals and priorities of the company.  To get a better idea of the three main tiers for website pricing, check out this in depth article.

Search-Engine-Optimization (SEO) Considerations
Don’t underestimate the risks of disrupting SEO efforts, and potentially impacting traffic and authority. Careful planning and implementation are critical to mitigate challenges and ensure a smooth transition without sacrificing search engine visibility. Working with an experienced agency that understands SEO fundamentals is paramount.

Resource Requirements
Designing and building a new website is the easy part. Navigating technical complexities such as the migration of 1,000s of posts, writing fresh content, even taking new headshots is harder. While an agency can handle much of the heavy technical lifting, often the time consuming elements need to be managed internally and require expertise, organization, and meticulous attention to detail to keep projects on schedule and on budget.

And in this Corner… The Website Refresh

 

THE PROS

Budget-Friendly
Improving an existing website (content, design, performance) is often the more cost-effective option when compared to a full redesign, at least in the short term. By building upon the existing architecture, you can minimize development costs while still updating messaging, modernizing the look and feel, and improving the user experience (UX).

Readiness
Sometimes an organization just isn’t ready for a new website. Maybe they are in the middle of a rebrand or the next software release isn’t ready. A refresh provides the opportunity to improve aspects of your current site without waiting for next year’s budget.

Immediacy
When driven by a thoughtful strategy, planned improvements enable you to quickly address specific pain points, and then gradually improve the performance of the entire site over time. For example, if there is a critical tradeshow a few months away, a strategic refresh of key areas will be your best bet.

 

THE CONS

Mediocrity Trap
Refreshing a website runs the risk of falling into the “mediocrity trap,” where incremental changes fail to fully align with the brand’s current vision and identity. When attempted without a cohesive strategy, the resulting website may lack cohesion and fail to have make the intended impact on your visitors. Don’t fall victim to the Franken-site.

Legacy Limitations
Band-aids to a website can only work for so long. Staying within the constraints of existing architecture and frameworks can limit the scope of improvements and innovation. Over time, accumulated technical issues and outdated features may hinder site performance, SEO, or usability, forcing a more comprehensive overhaul sooner than later.

Balancing Act
Is this really a refresh or a redesign in sheep’s clothing? Determining the extent of the refresh necessary to achieve the desired result isn’t always easy. It’s essential to strike a balance between addressing immediate needs and planning for future growth, without overcommitting to incremental changes that may fall short of expectations.

And the Winner Is…

Well, there is no clear winner – at least you aren’t going to find your answer in on a blog post. These are just a few things to consider in your decision. The right path forward is unique for every business, and should be made along with a complete understanding of its impact to the bottomline.

But we can help! Websites are what we do best here at Peaktwo, and we’re no strangers to rapid refreshes, phased-buildouts, or starting from scratch. If you’re considering your options, let’s talk about it. We begin each project with a strategic phase we call Basecamp, a systematic approach to understanding your business, evaluating your website, and creating a custom plan that aligns to your unique situation.

Contact us today, or see our work. We look forward to throwing down with you.