We recently redesigned our website, and we love how it turned out. A website refresh or redesign can be a lot of work, so we put together this guide to help you on your way to a beautiful, functional, well-converting website.
Why It’s Important to Refresh Your Website
Picture this: You’ve got a beautifully designed website that clearly articulates your business’ mission and services. It’s a good representation of your practice. It converts well. Your work is done, right?
A stellar website is way more than just set it and forget it – it needs to be regularly serviced and updated to keep it running at top performance. Think of it like repainting your house or changing the oil in your car: If you don’t do it, sooner or later, things are gonna get ugly.
There are many reasons to periodically refresh your website. For one thing, it keeps your website following modern best practices and user experience (UX) guidelines. It can also give you an SEO boost, as search engines tend to reward newer content. But be careful – too much at once can have a negative effect on your rankings.
What’s the difference between a refresh and a redesign?
You may think these terms are interchangeable, but technically speaking, there is a subtle difference. A refresh impacts the look and feel of your website – small content changes and updates, visual stuff. A redesign affects the structure and functionality of your website. A redesign involves significant changes to the actual code of a website, whereas a refresh typically does not.
You might decide to refresh your website when you add or lose team members, add or remove service offerings, move offices, or just want to update content. You might opt for a redesign if you decide the website needs to function in a different way or if you want to change the way it is built. To keep with the car metaphor, a refresh would be like installing new interior or changing the oil, while a redesign would be like installing a new engine.
How do you know when it’s time to redesign or refresh your website?
Most experts suggest fully redesigning your website every 2-3 years, but some sources say you could wait up to five years between redesigns. Refreshes, since they take less work, should be done periodically – every year or so at the least.
If you undergo a change in staffing, location, or branding, this is a great opportunity to refresh your website. If you notice that your website is lacking in mobile responsiveness, is running slow, or otherwise doesn’t seem to meet the needs of your visitors, it might be time to consider a refresh.
Website Refresh Checklist
Before you can jump in and get your hands dirty, you should make a plan to execute your refresh (or redesign) quickly and effectively.
First, determine the purpose of your refresh/redesign. Did you update your brand? Did something in your practice change? Are some of the features not functioning correctly? Maybe it’s just time to freshen up. All of these are good reasons to revisit your website strategy.
Next, take a look at the analytics. What does your bounce rate look like? What pages/elements are people interacting with the most? Where do visitors spend the most time? How do they arrive at your website? These are all questions to ask yourself when reviewing your site analytics.
You should also review your site functionality. Make sure that all your links, both internal and external, are still live and leading where you want them to go. Ensure that your site is easy to navigate for new visitors. Test out all the different features – videos, forms, quizzes – and make sure they’re all working like they’re supposed to. Make note of any problems or broken assets.
Take a look at your site hierarchy. Are there any pages that can be removed or combined? Do you need to add new pages or sections? Is your site structure natural and logical? If a brand-new user came to your site today, how easy would it be for them to find what they are looking for?
Decide what changes you want to make, and at what scale. How can you fix the problems you’ve discovered in previous steps?
Choose the right team. For something as important as your website, you can’t trust just anybody. You may find it beneficial to partner with a professional team, one with experts in content, design, and web development. Having help can make the process that much easier, faster, and more enjoyable.
One final tip: Don’t change too much too fast – you want to maintain a positive user experience for your clients and prospects. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!
We hope you find this guide helpful as you embark on your very own website refresh or redesign. If you run into trouble or need a second opinion, our team is always happy to help!