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Website Refresh or Redesign: Which Do I Need and When?

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“I don’t feel like our website reflects who we are anymore.” 

“Why is it so hard to find what I want on our website?”

“Our website is taking forever to load.”

Sound familiar? If so, then you probably know you need to improve your website, but you may not know where to start! 

Maybe you’ve engaged third parties to do the work, then realized that you aren’t sure what work you actually need to be performed. You hear terms like “website refresh” and “website redesign” interchangeably… but are they? And what exactly does each mean?

Website Refresh

A refresh typically leaves the infrastructure of your website intact and focuses on updating more stylistic or content elements. Periodic refreshes take less time and draw on fewer resources. They can help delay the need for a more in-depth website redesign.

When should I refresh my website?

Refreshes should be done frequently to update stale content and to incorporate current best practices for optimization. Maybe you’ve done some brand work – like a new logo and color palette – that needs to be reflected on your site. Or maybe your website could benefit from content changes to better speak to your target personas. Perhaps a refinement to your layout or additional pages is needed to better convert customers. These are all good reasons to refresh your website. 

Website Redesign

A website redesign, on the other hand, is much more involved – in resources, time, and costs. You are basically rebuilding your website from the ground up! It goes beyond the user-facing updates and evaluates the infrastructure of the site.  

A good website redesign process will start with Discovery sessions. This discovery should be in-depth and laser-focused on the ideal buyer and their needs. This process also takes into account everything from the look and feel to functionality. Mercury believes in Discovery sessions so much that they’re mandatory for all our redesign projects! 

Discovery is the first part of our Mercury Method: Spread Your Wings. This crucial process informs key website elements like the sitemap, wireframes, compliance analysis, content strategy, and hosting + platform recommendations.

When do I need a website redesign?

If your organization is going through a Comprehensive Rebrand, then a website redesign is critical to match the investment you made in new Brand Elements. You want your new logo, palette, typography, and other style elements reflected in your website! You also want the content curated for your new target personas woven throughout your website’s user experience. 

Haven’t refreshed your website for a couple of years? You are probably in need of a redesign. Does your website look dated? Are your customers encountering frustrating navigation? Is your website loading very slowly (which greatly impacts your customer’s experience and your SEO)? These are all results of a website that has sat idle over time.

Technology may also necessitate a website redesign. Is your website running on an outdated platform? On a non-secure site? Is it not optimized for mobile-first? Changes to tech on your website, such as incorporating a new e-commerce feature, are often best accommodated with a redesign.

Website Refresh vs Redesign in Summary

Website refreshes and redesigns are not the same. They involve different levels of resources and address different levels of needs. 

Now you should have a better understanding of what each entails and be equipped with questions you can ask yourself to determine which one you need!

Mercury has digital strategists, developers, and designers that can work with you every step of the way to suggest how to improve your website, and what to prioritize first.

Learn more about our website redesign process and what you can expect when you work with our team of experts. 

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