logo redesign from monochrome to color as part of web branding

Website redesign explained: when, why and how

Reading time: 12 minutes

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, the evolution of technology is relentless. What once seemed cutting-edge quickly becomes outdated, leaving businesses pondering the need for a website redesign.

If you find yourself asking whether it’s time to refresh your website, the answer is likely a resounding “yes,” and the time to act is now.

However, the prospect of redesigning your website may seem daunting, reminiscent of the confusion that accompanied the introduction of new technologies, like deciphering which port your first ethernet cable plugged into. Despite the initial effort involved, clinging to outdated practices only hinders your progress.

Fortunately, the process of website redesign doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Below, we’ll guide you through the steps to achieve a swift and seamless redesign, addressing the fundamental question of why updating your website is essential in the first place.

Why shake things up with a website redesign?

Ah, the eternal question: why fix something if it’s not broken? When it comes to your website, sometimes a little shake-up is just what the digital doctor ordered. Here’s why hitting the refresh button on your web design can work wonders for your online presence:

  • Boost traffic: A redesign can streamline how visitors move through your website, making it easier to navigate and potentially attracting more traffic.
  • Enhance user experience: Imagine your website as a five-star hotel. A redesign can upgrade the amenities, ensuring every visitor feels like a VIP from the moment they step through the virtual door.
  • Dominate the SEO game: Google’s always changing the rules of the game. A redesign can help you stay ahead of the curve and climb those search engine rankings.
  • Skyrocket conversions: Think of your website as a savvy salesperson. A fresh design can give your Call-to-Action buttons a boost, whispering “Act now!” with more persuasive finesse.

Sometimes just moving around the CTA button and giving it a fresh coat of paint is enough to grab the attention of potential customers and get them clicking away. Check out Levon Resources’ homepage redesign and see firsthand the significant impact that website design can have on a business’s bottom line.

Before website redesign:

The original homepage of Levon Resources before the website redesign

The original homepage of Levon Resources

After website redesign:

Levon Resources homepage after the website redesign

Levon Resources website redesign by andrei2709 via 99designs by Vista

When to redesign your website: 7 tell-tale signs your website needs a makeover 

Let’s cut to the chase — generally, it’s a good idea to give your website a refresh every 3-4 years. It’s not an exact science, and some situations and businesses might not fit into that timeline perfectly. But if you’re looking for a rough guideline, the folks over at the First Scribe design agency suggest every “3 years, 3 months, 3 days, 3 hours, and 3 minutes on the dot.”

This timeframe tends to align well with the pace of design and SEO trends. Going longer than this can make your website seem outdated to the average internet user.

Now, let’s be real — many companies don’t quite hit that deadline, and some can’t due to resource constraints. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 7 warning signs to help you recognize when it’s time to stop putting off that website redesign.

1. You’re using dated technology 

Is your website stuck in a time warp? Let’s do a quick check – is it playing nice on mobile devices? Back in the day, you could get away with a one-size-fits-all design, but those days are long gone. The internet’s always evolving, and your site needs to evolve with it, or risk becoming a digital relic. According to stats, it can become a real deal breaker as 8 out of 10 users hit the road when a site doesn’t play well on their device.

Let’s take Flash as an example. It used to be everywhere on websites. But when mobile took over, Flash became obsolete. Browsers stopped supporting it, and websites stopped using it. So, if your website still uses Flash or other old tech, it might be time to update it.

2. Your current website template stands in a way of your growth goals

Using template websites like those by Vista x Wix can be a game-changer for small businesses with tight budgets in the beginning. But sooner or later, you’ll need a more spacious and flexible website to match your growing success. 

Moving beyond your basic website setup opens up a world of possibilities. You can level up your online presence with advanced features, jazz up your visuals, let your imagination run wild with custom designs, or fill your site with more content. 

For e-commerce stores, for example, having the flexibility to expand your product range is key. Plus, taking control of your payment processing means keeping more of your hard-earned profits in your pocket, instead of lining someone else’s.

3. You’re looking to target a different market

Revamping your website isn’t just a whim; it’s a strategic move for your business. When you’re aiming to capture a new market segment, your website needs to speak their language — visually and functionally. Picture transitioning from targeting tech-savvy Millennials to catering to the preferences of Baby Boomers. It’s more than just swapping out emojis for more traditional language.

Every demographic, location, and culture has its own set of preferences when it comes to website design, content tone, user experience, and even technical infrastructure. 

If you’re making a significant shift in your target audience, your website needs to evolve accordingly. For instance, factors like the average income of your target market can influence their choice of devices for browsing the web. So, it’s not just about a fresh coat of paint — it’s about aligning every aspect of your website with the needs and preferences of your evolving audience.

4. You’re looking to rebrand your business

Could it be more about you than them? Maybe you’re rethinking your brand values or seeing the potential for greater business by showing a friendlier face. Your website should be a mirror of your brand’s evolving personality.

Even the smallest tweaks, like playing with your brand’s color palette, might mean a total website makeover. Consistency is crucial, and even subtle changes need to fit seamlessly. If your website doesn’t reflect your updated brand image, it risks feeling behind the times.

5. You struggle to keep up with website updates

Keeping your website fresh is key.

Gone are the days of needing coding skills to make updates. With platforms like WordPress, managing your content is a breeze.

Search engines like Google love sites that regularly update their content, like blogs. This can boost your site’s ranking in search results. So, making it easier to update your site is a win-win for both users and search engines.

If the thought of making changes to your site makes you nervous, don’t worry. Content management systems (CMSs) are now simpler and more user-friendly than ever. And let’s be real, they’re super practical too.

6. You want your website design to be fresh and trendy 

Revamping a website isn’t always just a matter of necessity; it’s often about making a bold statement. Just as wearing outdated clothes unironically can raise eyebrows, an outdated website can give potential customers pause, making them reconsider doing business with you.

So, even if your website features still work just fine, and you’re not really expanding into a foreign market, you might still want to check out web design trends and give your website a fresh look. 

7. You’re behind your business plan and it’s impossible for you to meet your business goals

Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room: your website isn’t pulling its weight. If you’re falling short of your conversion targets, struggling with low traffic, battling a sky-high bounce rate, and seeing minimal email signups, it might be time to point the finger at your design.

As we highlighted earlier, effective web design plays a pivotal role in driving conversions and drawing in fresh traffic. If your website isn’t delivering the results you desire, it’s high time to reassess and revamp your design choices from the ground up.

Types of website redesign: What kind of redesign does your website need?

Revamping your website isn’t always straightforward. Ultimately, it boils down to the underlying reason behind the decision to overhaul. Depending on the issue at hand, you might opt for a complete design change, fine-tune specific web design elements, or simply update select parts of your website.

Before diving into the website redesign process, it’s essential to clarify your vision, define your goals, and align them with your budget. Let’s explore some typical approaches to website redesign.

Periodic website update

Think of periodic updates as giving your website a regular refresh, like tidying up your room to keep it cozy and welcoming. Just as you might update your room decor to stay stylish, websites need occasional updates to stay up-to-date and appealing.

Regular updates ensure your site stays modern and easy to use. It also involves tweaking your website to make sure it shows up well in online searches.

Even if you can’t afford a big website makeover every few years, smaller updates can still make a big difference. And remember, if you put off updates for too long, it could end up costing you more. 

Strategic refocusing

Website redesign for strategic refocusing

Website redesign by SeeerKate via 99designs by Vista

Strategic refocusing, also known as strategic realignment, involves redesigning your website to reflect changes in your brand strategy, such as targeting a different market, updating your brand image, or announcing significant events or spokesperson changes.

While some businesses may never require such a shift, for those that do, it can happen unexpectedly and with tight deadlines. The extent of the website redesign depends on the magnitude of the changes, leading to varying costs.

Customer- or data-based website redesigns 

When it comes to customer- or data-driven website redesigns, the focus shifts to making changes based on customer feedback or data analysis. For instance, you might notice complaints from customers about the site’s navigation difficulties or a sharp decline in conversion rates in your analytics.

Understanding your customers is key, and regular user testing is essential for gaining insights. Instead of pointing at the dark, guessing what works and what doesn’t, focus on numbers from your analytics tool to track down the parts of your website that need a change. Put your website design decisions to a test to reveal the best options.

This approach goes beyond visual and usability aspects; analyzing user data can also shed light on which devices your visitors use most, helping prioritize design improvements. Data analysis can reveal surprising insights, particularly if a significant portion of your audience is using devices your site isn’t optimized for.

A great example of this would be BetVoyager that found out their clients weren’t particularly satisfied with the device selection, and wanted a new roulette table that worked on smartphones. The company responded to this customer request and rolled out new functionality. 

A new roulette table that worked on smartphones

Design of a new roulette table that worked on smartphones by Had Zic via 99designs by Vista

How to redesign your website: A step-by-step guide

If you look at your current business performance and realize it’s time for a website redesign, don’t worry. The process is not as daunting as you might think — especially when broken down into specific manageable steps. 

The steps involved in a website redesign can vary depending on your specific needs, but generally, the process includes the following tasks:

  1. Define your website redesign goals
  2. Decide who’ll carry out the website redesign process
  3. Redesign your website

We know, the last step is quite broad, but fear not, we’ll talk about it in more detail in a bit. Read on to learn more about how to redesign a website!

  1. Define your website redesign goals

Drafting clear goals for your website redesign is paramount for streamlining the process and maximizing its effectiveness. By establishing specific objectives, you not only save time and money but also ensure that every aspect of the redesign is aligned with your overarching business strategy.

Here are just a few benefits drafting your website redesign goals can bring to the table:

  • Focus: Setting clear goals helps focus your efforts and resources on the areas of your website that need improvement the most.
  • Alignment: Clearly defined goals ensure that everyone involved in the redesign process understands the objectives and works towards achieving them.
  • Measurement: Having measurable goals allows you to track progress and evaluate the success of your redesign efforts.

Now, let’s delve into some specific website redesign goals that businesses commonly set:

  • Enhanced visual appeal: Improving the aesthetics and visual elements of the website to align with current design trends and reflect the brand’s image.
  • Improved user experience (UX): Enhancing navigation, usability, and accessibility to make it easier for visitors to find information and complete desired actions.
  • Increased conversion rates: Optimizing conversion paths, such as contact forms or checkout processes, to encourage more visitors to take desired actions.
  • Better SEO performance: Enhancing website structure, content, and metadata to improve search engine visibility and attract more organic traffic.
  • Mobile optimization: Ensuring that the website is fully responsive and optimized for mobile devices to provide a seamless experience across all platforms.

Drafting website redesign goals should be a collaborative effort involving representatives from various departments within your organization. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that the goals are comprehensive and aligned with the broader business objectives.

To identify areas for improvement and prioritize changes, consider leveraging the following strategies:

  • User data analysis: Analyze website analytics, user feedback, and behavior data to identify pain points and areas of improvement.
  • Surveys: Gather direct feedback from website visitors through surveys to understand their preferences and identify areas for enhancement.
  • Heatmaps: Utilize heatmaps to visualize user interactions on your website and identify areas of high engagement or friction.
  • Professional assessment: Seek input from design experts or usability specialists to conduct a thorough evaluation of your website and provide actionable recommendations.
  • SEO audit: Consult with your SEO team to assess the current performance of your website in search engine rankings and identify opportunities for optimization.
Optimizely’s program report page

Optimizely’s program report page

By combining insights from user data analysis, direct feedback, and professional assessment, you can develop clear and actionable goals that drive meaningful improvements to your website.

  1. Decide who’ll carry out your website redesign

When defining your website redesign goals, it’s crucial to consider the financial aspect and choose an option that aligns with your company’s budget. Below are some realistic options to consider:

Internal resources

If you have in-house web designers or developers, assess whether they have the expertise and availability to handle the redesign. Keep in mind that not all designers are proficient in web design, so it’s essential to evaluate their skillset. Depending on the project’s scope, you may need to supplement their efforts by hiring a freelance designer to assist them.

Agencies

Hiring a design agency offers a hands-off approach to the redesign process, allowing you to entrust the project to specialists. However, agencies typically come with higher costs, so it’s important to weigh the benefits against your budget constraints.

Freelancers

Opting for a freelance designer provides a balance between managing the redesign internally and outsourcing to an agency. Freelancers offer the same level of design expertise as agencies but at a more affordable rate. To find the right freelance designer for your project, check out 99designs by Vista. You can search for web designers using their search tool that offers an opportunity to filter candidates based on industry specialization, skill level, and style preferences.

  1. Redesign your website

When it’s time to revamp your website, the process is surprisingly straightforward on your end. You can choose your level of involvement, whether you prefer frequent updates or a hands-off approach, leaving the bulk of the work to your design team.

Throughout the redesign journey, your input is invaluable. Clear communication upfront helps steer the project in the right direction, minimizing delays and misunderstandings along the way.

Wireframe for a payment system

Wireframe for a payment system by MarkBond via 99designs by Vista

Here’s a glimpse into what the redesign process typically entails:

  • Sketching out ideas: Your design team starts with rough outlines, wireframes, sketching the proposed layout and structure.
  • Setting the vibe: Establishing the desired atmosphere and mood to reflect your brand’s identity and objectives.
  • Building the blueprint: Developing the foundational framework for your new design, including navigation and key elements.
  • Bringing it to life: Transforming visual concepts into functional web pages through coding and development.
  • Adding the finishing touches: Integrating specific content, such as images and text, to breathe life into the design.
  • Putting it to the test: Evaluating the usability of the new design through user testing, ensuring a seamless experience for visitors.

The timeline for the design process can vary based on factors like project complexity and revision requirements. For those with tight deadlines, options may exist to expedite the process through additional resources or overtime.