Redeveloping vs. redesigning your website

Thursday, 27 May 2021  |  Posted in: Most Recent, News  |  6min read

Your website is a key sales and marketing tool. Quite commonly, it is your first interaction with your future customer/client so you can’t afford to “drop the ball” and cause them to look elsewhere. Times change, business grows, and challenges arise as the market changes.

All this change is reflected on your website as content updates, adding or removing products changing images and writing blogs – not to mention all the behind the scenes technical management that needs to occur.

As an agency, we often get asked ‘how frequently should we be making changes to our website?’ This leads to, ‘will a redesign help me accomplish my goals or do I need to redevelop the website?’

It is important to understand the difference between redeveloping and redesigning your website as each comes with unique motivating factors and solutions.

The difference between redesigning and redeveloping your website

Think of your website as a renovation. Planning on gutting the place and starting new from the ground up? Or perhaps ripping the carpet out, installing a new fit-out and adding a fresh coat of paint is all that is required?

When it comes to your corporate website, a redesign retains the fundamentals – the underlying platform, code and hosting but applies a “new coat of paint” to the way it looks to users. It’s more of a visual change or necessary addition, rather than a complete overhaul of functionality. Redevelopment on the other hand is a blank canvas that allows you to reimagine how to present your products, services, and functionality to your users as well as introduce new efficiencies for your organisation. The redevelopment will often include a new code base, a modern development style, a new or significantly upgraded and a new design user interface.

Before you start

First things first, you must ask yourself why is the change needed? What is the goal or primary motivation? What has occurred the requires you to think about making changes in the first place?

Do your research. With any project, there is a multi-phase process. Never jump in blind, you want to be clear on your objectives and make the necessary changes required to generate value for your business and customers, not to diminish it.

10 Important questions to drive discussion and an action plan could be:

  1. Who are my target audiences? (Have they changed?)
  2.  What is the goal of my target audiences when on the site? (How easy is it for those users to achieve those goals?)
  3. What could further aid my audiences’ requirements? (What are additional features to benefit the audience?)
  4. How do my current users behave on my site? (Do they drop off? Do they convert? Do they explore?) 
  5. What are my most valuable pages? (Are they prominent? Are they what I want them to be?)
  6. Does my performance data reflect business objectives? (Is the website achieving what it was set out to achieve?)
  7. Have my business objectives changed? (Is the website no longer reflective of changes made in the organisation?)
  8. Has the brand changed? (Is the website reflective and consistent with the brand assets and messaging?)
  9. Have there been changes to my industry or any technology advancements? (Has the website responded to progressions made in your industry? Is the website contemporary? Eg: Is it mobile friendly to reflect mobile traffic?)
  10. Where is my business sitting in comparison to competitors? (Am I losing a share of the market because my website is underperforming?)

From this, you will discover the gaps and opportunities. This should then be discussed within your team, to your designers and developers (in-house and/or agency).

A great example of a redevelopment and redesign cycle is of our long-term client, StLukesHealth. We partnered with them on an initial redevelopment and a recent redesign. Take a look at their website journey from then to now:

Common redevelopment scenarios:

  • Mobile usage is increasing, and the mobile bounce rate is high. The website is not mobile responsive, and it is impacting performance.
  • The website no longer addresses the organisation’s objectives effectively. It has not been updated since it was created.
  • The content management system in use does not allow for the capabilities required for employees to manage and input content.
  • The organisation has rebranded and redesigning the website will not cut it. There are several front-end and back-end changes to be made.

Common redesign scenarios:

  • Brand elements have changed (i.e. logo, colours, typeface, spokesperson) and the current website needs to include these new elements.
  • After undertaking a competitor analysis, the website appears outdated in comparison. A more modern display of our pages would boost how the brand is communicated.
  • What is important on the site has changed and a redesign will allow you to focus on what is now a top priority for the site. For example, data has indicated that you should change the design to draw users to blog content and reduce the focus on testimonials.
  • A new page needs to be built into the backend of the site. For example, the decision has been made to create a case study section within the website to showcase experience and boost SEO.

Lastly, a budget will affect your decision making (as it does most things!). Understandably, a redevelopment is likely to be a more expensive task that will take time to plan and develop.

Our recommendation is to always research and analyse if your web strategy is meeting the business objectives, this is something we can assist with. Determining if they align is fundamental to then develop a priority list (if needed) to ascertain solutions. You may discover you need to do less or more than you originally thought, you need to redevelop the home page but redesigning other pages will suffice, or you may be able to do a minor redesign to solve immediate issues and schedule a major redevelopment later down the track.

Understand the differences, the possibilities and focus on using your data to drive your decision making.

TDE undertake a discovery phase to identify any issues and opportunities. If you require assistance to determine the best course of action, get in contact with our project team

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