Websites are great when they’re first launched – Your business has a shiny new web presence, your brand has a digital home, and your clients, old and new alike, can find your website and order your products or services 24 hours a day.
However, after a couple of years there comes a time when you may notice a drop-off in effectiveness – maybe the orders have dipped, traffic has declined, or the user experience is not as good as it used to be. Whether you analyse your website in-house or use a reputable digital agency like Clever Marketing, you’ll probably have looked deep into your Analytics or conducted a website audit to find some insights.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
To ensure your website’s optimal performance, a regular look at your web stats, with periodical site and SEO audits, is highly recommended. You should be making these analyses on a daily basis if you can so that you can quickly identify issues and act upon them should you need to. Again, either in-house or with a decent SEO agency onboard, you can make crucial adjustments to your website to maintain traffic and keep the user journey fresh.
So, what happens when you identify a technical issue with your website that SEO, PPC and content management cannot immediately fix?
You may need a refresh, a redesign or even a website rebuild. Clever Marketing will only ever recommend a solution if it’s going to be of benefit to your business, so how do you know which option is right for you?
Refresh Your Website
A website refresh usually involves what are, in the grand scheme of web development work, “quick fixes”. Whilst these may not all be “5-minute jobs”, they are usually small adjustments to your website that can make improvements at a reasonable cost.
You should be identifying and making fixes to your site on a regular basis, like on a maintenance & update or SEO retainer. However, any time is good to refresh your website, and by performing several updates at once you may see noticeably more immediate benefits than if you were to do so incrementally.
A website refresh usually involves minor changes to your site’s appearance and functionality. They can consist of:
- Small design tweaks to make your site more optimal for mobile users.
- Swapping out old/outdated images.
- Making changes to your colour scheme.
- Updating fonts and styles.
- Freshening up your Call To Action (CTA) text, messaging and styles.
- Adding the latest company updates, case studies or showcase stories.
- Re-evaluate content and structure.
These are just a few small examples that won’t “break the bank” but they should help you to improve your site for users.
Even on a technical SEO basis, you could look at your website hosting options and see if there are any incremental gains you can squeeze out of your webserver – increasing the RAM or moving to a solution that will speed up the Time To First Byte (TTFB) of your site.
Or how about serving your site’s assets from a Content Delivery Network (CDN), using G-Zip compression, “lazy load” images or removing some of those unused plugins on your WordPress site? Have you optimised all the images on your website? Do you have a workflow that ensures all images are perfectly resized and minified before upload to your webserver?
These are all small, but very useful updates that you can perform to get some extra mileage out of your current design and build. Even swapping your fonts from a serif to a sans-serif font will make your web content look good, be more readable and this can boost your users’ dwell times on the site. Just a small adjustment to make a light grey text on white background just a shade darker can make all the difference to a user staying on your site because the text is more legible.
Redesign & Rebuild over Refresh?
Sometimes you can try every refresh trick in the book, but you’ll not be making the gains that you might need. Whilst it can be frustrating not to benefit as much as you’d liked to have from a website refresh, it’s important that you are able to identify this.
There are numerous reasons why a refresh might not be good enough such as:
- Your nearest competitor has had a brand-new website developed.
- Your competition might have a bigger budget or be part of a larger organisation with dedicated digital resources.
From a more technical perspective, you may have pulled out all the stops on your existing site, which wasn’t built to be an ecommerce site but had WooCommerce bolted on top of a really clunky WordPress theme and now you’re seeing the site creak under the strain.
Whatever the reason, it’s important that you monitor and identify why your website is not performing as it should and have the correct professional advice to steer you in the right direction.
A redesign and rebuild may involve:
- A new platform or Content Management System (CMS).
- New, lighter weight theme for your existing CMS.
- Complete re-brand or redesign to bring your site into the 21st century.
- Rethinking your information architecture – totally restructuring your site and content.
- If you weren’t doing ecommerce before, maybe it’s time to do so now.
- Re-imagining your site as a web app too.
The benefits of a redesign or website rebuild service are that you’ll be “starting again” to some extent, keeping the best of your old web offering and bringing new insights, features, user journeys and experience.
Of course, there’s always an element of flux with any ambitious new website design and development. But as long as you maintain the existing benefits and make advances upon the less effective aspects, you’ll see much improved results.
We’ve rebuilt many websites in our 15 years as a full-service design and digital agency, seeing increased ranking, improved traffic and better conversions.
Website Rebuild Services
So, if your website needs to move on to the next level, take a step back and think first – Do you want to try and refresh what you already have or make a bold move and rebuild a website that’s truly mobile-first? You can refresh first, monitor your progress and upgrade later, but whatever you do, your website is a hugely important digital asset that your business needs to get right.
To refresh or to rebuild – That is the question.
Clever Marketing offer website audits, SEO and PPC, with options to refresh your website. Or you can take on our full website rebuild services, getting a new website design to wow your customers and increase conversions.