Most websites have the same conundrum, they’re refreshed with the latest features and most trendy look available, and it stays the same for years until someone realises it’s terribly out of date and needs to upgraded again. At this point in the process, no-one is sure what’s the best route to go as the website could be completely rebuilt, redesigned or just reskinned.
The decision will ultimately depend on the website in question, older websites will most likely require more work to give them a more contemporary look and to make sure they function properly. It will also depend on why exactly the website needs to be updated and what the overall aim is, find out more in this interesting article.
What is a Website Reskin?
A website reskin is simply a matter of changing the visual aspects of a website, this therefore typically means that the logo, design images, fonts and colour palette are updated so that the website looks distinctly different. Reskins are however limited and don’t involve moving around different design elements so they’re more suitable for newer and well-built websites.
What is a Website Redesign?
A website redesign refers to the process of updating the aesthetic aspects of a website, so it affects what the user sees on the page. A redesign also usually involves addressing user experience and therefore involves moving certain elements around or changing things such as the logo and colour palette. A lot of things could however stay the same depending on the extent of the redesign.
Website redesigns do however tend to turn into rebuilds because implementing some changes might reveal that the infrastructure on the website also needs to be updated.
What is a Website Rebuild?
A website rebuild, as the name suggests, involves completely rebuilding a website and changing the actual code of the website to make it function better. A rebuild could therefore be a combination of a redesign and a reskin but doesn’t necessarily include a change to the aesthetic look of the website so branding and certain design elements could stay the same with a rebuild.
How to evaluate your website and see what needs to be done
Before you make a decision, it’s important to ensure that you’ve covered all the bases and you’re not going ahead with project that won’t help you achieve your marketing aims. As mentioned earlier, there are a wide variety factors for evaluating the condition of a website and identifying what work needs to be done to give it a new lease of life.
Here is a list of tests and audits that you can carry out to get a full picture:
- Core Web Vitals and Site Speed Test
- SEO Audit and Content Audit
- Technical Audit and Website Crawl Report
- A/B Testing of buttons, images and other UX features
- Analytics Report
- Front-end code analysis
- User feedback and Competitive research
Does my website need a rebuild, redesign, or reskin?
This will ultimately depend on a wide variety factors and non-website related considerations such as the available budget and how long you want your website to last without updating it again. We’ve outlined some considerations and reasons for updating a website below, we’ve also made some suggestions on how you should approach these different factors.
If your website is built using a popular website platform and CMS such as WordPress or Shopify, then you should be less concerned about the extent of updating your website. This is because these platforms have regular updates, plugins and other features that make it easier to keep up to date with the latest features and functionality.
If you use one of these mainstream platforms instead of a framework like Bootstrap, then you are less likely to require a rebuild but if you can also replatform to or from a platform like WordPress which would require more work than a reskin or redesign.
SEO and Conversions
Optimising your website for search engines and users is important for generating traffic and bringing new users to your website. If SEO is one of the reasons you need to upgrade your website, then a redesign or rebuild are only viable options. A reskin wouldn’t address technical SEO and in most cases a redesign will only improve user experience so a rebuild is usually recommended.
SEO involves all aspects of your website from structure and navigation to image use and page design and therefore requires a full SEO audit to identify which parts of the website need to be looked at.
Similarly, optimising a website to increase conversion rate will rarely be achievable without a redesign or rebuild because the factors that affect why users convert or not will often be more than user interface related so a reskin will help but won’t address user experience and user journey issues.
Although this is related to SEO, you may have good SEO but have slow page load times, if this is the case then you will need to either need to rebuild or redesign your website in order to make it faster. A reskin or replatfrom will seldom result in an increase in site speed unless large images were replaced with compressed ones, or a more basic design is used on the new platform.
The three core webs vitals (LCP, FID and CLS) cover all aspects of loading a webpage from loading content to how users interact and how stable the web pages are when loading elements.
A rebrand involves changing most, if not all of the visual aspects of a website from logos and design images to the colour palette and general feel of the website. This would therefore require a reskin or redesign but in some cases a rebuild can help tie everything together and make sure everything is working well.
Structure and Taxonomy
A website’s taxonomy refers to how content is organised, classified and related is therefore usually distinguished by the URL structure. If you are considering restructuring your website in anyway then you will need to go with a rebuild because the whole makeup of the website will change and this will require considerations like navigation, content silos and redesign of various elements.
Look and feel of the Website
If your website is on the latest version of its framework or platform version, performs well in terms of core web vitals, has good SEO, has good user experience and optimised user journeys but just looks a bit old and outdated then it’s recommended that you opt for a reskin.
This will help give your website an updated look and feel but it’s still important to look into the factors mentioned as it’s rare that a website has no other issues besides outdated aesthetics.
Revamping your website with Squarebird
As a WordPress web design agency with an experienced team of web developers, designers and supporting marketers, you can rely on us to help you take your website to the next level. Whether you already know what you want or need a little bit of extra assistance in deciding on what needs to be done, we can help you through every stage of the process.
We can tailor your project to meet all your needs and make sure that your website is not only looking and functioning better but also performing better.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help you refine and refresh your online presence.