What’s the difference between refreshing, redesigning, or rebuilding a website?

Find out the difference between a website refresh, website redesign, and a website rebuild. You could save money

Your business will undoubtedly have a website. You may have had it built quite a few years ago and never thought about it again believing you have your digital presence covered. Many businesses will be able to relate to this scenario.

The internet never stands still however. There are new websites being uploaded every day and web technology moves fast with new and exciting features regularly being released and becoming the norm. Design ideas come and go and what was probably a great design 5 years ago could now look outdated, and as users change the way they browse web content (think about the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets for example) they may no longer be getting an attractive or user friendly experience from your website. Therefore, a regular website review is required for any kind of business and website.

If you are considering changing or updating your website, there are 3 options which are available to you; refresh, redesign or rebuild. Let’s take a brief look at each option to explain which may be the best for your website and budget.

Definition note: A Content Management System (CMS) is the software used to create and manage a web site. Examples include WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, and Wix.

Refreshing your website

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What is a website refresh?

The best way to describe a website refresh is to use a metaphor of redecorating your house. You are not knocking down walls, you are simply giving the rooms a fresh coat of paint. The same applies to your web site. You may decide to change some background colours and fonts in the header or menus, perhaps replace older images, and this could give your website a visual boost.

Why perform a website refresh?

There are many reasons to refresh a website. Your business may have a new logo or colour scheme (but not a complete rebrand) for example, or you simply may not have the budget to redesign or rebuild. If your website CMS and original design has been done correctly, then a refresh could be a cost effective way to give your website’s visitors a new experience.

Redesigning your website

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What is a website redesign?

A website redesign usually means a redesign of the entire look and feel of the site, whilst generally retaining the underlying CMS. Whereas a website refresh only changes some key visual elements, a redesign will change the whole look of the web site.

Why perform a website redesign?

There are lots of reasons to consider a website redesign. Some reason could be that your website is looking dated, the layout of the pages is ineffective and does not attract visitors or your product pages are not converting enquiries into sales. Another good reason is that your company may have had a rebrand which needs to be reflected in your website.

Rebuilding your website

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What is a website rebuild?

A website rebuild involves creating a completely new website from scratch. You might reuse some elements from your old site, importing things such as product data and images, or blog posts for example, but the rebuild essentially involves creating a brand new design, website structure, and using a new or updated underlying CMS.

Why perform a website rebuild?

If your website is not responsive (separate visual design for mobile users) then a redesign may well be necessary. Perhaps the CMS is outdated and no longer being supported, in which case your site may be more vulnerable to hacking attempts or simply does not have the capability to make the most of current web technologies. Of course, a website rebuild is usually the most time-consuming and costly than a website refresh or website redesign, but sometimes it may be the only solution due to your circumstances.

Need some help deciding?


If you are considering updating your website, whether it is a refresh, redesign or rebuild, then we can help. We have completed all these types of projects for our clients and can also provide regular updates and maintenance for websites. Contact us today for further information or see our web design case studies of some recently completed projects.


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