Website Redesign vs. Refresh: Which Approach is Right for You?

website redesign vs refresh blog

At MAK Digital, we understand the challenges brands face when deciding between a website redesign and a refresh. The state of your current website plays a major role in providing a high-quality user experience. Search engine optimization is crucial in both redesign and refresh scenarios to ensure that your website maintains or improves its search engine rankings. When your website is plagued with outdated designs, stale content, or slow load times, it can be frustrating to determine the best course of action. A redesign involves a complete overhaul of your current website—addressing design, layout, content structure, and more. In contrast, a refresh focuses on tweaking existing elements while maintaining the foundational structure. In this blog, we will explore the differences between a website redesign and a refresh, helping you determine the most suitable approach for your needs.

Understanding Website Redesign

What is a Website Redesign Process?

A website redesign involves a comprehensive overhaul of your existing website. This process goes beyond mere aesthetic updates and includes significant changes to the layout, structure, functionality, and branding of the site. A redesign typically encompasses:

  1. Layout: Changing the overall arrangement and organization of content on the website. This may include new page templates, different placements for images and text, and an entirely new visual flow.
  2. Structure: Revising the website’s architecture, such as its navigation and hierarchy, to improve user experience and ensure intuitive access to information. The choice of a content management system (CMS) can significantly impact the website’s cost and functionality, so it is important to outline specific requirements before obtaining quotes for a redesign.
  3. Functionality: Enhancing or adding new features and capabilities, such as improved search functions, interactive elements, eCommerce capabilities, or integration with third-party services.
  4. Branding: Updating the website to reflect any changes in the brand’s identity, which may involve new logos, color schemes, typography, and messaging.


A complete website redesign can significantly enhance the user experience, improve functionality, and ensure your online presence aligns with your current business goals. By implementing modern design principles, you create a more intuitive and enjoyable user journey, leading to increased engagement and conversions. Upgrading the functionality can streamline processes, making your website more efficient and user-friendly. Additionally, modernizing your design and branding helps your site stay competitive and appealing in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. A redesigned website also allows for better optimization and monitoring of performance, ensuring continuous improvement and success.

Signs You Need a Redesign

URECO Redesign Before (left) and After (right)
  1. Outdated design: If your existing site looks outdated compared to competitors, it might be time for a revamp.
  2. Poor user experience: High bounce rates and low user engagement indicate the need for improved design and functionality.
  3. Low conversion rates: Declining conversion rates suggest that visitors are not finding what they need or are not engaged by the content.
  4. Mobile unfriendliness: If your site is not mobile-friendly, you are likely missing out on significant traffic.
  5. Difficulty in updating content: An outdated CMS or site structure that makes content updates challenging is a strong signal that a redesign is needed.


While the benefits are substantial, a redesign project comes with challenges. It requires a higher cost and time investment compared to a refresh. The process can also lead to temporary disruptions in services and the risk of losing existing SEO rankings if not managed properly. However, with careful planning and execution, these challenges can be mitigated, ensuring a smooth transition to a more effective website.

Understanding Website Refresh

What is a Website Refresh?

A website refresh involves updating and tweaking existing elements of your website without changing its fundamental structure. This process includes aesthetic updates, content revisions, and minor improvements to enhance user experience and keep the site current. Unlike a redesign, a refresh focuses on making small yet impactful changes to keep your website up-to-date without overhauling its core. A refresh can significantly improve the experience for website visitors by addressing their needs and motivations.


Refreshing your website is often a more cost-effective and less time-consuming option than a full redesign. It allows for rapid updates to content and design elements, including valuable landing pages, keeping your site looking fresh and relevant. Because a refresh maintains the existing structure, it causes minimal disruption to site functionality, allowing for continuous operation while improvements are made.

Signs You Need a Refresh

Before and After for spinning designs Spinning Designs Before(left) and After (Right)
  1. Minor design tweaks needed: If your site mostly looks good but needs small updates, a refresh might be the right choice.
  2. Content updates required: If your content needs updating to reflect recent changes in your business or industry, a refresh can address this quickly.
  3. Reflect recent branding changes:Minor updates to reflect recent changes in branding can be handled with a refresh.
  4. Improving site speed and performance: Performance enhancements like improved load times can be part of a refresh.

However, if the underlying issues are significant, you might need to consider a new site to ensure optimal user experience and performance.


The main challenge of a refresh is its limited impact. While it can make the site look and feel more current, it may not address deeper functional issues or align with long-term business goals. If the underlying problems are more significant, a refresh may only offer a temporary solution, delaying the need for a more comprehensive redesign.

Comparing Redesign and Refresh

Scope and Scale of Changes

  1. Redesign: Involves comprehensive changes, affecting layout, structure, functionality, and branding. A site redesign addresses common mistakes and considers cost factors, differentiating it from a simple refresh.
  2. Refresh: Focuses on limited changes, such as aesthetic updates and content revisions, without altering the core structure of the website.

Time and Cost Considerations

  1. Redesign: A website redesign project generally requires higher costs and longer timelines due to the extensive nature of changes.
  2. Refresh: More affordable and quicker to implement, making it suitable for businesses needing rapid updates.

Impact on Search Engine Optimization and User Experience

  1. Redesign: Can significantly enhance user experience but poses risks to existing SEO if not managed properly. Integrating Google Analytics in a redesign is crucial for tracking performance and user behavior.
  2. Refresh: While having a smaller impact on UX, maintains current SEO efforts more easily.

Long-Term vs. Short-Term Goals

  1. Redesign: Aligns better with long-term strategic goals, accommodating future growth and changes. A well-defined website redesign process is crucial for achieving these long-term strategic goals.
  2. Refresh: Suitable for short-term needs and quick updates, providing immediate improvements without major overhauls.

Deciding Which Approach is Right for Your Business

To determine the best approach for your website, start by evaluating its current state, considering factors like design, navigation, conversion rates, mobile-friendliness, and content management ease. Align your website strategy with your business goals, focusing on enhancing functionality, user experience, and branding. Consider your budget and resources when weighing the costs and benefits of a redesign versus a refresh, including any necessary investments in content management systems. Seek professional advice from web designers and developers to guide your decision-making process and create a comprehensive plan tailored to your specific needs, ensuring effective utilization of SEO marketing tools.

Case Studies and Success Stories

Successful Redesign: Pool and Hot Tub Depot

Pool and Hot Tub Depot homepage image on monitor and phonePool and Hot Tub Newly Redesigned Site on Mobile and Desktop

One of our biggest success stories when it comes to redesigns was with the Pool and Hot Tub Depot. The primary objective was to infuse a robust brand identity into their online presence, establishing them as the premier destination for pool and hot tub supplies on the internet. This endeavor involved a complete redesign of crucial pages such as the homepage, category pages, and product pages, aiming for a more professional appearance, enhanced functionality, and an overall improved customer experience. The comprehensive nature of this website redesign project ensured that every aspect of the site was meticulously planned and executed.

The redesign was critical to injecting a distinct brand identity into their website, making it the ultimate source for pool and hot tub supplies. We overhauled their homepage, category pages, and product pages to create a more professional and functional site. The category pages received special attention, with additional relevant content added to bolster SEO efforts.

Post-redesign, the Pool and Hot Tub Depot website witnessed remarkable success. There was a significant 36% increase in revenue, accompanied by a substantial 35% surge in traffic and an impressive 11% boost in average order value. These metrics underscore the effectiveness of our redesign in driving tangible business results.

A glowing testimonial from Pool & Hot Tub Depot further emphasizes the impact of our redesign. They highlighted the positive feedback from customers and the notable improvement in search engine rankings post-implementation. Our partnership with them has solidified MAK Digital as their go-to company for all their digital needs, showcasing the transformative impact of our tailored solutions in driving eCommerce growth.

Successful Refresh: Spinning Designs

Spinning Designs homepage on monitor screen and Iphone screen Spinning Design Newly Refreshed Site on Mobile and Desktop

Spinning Designs’ website refresh was a resounding success, demonstrating the power of strategic updates over a complete overhaul. The goal was simple: modernize the site’s appearance, enhance the user experience, and ensure seamless compatibility with the latest BigCommerce technology.

We achieved this by transitioning their existing theme to the newest BigCommerce framework, refining the visual elements for a more polished look, and implementing a responsive design that adapts flawlessly to widescreen monitors and various devices. This not only improved the overall aesthetics but also bolstered the site’s performance and SEO capabilities.

Spinning Designs chose a refresh over a full redesign to maintain their established brand identity while optimizing their online presence. By opting for a targeted approach, they saved both time and resources, allowing them to quickly implement these vital updates and continue delivering an exceptional experience to their customers.

The results speak for themselves: a more modern, engaging, and user-friendly website that is poised for continued success in the competitive eCommerce landscape. This case study highlights the value of a well-executed refresh as a cost-effective and efficient way to revitalize an online presence and achieve tangible results.


The choice between a website redesign and a refresh is crucial, depending on your current website’s condition, goals, budget, and resources. Both options present unique benefits and challenges, and the ideal path will elevate your online presence and user experience. Implementing effective search engine optimization (SEO) is key to improving website metrics and maintaining or even boosting your search engine rankings.

on’t just take our word for it – see the real-world impact of a strategic website redesign in our SEO case study featuring Pool and Hot Tub Depot. Witness how thoughtful design, improved functionality, and targeted SEO strategies can transform your online presence and drive remarkable business growth.


What is the main difference between a website redesign and a refresh?

A website redesign involves a complete overhaul of your site’s structure, design, and functionality. It’s a major undertaking that often addresses significant issues and outdated elements. A refresh, on the other hand, focuses on updating specific aspects of your site, such as content, visuals, or minor features, without changing the overall structure.

When should I consider a redesign versus a refresh?

Consider a redesign if your website:

  • Looks outdated and doesn’t reflect your brand’s current identity.
  • Has poor user experience (high bounce rates, low engagement).
  • Is not mobile-friendly.
  • Has outdated technology or functionality.
  • Is difficult to update or manage content.

Consider a refresh if your website:

  • Generally functions well but needs some visual or content updates.
  • Needs minor design tweaks to improve aesthetics.
  • Requires updates to reflect recent changes in branding.
  • Could benefit from improved performance or speed.

Which option is more expensive?

A redesign is typically more expensive and time-consuming than a refresh due to the extensive scope of changes involved.

Will a redesign or refresh affect my website’s SEO?

Both a redesign and a refresh can impact your SEO if not handled carefully. A redesign has a higher risk of negatively affecting your rankings if not properly planned and executed. A refresh, when done strategically, can actually improve your SEO by updating content and optimizing performance.

How do I decide which approach is right for me?

The best approach depends on your specific needs and goals. Assess your website’s current state, consider your budget and timeline, and prioritize the areas you want to improve. Consulting with a web design professional can help you make an informed decision.

Can MAK Digital help me with a redesign or refresh?

Yes! MAK Digital specializes in website redesign and refresh services. We can assess your needs, create a tailored plan, and execute it to ensure your website aligns with your business goals and provides an optimal user experience. Contact us today to discuss your project.

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