Website Redesign vs. Website Refresh: Which Should You Choose?

Are your website performance dipping? Are visitors complaining about their experience on your site? Has it been a few years since the last update? Then it may be time for a change. 

Laptop with website redesign

But what changes, exactly, do you need? You might want to make a change to your face, but there is a big difference between a new haircut and plastic surgery. How do you decide between the superficial changes of a website refresh and the more in depth changes of a website redesign?

If you are struggling to make this decision, then you have come to the right place. Take a look at the differences between these two approaches and how you can tell which is right for your site.


One of the differences between a website refresh and a website redesign is the cost. Making a few visual changes, or even revamping the site's layout and color scheme, will almost always be less expensive than changing the CMS or building your website from the ground up. 

Of course, conducting a refresh instead of a redesign might not always save you money. If your site is significantly outdated or you cannot change elements of your site without fiddling with complex coding, your refresh costs could quickly look more like redesign costs. And sometimes, the cost of a redesign is a smart investment because it gets you a website that earns you more leads and customers.  


The biggest difference between a website refresh and a website redesign is the scope of the project. A website refresh can be as small as updating your logo or as extensive as updating your color scheme. However, it never goes beyond surface level changes to an already existing website.

A website redesign, on the other hand, is a far more extensive project. It is the plastic surgery of web design. It involves changing the underlying structures that support the website. Rebuilding the site, adding content like a blog, upgrading the navigation, and more, are all part of a website redesign.

When considering whether to pursue a refresh or a redesign, therefore, consider the scope of your project. Will you need to add functionality to your site or change your CMS? Then choose a redesign. If you only need to change a few visual elements, or implement new branding, then choose a refresh. 


By now you have probably figured out that a redesign is a bigger deal than a refresh. As a result, a redesign is going to take longer to complete than will a refresh. 

Often, the time it takes to do a redesign is worth it. The ability to renew and rebuild a website that is simply not working, and the improved traffic flow and conversions that result, can more than compensate you for your time. 

However, it isn't always necessary or desirable to spend months reworking a website. You need your new brand colors to match your packaging now. Your advertising campaign is launching next month. You only need a few minor updates. At times like these, a shorter refresh is preferable.

Know when to pick a refresh vs. a redesign.

With such big differences in scope, cost, and time, it is important to pick the right approach. Sometimes, you'll know which one to pick because it is obvious: You only want to change a few graphics, or you want to make a major overhaul. At other times, the choice may seem less clear: You haven't updated your website in a couple of years, but it still works. 

At times like these, it is wise to consult with a company like Distinct. We can evaluate your site and offer you suggestions about what strategies might work best to get your site looking modern and functioning optimally. 

We also offer you more than just web design services. We can improve your site's search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities so your site can get in front of your target audiences, help you develop a digital marketing campaign, and offer you access to local marketing advisors who help you create a customized online presence. 

What are some signs you should consider a refresh or a redesign for your site? Consider these:

  • Your site's functionality does not fulfill your customers' needs.
  • You have not updated your website in any way in more than a year.
  • Your business is undergoing a branding change.
  • You need a new CMS.
  • You receive consistently negative reviews about your site.
  • Website analytics, particularly bounce rate, are sub optimal.
  • You need to add new landing pages or content.
  • Your business has outgrown your current site's capabilities.
  • You are displeased with your site in any way.

A digital marketing company like Distinct can help you to navigate a refresh or a redesign and help you create a site that makes you and your customers happy.

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