Identifying when to enact a website redesign vs incremental updates, Part 3 – Decision-Making Process

Teammates sitting around a conference table making a decision about their website redesign

Welcome to Part 3 of our in-depth series on ‘Identifying when to enact a website redesign vs incremental updates.’ In Part 1, we covered the key elements of assessing your current website. In Part 2, we explored the strategic factors which influence the decision. In this concluding segment, we will navigate the decision-making process itself. Join us as we dive into the final set of considerations and reach our destination on this strategic digital journey.

Deciding whether to give your website a series of incremental updates or embark on a complete website redesign is no small feat. It involves a careful analysis of various factors, from your business goals and user experience to technological advancements and industry trends. The decision-making process is where thoughtful considerations lay the foundation for well-informed strategic choices.

In this closing summary, we’ll guide you through the key elements of the decision-making process. This helps make informed choices that align with your objectives and resonate with your audience. Additionally, we’ll review the opportunities and challenges of each direction, see how to apply your scenario to its strategic decision, and preview what each path forward could look like. 

Join us as we unravel the complexities of this strategic choice. Through this process, we’ll elevate the decision-making process and set the course for a digital presence that captivates your audience and embodies innovation.

Incrementally Update the Website

Choosing to incrementally update your website has many immediately appealing features. But, it is not without its challenges either. To determine whether this is the best option for your business, we’ll revisit some of the key attributes. Additionally, we can showcase some central features which would lead someone to make this selection. Finally, we can spotlight some of the anticipated scope of work to expect. 

Pros and cons of this decision

Incrementally updating a website can offer several advantages, making it a strategic choice in certain situations. However, it’s essential to consider potential drawbacks as well, as a comprehensive redesign may offer better solutions. Careful consideration of these pros and cons is crucial when deciding which way to go.


Cost-Effective Approach: Incremental updates generally require lower upfront costs, making it a viable option for businesses with budget constraints.

Rapid Launch Timeline: With incremental updates, new features or improvements can roll out faster. This shorter time-to-market can be crucial for staying competitive in dynamic industries.

Minimized Disruption: A series of updates allow for gradual improvements, minimizing disruptions to the user experience. Users can adapt to changes more easily when introduced in smaller increments.

User Feedback Integration: Updating the website incrementally allows businesses to gather user feedback at each stage. This iterative process enables the incorporation of user preferences and needs into subsequent updates.

Focused Problem Resolution: Businesses can address specific pain points or outdated features systematically. This allows for focusing on the most critical aspects of the website that require immediate attention.


Cumulative Investment: While incremental updates spread the workload over time, the cumulative time and money invested in multiple updates might still be significant long-term.

Integration Challenges: If not carefully planned, integrating new features or design elements in an incremental fashion may pose challenges, especially when dealing with complex systems that require seamless integration.

Extended Transition Period: As updates gradually roll out, there might be an extended period during which the website operates with a mix of old and new elements, leading to inconsistencies in design and functionality.

Dependency on Legacy Systems: Incremental updates might mean building upon existing technologies or structures. This ca, potentially result in a dependency on legacy systems that could hinder future scalability and technological advancements.

Limited Innovation: Incremental updates may not provide the opportunity for a radical redesign that incorporates innovative features or a reimagined user experience, potentially limiting the website’s overall evolution.

Choose to incrementally update your website if the existing foundation is solid and requiring only minor improvements.

If the current design and structure effectively represent the brand identity and user experience, incremental updates can build upon a solid foundation. This approach is particularly advantageous when attempting to address specific issues or incorporate new features without undergoing a comprehensive overhaul. Incremental updates allow for a focused and targeted refinement of the website. This ensures efficient allocation of resources to enhance the user experience while maintaining the overall integrity of the existing design.

Consider pursuing incremental improvements if your existing website and upcoming goals mostly align with the following points:

  • Your current website architecture is strong, flexible, and scalable, with only minor tweaks to existing language needed
  • You currently have a modern, responsive theme, that is optimized for performance and security best practices
  • Your current design still aligns with your brand and only needs minor style adjustments
  • Your design elements remain consistent and appealing, only needing some minor adjustments
  • Your existing plugins and integrations only require minor updates or configuration changes
  • You have a smaller initial budget, but are prepared to make a series of long-term payments to maintain older infrastructure
  • Your need is urgent and your current website is underperforming or facing critical issues
  • You have a critical event scheduled in the immediate future
  • Your site aligns seamlessly with current and future business goals, requiring only minor adjustments or content updates
  • Your current website is a leader within your industry which your competitors look to for inspiration

Anticipated scope of work when incrementally updating your website

When incrementally updating your website, the actual scope of work will vary for each website. This depends on each website’s unique set of criteria as explored throughout the assessment and strategy phases. However, it is possible to generalize, in order to illustrate some potential resourcing to expect. 

Any good website project begins with discovery, to explore the current state of the site, and to prioritize goals. From here, it can be determined what sort of updates to expect for content, visuals, and functionality. 

Content updates involve assessing the relevance and accuracy of existing information, ensuring that it aligns with current business objectives and user expectations. Minor updates to copy or the addition of a new landing page could be expected at this stage. 

Visually, incremental updates may involve refining the website’s aesthetics. This could include optimizing images, or tweaking the color palette, while continuing to ensure a cohesive design. Simultaneously, functionality improvements aim to enhance the user experience, but should be limited to isolated adjustments. For example, fine-tuning a current conversion funnel or implementing some A/B testing. 

This phased approach allows for a systematic refinement of the website’s core elements, ensuring that each update contributes meaningfully to a cohesive and effective online presence.

Redesign the Website

Opting to redesign your website may seem like a larger undertaking at first, but does come with many long term advantageous features. It’s worthwhile to review some of these key elements when determining if this is the ideal choice for your business. Additionally, it’s beneficial to highlight several key features that would influence the decision to choose this option. Finally, we can preview what to expect with the anticipated range of work associated with this direction.

Pros and cons of this decision

Redesigning a website offers numerous benefits, making it a clear choice in many scenarios. However, it’s worth considering potential downsides as well, which may be better addressed through a series of gradual updates. Examining these pros and cons is an essential step when deciding on a direction.


Fresh and Modern Aesthetics: A complete redesign allows for a fresh and modern look, helping the website stay visually appealing and aligned with current design trends.

Rebranding Opportunities: A redesign is an excellent opportunity for rebranding, allowing businesses to realign their online presence with evolving brand strategies and goals.

Innovative Features: Redesigning offers the opportunity to incorporate innovative features and technologies, enhancing the overall functionality and user experience.

Comprehensive Overhaul: It provides a chance for a thorough review and overhaul of the website’s structure, ensuring that any outdated or inefficient elements are addressed.

Alignment with Evolving Goals: A complete redesign allows for a realignment of the website with evolving business goals. This ensures that the online presence is in sync with the current strategic direction.

Potential SEO Boost: A new design, when implemented with SEO best practices, can positively impact search engine rankings, potentially improving visibility and traffic.

Improved Performance: A redesigned website can leverage the latest technologies and coding practices. This can potentially lead to improved performance, faster loading times, and enhanced overall user satisfaction.


Higher Upfront Cost: A complete redesign often requires a higher upfront investment compared to incremental updates, impacting the initial budget significantly.

Extended Development Time: The process of designing and implementing a new website can be time-consuming, potentially leading to an extended period before the revamped site is live.

Learning Curve for Users: Users familiar with the old design may face a learning curve when adapting to the redesigned website.

Risk of Overlooking Key Features: In the process of redesigning, there’s a risk of overlooking or neglecting key features that were effective in the old design, potentially leading to a loss in functionality or user experience.

Staff Training Requirements: With a redesigned website, there may be a need for staff training to familiarize them with new features, backend systems, and updated processes.

Choose a redesign for major content changes, significant usability or technical issues, or substantial shifts in business goals, branding, or target audience.

Opting for a redesign becomes a compelling option when your current website faces major levels of change.

If users are experiencing difficulties navigating the site, the brand identity feels outdated, content lacks relevance, or technical issues impede performance, a comprehensive redesign is the strategic response. This approach allows for a holistic transformation. It addresses not only the surface-level concerns but also dives into the core elements. The combination ensures a modern, cohesive, and high-performing online presence that aligns seamlessly with your business objectives.

Consider pursuing a complete website redesign if your existing website and upcoming goals mostly align with the following points:

  • Your page layout, landing pages, or navigation menu require large amounts of restructuring
  • You are integrating significant brand changes, such as a rebrand or a shift in messaging
  • Your design elements lack uniformity or fail to captivate your target audience
  • Your current theme is running unnecessary scripts, the scripts load at inopportune times, or there are other examples of theme bloat or complex structure
  • Existing security issues are deeply ingrained, stemming from outdated software or an insecure architecture
  • You find that your existing plugins or integrations are causing conflicts, performance issues, or security vulnerabilities
  • You are ready to make a larger investment upfront, which pays for itself in the long run with a more sustainable architecture
  • You’re in a position to take a more deliberate and comprehensive approach
  • You’re not bound by a pressing timeframe and are preparing for a significant shift in your business, brand, or marketing strategy
  • Your business has undergone substantial changes and your website no longer resonates with your current objectives
  • Your business is poised for growth, diversification, or a significant change in strategy
  • The online platforms of your competitors are more user-friendly, visually appealing, or functionally advanced than yours
  • You are planning on innovating a mobile user experience, incorporating more interactive content, adding enhanced security measures, or integrating an emerging 3rd-party service

Anticipated scope of work when performing a complete website redesign

Each website redesign is a unique journey, yet overarching standards persist across approaches. By focusing on these commonalities, we can establish a potential framework for a redesign plan scope of work.

To fulfill goals and identify risks, the initial step is a strategic discovery phase. This phase prioritizes project objectives, gauges complexity, and establishes the volume of effort required.

From this process, it’s possible to discern a restructuring of content architecture, introduce new content types, and refine messaging strategies. These endeavors aim for seamless alignment with redefined brand goals. Simultaneously, this stage serves as an opportunity to identify potential functionality and infrastructure enhancements. These can range from the restructuring of user flows, to software upgrades, to a comprehensive improvement of the user experience.

Upon completing the discovery phase, a detailed scope of work is created, outlining timelines, milestones, design aspects, development stages, quality assurance processes, iteration cycles, and the eventual launch.

A successful design phase includes an information architecture plan and a robust design prototype encompassing wireframes, components, templates, and mobile mockups. Integrating client feedback throughout this stage ensures ongoing alignment with project goals.

As development begins, progress is iterative, with testing conducted across devices, browsers, and user scenarios. Soliciting client feedback guarantees continued alignment with project expectations.

Prepare for the website launch by identifying any URL restructuring and implement necessary redirects for SEO continuity. Analytics and CRM tools should be prepared in advance to prevent data loss post-launch. Testing throughout the launch process guarantees a smooth transition, ensuring aesthetics and functionality perform as expected. Lastly, promote the new website to your audience upon project completion!

This comprehensive and strategic approach to the anticipated scope of work ensures every facet of the website is meticulously addressed for a truly transformative redesign, aligning seamlessly with project goals and maximizing impact.

Conclusion: Finding Balance in Website Redesign Decision-Making

Completing our three-part journey on identifying when to incrementally update vs redesign your website, we arrive at a pivotal juncture. The exploration started with a meticulous assessment of your existing website, a process that reflected your commitment to a robust online presence. Through evaluating user experience, content, visual design, and technical performance, you established the foundation for a website that not only engages visitors but embodies your brand essence with excellence.

Next, we delved into the influential factors shaping this decision. Budget constraints, timelines, business goals, industry competition, and the dynamic realm of trends and technology collectively influence your online strategy. Navigating these factors involves a strategic orchestration, where each element contributes to the cohesive composition of your digital presence.

As we stand at the juncture of incremental updates or a complete redesign, the synthesis of assessments and influential factors becomes the compass for strategic decision-making. Incremental updates offer nuanced refinements, ensuring a seamless user experience and content alignment with audience expectations. A complete redesign is a comprehensive transformation, aligning your website with evolving business goals and presenting a fresh, modern identity.

Ultimately, this decision reflects your commitment to a dynamic and impactful online presence. It’s about securing your digital future, staying relevant in the industry, and delighting your users. In this process, may your website find a balanced blend of continuity and innovation, embodying your brand vision and effectively engaging your audience in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Are you ready to transform your online presence and looking for a strategic partner to help turn your vision into a reality? Let’s elevate your website together. Contact us to discover which option is best for upgrading your website and delivering your online goals.

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