The Pros and Cons of a Website Redesign vs. Refresh

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Chelsea Murphy

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In an ever-evolving digital landscape, the state of your website plays a pivotal role in maintaining a positive user experience, building your organization’s digital presence, and staying ahead of your competition. Yet, with indicators such as outdated designs, stale content, or sluggish load times, how can you determine when and how to act? 

With two primary avenues available - a complete website redesign or a targeted refresh - the dilemma often lies in discerning which route is best. While a redesign involves a complete overhaul of layout, design, and content, a refresh focuses on fine-tuning specific elements, preserving the foundational structure. 

Each approach comes with its own pros and cons, but at Savas Labs, we specialize in helping our client partners navigate this critical decision. In this blog post, we’ll unpack both options so that you can decide which solution is right for you!

What are the pros and cons of a website refresh?


There are several advantages to refreshing a website.

Budget-Friendly: Website refreshes are typically less expensive than building a new website from scratch. A refresh allows you to leverage the existing site infrastructure and functionality, which can reduce development costs.

Timeline: A refresh can be completed in a shorter timeframe than a full website redesign. Much of the existing structure and functionality of the website is typically reused, allowing our designers and developers to focus on updating the look and feel and adding specific components to support new needs and goals.

Updated Branding: A refresh is an excellent opportunity to align your website with your current branding and marketing efforts. As a result, your website can be more consistent with your other marketing materials and reinforce your brand identity.

Consistency: Since the content management system will likely remain unchanged, your team won't have to learn new technology or establish a brand-new process for content editing. Existing content can remain in place without the need for a costly or time-consuming migration.


While a refresh can provide a cost-effective and timely solution for updating your website, it does have potential disadvantages. 

Lack of Flexibility: Because website refreshes typically involve reusing the existing building blocks of the site, there will be some limitations in exactly what can be changed, and typically you will have to select a key area to focus on improving.

Technical Challenges: A website refresh can also involve significant technical work, including updates to CSS, HTML, and other code. Care must be taken when adding to an existing site – vs. creating something new from scratch – not to inadvertently impact other areas of the site with planned updates. This can create challenges for designers and developers throughout the process.

Unsustainable: Technology is constantly changing and improving, so not updating or consistently maintaining a site can create security vulnerabilities and page load time issues.

What are the pros and cons of a website redesign?

Unlike a refresh, a website redesign is completely tailored to meet your organization's needs. 


A Fresh Start: The biggest advantage of a website redesign is that it provides an opportunity to completely rethink and reimagine the site experience for your users based on your current and future goals. You are not locked into a content model, site navigation, design, or CMS. You can start from scratch if you wish and plan out new features to make your website more useful and engaging for visitors. Our Discovery phase will guide you through this beginning process to help you determine what to prioritize to meet your users' needs and business goals.

Improved Security: A website redesign can incorporate the latest security measures to protect against potential threats, such as hacking or malware attacks. Improvements to security can include updating the site's CMS, using secure plugins or modules, implementing SSL certificates, and regularly backing up the site.

Page Optimization: A redesign can also improve page optimization, ensuring your website loads quickly and efficiently. This can include compressing images, reducing heavy multimedia elements, and optimizing the site's code. Improving page optimization can lead to increased engagement and conversions.

Improved User Experience: With a website redesign, you can build a site that simplifies the navigation, improves the readability of text, is fully accessible following the latest guidelines, and enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the site to make it more user-friendly.

Mobile Responsiveness: With an increasing number of people using mobile devices to access the internet, a redesign ensures that your website is optimized for mobile devices and provides a great user experience on smaller screens.


While a website redesign can offer many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

Cost: Redesigning a website can be a significant investment, depending on the project's scope and the level of customization required.

Greater Time Investment: A website redesign may take months to complete, and your existing content will need to be recreated or migrated to the new platform. This can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires careful planning and execution.

How do I know which option is best for me?

Deciding between a website redesign and a website refresh requires careful consideration of various factors. Assessing the budget and schedule, gathering user feedback, and considering the SEO impact of changes are all necessary steps to identifying the goals of your organization’s website. Most importantly, our experts are always available to help you explore all possible options for updating your website based on your business needs and the resources available.