Reskin vs. rebuild: what’s best for your website?

When it’s time for a website upgrade, every business wants to get the job done as efficiently as possible, which saves time and money. Sometimes, instead of a new website, a business simply needs a reskin of its current site. Outlined below are pros and cons of reskinning a website and starting from scratch. If your website is looking a bit dated or missing one piece of ideal functionality, we’ll be happy to explore the best approach for your specific need.

When to choose a reskin over a new website:

  • Your current website has relevant content that you want to keep.
  • You want your website to reflect a new brand direction with updated visuals, colors and fonts, but your business is essentially the same.
  • You want to improve your site’s mobile responsiveness.
  • You want to improve the user experience with updated navigation or content structure.
  • Your website has great content or a blog, but the look feels outdated.

Pros of a reskin

  • Keeps existing Content Management System (CMS) and content.
  • Prolongs the life of your current website by making the front-end appear more modern.
  • Can be more budget-friendly than a new site.

Cons of a reskin

  • Poor content or poorly organized site structure will still exist.
  • SEO performance will generally not be affected due to the superficial nature of the updates.

When to choose a new site over a reskin:

  • No website exists.
  • The content, design elements and user experience on the existing website are outdated.
  • There are major functionality issues such as outdated Javascript, broken images, etc.
  • Poor or no SEO performance due to site structure.
  • No existing Content Management System (CMS) for content management.

Pros of a new site

  • Ability to correct poor site architecture.
  • Likely boost in performance and SEO rankings.
  • Ability to be more intentional about which content, if any, is carried into the new site.

Cons of a new site

  • Timeline can be longer than a reskin.
  • Cost is generally higher than a reskin.

In general, a website reskin won’t change the website’s core functionality, but it will give it an updated look. Reskins often allow for the addition of a minimal number of new pages to reflect the updated needs of the business, but this can be accomplished relatively efficiently if the website is already built on a stable Content Management System.

It may be time to think about a reskin if you’ve recently updated your branding or have a significant content change (such as new product launch or shift in business). While a reskin won’t improve the functionality of a website, it can enhance user experience through improved design and perhaps reengage potential customers who have lost interest.

Optimization: A third option.

If website sales or leads have reached a plateau and you need new life breathed into your site, you might consider image, button or message testing.

For sites built on the most common Content Management Systems (WordPress, Drupal, etc.), we can test button colors, button placements, headlines, images and other variables and elements in real-time to see if a small change can help move users toward a desired action, e.g., a purchase or a form submission.

Once the A/B test of website elements is implemented, the website dynamically serves two versions of the webpage. Visitors to the site are randomly served version A or B. Over time, trends are revealed, and the better-performing version becomes the standard. Another test in the same or different area of the site can optimize performance over time.

Ready to breathe new life in your website? Contact us for a free 30-minute website consultation to discuss your options and best next steps.