Why a yearly website redesign might be more harmful than helpful

Iryna Hnatiuk


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March 5, 2024


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A complete revamp of your existing website by changing the structure, content as well as coding. The basic purpose is to give it a fresh look to improve performance and drive sales. This can be done to carry out a number of objectives, including boosting conversion rates, gaining an edge over competitors, or simplifying website navigation.

A website redesign would be required at some point as a business cannot keep continuing with the same website as web development technology advances. Although, doing it on a yearly basis may not be a good idea, as we will see later in the blog!

Difference between redesign & refresh

Website redesign & refresh are two completely different terms and should not be used interchangeably.

In the redesign, the look and feel of the website change completely, whereas in the refresh, there can be minor tweaks to color or typography on a regular basis.

The goal of website redesign is to increase revenue and enhance the overall user experience, whereas, in the case of a refresh, the purpose is to give the website a new look and feel.

In a website redesign, the pages are restructured, providing new functionalities. In refresh, the basic structure and functionalities remain the same, but the color palette and page layout may change.


Risks involved in redesigning a website

Loss of traffic

The new design may not go down well with your audience, who were used to the old design. It may also happen that the audience fails to recognize that it is your website.

Creating new functionality may also result in confusing your audience. This will result not only in a decrease in conversions but also in the overall perception of your website.

If you change your website navigation or content as part of the restructuring, it can be even more damaging. The search engine or visitors would be looking for a page that you may have removed.

This will result in a 404 error, which will make it a bad user experience.

Decrease in page loading speed

Nobody likes to wait for the webpages to load for more than 2 or 3 seconds; if it takes longer, then visitors would leave and may never come back.

Research has shown that if you improve your page load speed by 1 second, conversions are increased by 7%.

Your new website may be slowing down the loading of your pages without your knowledge. It may have large amounts of unnecessary code or uncompressed images.

The new website may be data-heavy as compared to the earlier version. New elements of code may also slow down the website.

You need to take care of all these aspects, or your website redesign may turn out to be more harmful than helpful.

Incorrect JavaScript implementation

JavaScript is used to make websites more dynamic as well as engaging. When you redesign your website, it can get incorrectly implemented. This can create issues with SEO, and Google can even blacklist your website, as JavaScript is difficult for search engines to crawl and index.

If search engine engines can’t read the JavaScript code on a page, it cannot be ranked. Some website administrators resort to ‘cloaking’ to overcome this. Cloaking means that content which is shown to website visitors is different from what is shown to search engines.

However, this is not allowed as per Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and the website will be penalized in terms of rankings.

JavaScript is capable of making the site dynamic, but it is tricky to implement. It can also create hassles for SEO as it is difficult to crawl.

Affecting SEO negatively

A website, which is redesigned, takes a dip in its search rankings, at least temporarily. Search engines have to crawl the new website to decide its rank.

A website redesign can have a major impact on the SEO of your website. If done correctly, the improved user experience can boost rankings. However, if the redirects are not correct, it can also backfire.

As far as content is concerned, you should know which content is doing well in terms of SEO and which is not. You should definitely consider revising your content, but you need to keep content that is still relevant.

You also need to check CTAs, and side navigation links, audit the internal as well as external links, and test on all platforms and devices.

Outdated XML sitemaps

With the redesign, your old XML sitemap will serve no purpose. You also need to inform Google that you have added a new sitemap for your website.

XML sitemaps are like the blueprint of your website, and if it is not updated, then they will affect your website performance. With the redesign, the XML site map should be manually updated to reflect the new structure.

Search engines like Google do not check your sitemap on every crawl but only when they are seeing your website for the first time or if you inform them that your sitemap has changed.

If Google finds that your XML sitemap is incorrect, their crawlers may ignore the website completely.

Outdated XML sitemaps

How to take care of risks involved in website redesign?

You need to do thorough research before redesigning your website. Keep useful content, optimize page speed, update XML sitemap, and carefully plan URL redirects.

The first thing to do would be to audit your existing content and see what needs to be changed. You also need to carefully map URL redirects and optimize the page speed after the redesign.

Update your XML sitemap and inform Google about the same. As a last step, test your website thoroughly, including CTAs, navigation, and interactive content.

Final word

You need to be absolutely sure whether a website redesign is required at the moment or not. An unnecessary redesign can be more harmful than helpful. In case it’s time for a revamp, have a strategy in place to avoid a negative outcome.

A yearly website redesign is not necessary unless and until it is not doing well and getting only a few visitors. So, carefully evaluate your website’s performance before making the decision to redesign. You only need to take care of the risks involved in redesigning, and everything will be fine.

In case you are looking for a web development or UX/UI design partner, Blackthorn Vision is here to assist you. Our product design expertise lets us create intuitive and visually appealing interfaces and enhance the overall user experience. Our team will bring your vision to life and deliver outstanding designs that align with your brand identity.

Get in touch with us today to elevate your product design to new heights!

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