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Reskinning: All you need to know about snakes and websites


What does your website have in common with a rattlesnake?

It needs to shed its skin.

Sounds kinda gross, right? Hear me out.

Kelowna, BC is home to many unique wildlife creatures. One of them being the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake. It’s a member of the Pitviper family, and although its venomous bites can be fatal, they are naturally shy and usually non-aggressive. But that doesn’t stop it from striking fear in its name to anyone who’s hiked in the Okanagan.


So what do rattlesnakes and websites have in common? Multiple times each year these rattlesnakes will shed the outer layer of dead skin to help them grow, and reveal a more vibrant layer of skin. Similar to when snakes shed their skin, websites also need what’s called a reskin to freshen up every so often.


Website Reskinning

Reskinning a website isn’t as complex as it sounds. All it entails is making changes to the CSS of your site, the part that controls colours, pictures, fonts, and styles. When you reskin a website, the structure doesn’t change. It’s like getting a makeover; what lies beneath stays the same.

Some snakes shed their skin as often as twice a month. So how often should you reskin your website? There’s no timeline that’s the same for every website, although certain events or changes in your business could trigger the perfect time for a reskin. Such as:

1. Your branding changes

If you’ve changed your logo or any other branding elements such as font families or colour schemes, you want your website to match the changes. You don’t want customers who’ve seen the new branding in your store to visit your website and think they’ve come to the wrong place.

2. Your content changes

Whether you’ve had some new photography done, launched a new product, or updated your service offering, any major changes in your business should be reflected in the content of your website. As long as the functionality of your website can handle all the new changes then a reskin can help your website stay up to date.

3. You’re noticing lower site interest

If your website traffic is lower or bounce rate is higher than usual then it might be time to reskin your website. If your site looks dated, or even if just looks stale to your returning customers, people aren’t going to engage with your content. Reskinning your website is a great way to keep customers engaged and on their toes by looking fresh.

When these events arise, many businesses jump to the conclusion that they need to redesign their whole website. In reality, a redesign might be more than they need. If a reskin can do the job then it’s definitely a lower investment, and it typically doesn’t take as long to build. But when is reskinning not enough?


Reskinning vs Redesigning Your Website

Reskinning only touches what’s on the surface of your website, so if you need any structural changes done then a website redesign is in order. If any functions are broken, or if your website isn’t responsive, a reskin won’t fix your problems. Usability is another factor when considering whether to reskin or redesign. If your website loads too slow, is confusing to navigate or lacks any other usability features, then it needs a redesign.

Every website serves a purpose, whether it’s purely informational or is designed to accommodate your customers through a portion of the buyer journey. If the purpose of your web presence changes, or the buyer journey changes, your website should follow suit with a redesign.

So, what does your website have in common with a rattlesnake? Does it need to shed its skin, or slither away and make room for a bigger better snake?

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