How 5 Popular Websites Evolved in the Last Decade [+ Tips for Designers]

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Tolulope Alabi
Tolulope Alabi



The world of web design moves fast. Even today’s biggest internet giants have gone through many website redesigns before landing where they are today. So have websites changed over the last decade? And what does that mean for designers today?

two people looking at different versions of websites

In this post, you’ll learn how successful brands have evolved their websites in the last 10 years. You’ll also learn some key takeaways that can be applied to your site today.

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We'll be covering websites for the following companies. Click any of the links to jump to that section:


Although Hubspot was officially launched in 2006, the earliest version of the website was a landing page in 2005.

Since then the site has evolved significantly. Here’s how it has changed over the last decade.

HubSpot in 2012

Websites over the past decades, Hubspot’s homepage in 2012

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What Changed

In 2012, HubSpot’s hero image was modified to focus on the product’s unique selling proposition (USP) to drive conversions. This is further emphasized by the video included in the hero visual.

Elements in the site navigation are sales-focused. They include case studies, pricing, and partner information.

Additionally, the homepage was modified to include social proof, including customer reviews and company growth statistics.

What Needed Improvement

The site is too text-heavy. Instead, it should focus on conveying the product benefit concisely and accurately.

Additionally, the homepage is trying to do too many things at the same time. There are links directing visitors to request a demo, watch a video, read case studies, and use a free marketing tool, among others.

Instead, the site should focus on getting visitors to perform one or two specific actions.

HubSpot in 2017

Websites over the past decades, Hubspot’s homepage in 2017

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What Changed

Hubspot’s brand color has been incorporated more heavily into the site design in this iteration. This version is also drastically simplified. The design uses more whitespace and less text compared to the 2012 version.

The text in the hero area of this iteration has also been modified to drill down further on the product’s main value proposition — helping to fuel growth. Additionally, the hero visual is updated and humanized by using a person.

Site navigation in this version is modified to allow users to access more pages from the navigation bar. However, it maintains its simplicity by leveraging drop-down menus.

Finally, in this version, you can see the user incentive has evolved from a free trial to access to free versions of the software. The homepage also uses fewer calls-to-action (CTAs) focusing on a singular goal — getting visitors to try the product.

What Needed Improvement

The homepage text in this version isn’t easily legible.

Also, the design doesn’t center the text which makes the reading experience a bit uncomfortable.

HubSpot in 2023

Websites over the past decades, Hubspot’s homepage in 2022

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What Changed

The header has been modified to be more minimalistic. The navigation bar is also redesigned to emphasize the most important elements users might want to click on.

Additionally, the hero visual in this version is different. This image is more “value-driven” — by using an image of the dashboard it shows the user a snapshot of the functionality of the tool.

The text in the hero visual has evolved based on the product’s USP. The current version addresses both the core benefit and the primary objection. It further doubles down on this with phrases such as “easy to use” and “have a delightful time doing it.”

Finally, this iteration provides a much better reading experience for visitors by centering the page content and providing more legible text. The text in the hero visual is also more legible with text color that contrasts with the background.

Takeaways for Designers

  • Understand your value proposition and incorporate it into your site header. Every iteration of Hubspot’s website shows a deeper understanding of the most important value proposition the tool provides to its users.
  • Your site needs to evolve as the product evolves. Through each iteration you can see how the design choices and overall approach evolves based on the stage the product is in. However, it is also important to note that even with the constant evolution the site managed to maintain its simplicity across all elements — navigations, visuals, text, etc.


Apple has been around for almost 50 years. Here’s how the brand’s website has evolved over the last decade.

Apple in 2012

Websites over the past decades, Apple homepage in 2012

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What Changed

This version of Apple’s website takes a more “product-focused” approach by featuring detailed product images and descriptive text that promote important product features.

Aside from this, the only other main change is that the “news” slider is completely removed from the homepage. Otherwise, this version stays fairly similar to the previous years.

What Needed Improvement

There is no clear CTA that allows buyers to make a purchase. Instead, the immediately visible CTAs for all website visitors, regardless of buyer readiness, direct them to consume more product information.

The hero image also feels busy, takes up too much space, and dwarfs every other element on the page.

Apple in 2017

Websites over the past decades, Apple homepage in 2017

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What Changed

The hero section in this version has been significantly modified.

Although it maintains the same “product focus,” the image has been replaced with a carousel of three different images — each with a separate product offering. The accompanying text for these images is reduced drastically to catchy one-liners, as opposed to product features.

Aside from these changes to the hero section, the only other significant changes are the typography and the addition of an online shopping link to the navigation bar.

What Needed Improvement

Similar to the 2012 iteration, the main issue here is that there was no purchase-focused CTA.

Apple in 2023

Websites over the past decades, Apple homepage in 2022

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What Changed

There are several design changes in the 2023 version of the website.

The hero section has undergone significant modification. For one, the carousel has been replaced with two still images stacked atop each other. Also, this version includes clear CTAs within the hero visual that encourages the user to either buy the product or learn more.

Additionally, the homepage is much longer than in previous versions. This iteration includes new sections (such as educational content) and more product images. There’s also an entire section dedicated to new AppleTV content (which rotates on a carousel).

Finally, similar to previous iterations, this version also includes new additions to the navigation bar.

Takeaways for Designers


In less than three decades, Amazon has evolved from an online bookstore to an ecommerce behemoth. Here’s how its website has evolved alongside the brand over the last 10 years.

Amazon in 2012

Websites over the past decades, Amazon homepage in 2012

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What Changed

Amazon’s 2012 home page is extremely product-focused. There are multiple rows with products for shoppers to browse.

Search functionality has been introduced to the website by placing a search bar in the header. The “department” column on the left-hand side of the homepage is also completely reorganized.

What Needed Improvement

The website needs a cleaner, more cohesive, and intuitive way for shoppers to navigate its millions of product offerings.

Amazon in 2017

Websites over the past decades, Amazon homepage in 2017

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What Changed

By this iteration, the entire homepage has been completely redesigned.

The hero visual is changed from a still image to a carousel that displays Amazon product offerings, including Prime Video. Additionally, cards are introduced to group elements on the homepage.

Finally, this version hides the “departments” column using a hamburger menu for a cleaner look. The header and footer have also been updated with a more cohesive design and single-color background.

What Needed Improvement

This version of the site has significant improvements. The home page could be reorganized to optimize this valuable real estate.

Amazon in 2023

Websites over the past decades, Amazon homepage in 2023

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What Changed

There haven’t been many changes to the site design in comparison to the 2017 iteration. However, the “sign up” section has been resized and moved to give space for more product cards.

Additionally, more categories have been introduced on the homepage.

The site also incorporates social proof in this current iteration.

Takeaways for Designers

  • For sites that offer multiple products like Amazon, helping visitors easily and quickly navigate your product offerings is paramount.
  • Experiment with different layouts and add search functionality. Consider creating custom categories based on shopper behavior and interest. The goal is to ensure that discovering products is easy and intuitive for your visitors.


LinkedIn is one of the “younger” sites on this list. However, after two decades of existence, this company has undergone some significant changes.

Here’s how LinkedIn’s website has evolved over the last ten years.

LinkedIn in 2012

Websites over the past decades, LinkedIn’s homepage in 2012

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What Changed

This version of the website is significantly different from the 2007–2008 iteration.

The header has been completely redesigned to include a simple signup form and an updated navigation bar.

Finally, while the site maintains a similar color palette to the previous iteration, this version feels less dated. It uses a crisp white to replace the previously dull blue and gray backgrounds.

What Needed Improvement

The design of the website feels monotonous and boring. This version doesn’t include any design elements to create an interesting or enjoyable user experience. As a result, it ends up looking and feeling like one big signup form.

LinkedIn in 2017

Websites over the past decades, LinkedIn’s homepage in 2017

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What Changed

LinkedIn’s website had been drastically modified by 2017.

In this iteration, the website seems to have been stripped down to what is essentially a simple signup form.

Every element in the header has been removed except for the sign-up boxes. The site is also stripped of any copy that explains what the product is and its USP.

Finally, the only “visual element” in this iteration is the background image — a full-length image collage.

What Needed Improvement

Even more than the previous version, this iteration feels like a pop-up rather than a homepage.

But aside from lacking any interesting design elements, the website copy doesn’t explain what the platform is or the value a user might derive from signing up. This means it provides zero context for new visitors who encounter the platform for the first time.

LinkedIn in 2023

Websites over the past decades, LinkedIn’s homepage in 2023

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What Changed

This iteration is a huge improvement on the 2017 website.

While the site has many more elements than the previous iterations, it manages to feel cleaner and more minimalistic. This is achieved through the use of whitespace, a neutral color palette, and muted design elements.

In this iteration, the header (as well as navigation links) makes a comeback in the hero section. However, they blend seamlessly with the rest of the page due to the continuous background that flows from the hero section.

Although this version uses an eye-catching illustration in its hero image for a modern feel, the design still feels minimal because the rest of the hero image is uncluttered.

Finally, this version introduces new elements to the homepage to help visitors understand the product’s functionality and the value it provides.

Takeaways for Designers

  • LinkedIn’s website evolution is a great example of how less isn’t necessarily always more.
  • Although it’s important to make sure that your site isn’t unnecessarily cluttered, it’s equally as important to ensure that your site properly communicates who you are, what you do, and the unique value you provide.


BuzzFeed has been around for nearly two decades. Throughout this period the media company has been consistent with its niche. However, the website has undergone changes.

Here’s how BuzzFeed has evolved over the last decade.

BuzzFeed in 2012

Websites over the past decades, BuzzFeed homepage in 2012

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What Changed

This version of Buzzfeed includes social sharing buttons and search functionality. Visually, this version also uses bright colors for the navigation bar.

The biggest difference between 2012 Buzzfeed and older versions lies in the site’s focus. Older versions looked like an interview form. In 2012, the platform looked more like a traditional publisher.

What Needed Improvement

There is too much happening on the page. This makes it difficult for visitors to decide where to focus their attention.

Most elements on the page are also similarly styled, so nothing stands out.

BuzzFeed in 2017

Websites over the past decades, BuzzFeed homepage in 2017

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What Changed

This iteration of the website comes with significant changes in the header area. The navigation bar is redesigned for a cleaner look with spaced-out elements. The bright yellow buttons have been shortened.

The overall page design is also modified in this version. News sessions have been added to the homepage and cards have been introduced to organize posts. Additionally, this version prominently features a single story on a card that is much larger than all others on the page.

Finally, there are also significant changes to the typography — font type, style, color, etc.

What Needed Improvement

Although this iteration is an improvement on the 2012 version, the elements on the page still seem largely indistinguishable. It’s likely that many visitors would completely ignore certain cards like the “News” section.

What the site needed was a way to make each element stand out, without the page feeling cluttered.

BuzzFeed in 2022

Websites over the past decades, BuzzFeed homepage in 2022

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What Changed

This version of Buzzfeed’s site is designed to make navigation easy and intuitive. Any unnecessary graphics, as were seen in earlier iterations, have been completely removed. Instead, the content is the sole focus.

Each element on the page has also been carefully designed and positioned. For example, the top stories are strategically placed in the top right-hand corner. This makes them easily visible and accessible without competing with the featured story right beside them.

Additionally, the site cleverly uses typography and colors (blue and yellow) to pull the user’s eyes to various elements.

Finally, the site maintains a clean-looking design by using a limited color palette and a crisp white background.

Takeaways for Designers

  • Buzzfeed’s website design is a great case study of how, when used properly, typography and colors can be extremely effective in drawing a visitor’s attention to different elements of a website.
  • For your next project, consider how you can incorporate colors into elements to guide your visitors along the webpage.

Your Website Evolution Over the Next Decade

As your business, brand, and product continue to evolve, you’re going to need to take the bold step of redesigning your website to reflect this evolution.

The key is to ensure that you test all changes on a small segment before applying them throughout your site and make backups before implementing changes. But most importantly, whenever possible, only make data-driven design decisions.

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