We’ve been talking this week with some businesses that are mulling over a big decision: build a new website, or update their current website. It’s easy to pick out everything you don’t like about your current site, or identify the areas where your site is lacking, and assume the only solution is a rebuild. However, you might just need an update rather than a complete overhaul.
One business owner said every time he talked with a web firm they tried to sell him a new website. Naturally, you don’t want to build a new website if it’s not necessary. But sometimes it is necessary for success with your digital marketing.
The difference in cost between building a new website and an update is significant, so it’s an important decision. Here are some of the considerations you need to make if you’re facing this decision for your brand, company, or practice website.
Is your website functional?
One of the companies we’re talking with is changing the name of their business, so they need a new website rather than an update. They want a completely new look, and their content no longer fits the reality of their business. Their website has not been updated in many years, so it doesn’t look good on all browsers and doesn’t work at all on mobile devices. There are many broken links and empty pages.
The website just doesn’t work.
If you’re in this situation, you really have to build a new website. There is no way to update a non-functioning website, so you need to start over.
Is your website manageable?
A couple of the organizations we’re talking with have no CMS (Content Management System); they find it inconvenient to make even the smallest changes on their own.
In the old days, it was normal to wait for an IT guy to update a website, and it could take weeks. Now, you should be able to get changes made in a reasonable amount of time, and to make small changes — like fixing a typo or changing a phone number — by yourself if necessary.
A CMS, like WordPress, allows you to make changes if you want. It’s also faster (for which also read “cheaper”) for your web team to complete updates.
Remember, too, that a website will become outdated over time if it’s not kept up to date. If your website is built on a platform that doesn’t make updating the site easy, that should be a factor that steers you toward rebuilding.
Is it time for a new website or an update?
Unlike fine wines, quality leather, and well-loved books, websites don’t get better with age. A strong domain, growing content, and an established brand are all good things, but old code does you no favors. A website that looks dated, loads slowly because of obsolete technology, and doesn’t work well on mobile is bad for your business.
“It’s like polishing up the 8 track player,” we told one person. At some point, investing time and money in something that is past its prime stops making sense.
With a modern design and up to date technology, your old domain and strong content will work hard for you in your new website.
On the other hand, a DIY website built with a theme you love may improve its performance significantly with fresh content and ongoing website management. Or maybe you’re not in the financial position to build a new site at the moment. Your current site and your business can still benefit from SEO services until you’re ready to rebuild.
We’ll be happy to help you make the decision about your website. Contact us today.