Whether it is better to rebuild a website from scratch or revise and update an existing site is tricky to determine. Each website is different so it needs to be assessed case-by-case.
When assessing your own website to determine whether you should rebuild or revise, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the state of my current website meet my business goals and objectives?
- Does the overall design meet modern brand standards and not look outdated?
- Is the path from A to Z for your website users clear?
- Does my current website function and do everything that is expected of it?
If the answer is no to any of the above questions, then chances are a total rebuild is likely to be the better option. Let’s explore these four points in greater detail to help you understand why.
1. Your website does not meet your business goals and objectives
It’s no longer enough just to have a presence online, your website should be engaging, attractive and built with modern technology. It should be your hardest working employee, both attracting and potentially converting new and existing customers. If it is not meeting these (or any other) business goals and objectives then your website is seriously underperforming and, quite honestly, may as well not be there. It is important to know what your goals and objectives are so you can identify what you need your website to do for you. In most cases, when websites are out of touch with their businesses goals, taking a ground up approach will make all the difference. It allows business owners to reassess each aspect of their current website to ensure that it meets current goals and objectives.
2. Your website’s design does not meet modern brand standards
If your existing website does not meet modern brand standards or looks old and outdated, it will stick out like a sore thumb to your visitors and potential customers. In a survey conducted by Adobe, 84% of respondents agreed that design-driven companies outperform other businesses. This shows that there is great value in how well your business is visually perceived. If your website’s design is not up to standard, then you should identify exactly how below standard it is to determine which path to take. As an example, if your site only needs a new font or two and some more attractive imagery then a revision of your existing site would be all that is needed. However if each entire page layouts need restructuring and changes to the overall presentation of content are required then a complete rebuild will be the better option.
3. The path from A to Z is unclear
What is it that you want your website visitors to do when they reach your website? Is it to browse and purchase your products, contact you via a contact form, sign up to a service? Whatever your conversion goal is, there will be a path from A to Z that the user will follow to get there. The most effective websites have paths that are easy for the user to follow and that guide them along the way if they become lost. Think of a grocery store. They are designed to lead people through the fruit and veg section, then the bakery, then the cold foods, etc. Finally leading to the checkout registers where the payment (AKA ‘conversion’) happens. If the path is not clear on your website, then you will lose conversions like a grocery store would lose customers if it placed it’s products randomly all over the shop.
A website that has an unclear path, also known as a user journey, will need a complete restructure in most cases, making a rebuild from scratch ideal.
4. Your website doesn’t function like it is expected
When addressing the functionality of your website, ask yourself whether or not your website does everything that you want it to do as well as what your customers expect it to do. As an example, if you sell products online, your website should be able to take payments, send order invoices, manage your outstanding order, calculate shipping and more. Identifying what functionality is required of your website is important in rebuild/revise process as some functionality requires newer technology and different foundational systems. If your previous website was built only using basic HTML, adding on an interactive eCommerce shop to sell products online will be a lot more challenging and time consuming whereas a rebuild on a newer system such as WordPress would save a lot of time and allow for many additional features.
Website owners may think that simple revisions to their existing sites will fix all problems but more often than not a complete rebuild is more efficient. The term ‘Frankensteining’ comes from when business owners apply a band aid approach to patching existing problems on older, outdated sites without considering rebuilding. This often creates messy and disconnected user experiences and in most cases, causes more problems further down the road.
Addressing whether it is better to start again with a fresh approach or simply revise and refine your existing site is vital and could save you, not just in time and money, but by dramatically increasing how your website performs which will inevitably take your business to the next level.