Navigating the Crossroads: Should You Update a Website or Build One from Scratch
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Over the decade, IT Monks has undertaken various projects, from web development to creating customer experience portals. Repeatedly, we encounter a pivotal question requiring thorough analysis and contemplation: “Should we update a website or build a website from scratch?” This query bears substantial weight, as either choice holds the potential to impact your company’s financial landscape significantly.
Creating a website from the ground up requires both time and financial investment. Certain businesses may deduce significant time to this endeavor, often choosing incremental enhancements that may not fully address their requirements. On the other hand, some opt for entirely new websites, which can potentially delay their initiatives. The decision to start anew or make refinements depends on various factors. Let’s delve into when it’s best to embark on the journey of how to build a website from scratch and when fine-tuning is the more suitable approach.
Website Refresh vs. Website Redesign
hese two terms are frequently used interchangeably. While a website refresh may appear synonymous with a website redesign, there exists a distinction that our web development agency strongly advises our clients to be aware of.
Updating a website entails a complete overhaul akin to reshaping the fundamental workings, organization, and presentation of Google’s search results. Your redesign could involve transitioning to a different content management system or evolving from a static design to a responsive one, utilizing platforms like WordPress. As the very essence of the website transforms, a redesign is inherently more intricate, necessitating a lengthier implementation period and possibly even requiring some maintenance training.
Yet, a website redesign can manifest as a more straightforward endeavor, such as crafting a fresh theme or appearance for your existing content management system. This may encompass modifications to your website’s layout, accompanied by introducing a new color palette.
Occasionally, a website refresh may coincide with a redesign; for instance, a new layout and color scheme can be refreshing. However, when the fundamental function of the site itself undergoes alteration, it is classified as a redesign.
Deciding When to Start Fresh: How to Build a Website from Scratch
Just as scratching off an expiration date and replacing it with a new one on a ketchup bottle won’t enhance its taste or safety—in fact, it could lead to unfortunate consequences—similarly, an antiquated website can’t be revitalized solely through updated content, design tweaks, or on-site SEO efforts. No matter how much you update its elements, the core remains unchanged. This analogy underscores the importance of understanding how to build a website from scratch, as a truly effective transformation requires more than surface-level enhancements.
Here are the five crucial factors that should lead you to contemplate how to build a website from scratch, instead of trying to update your existing one.
- Websites exceeding a three-year mark risk falling behind. Technological progress triggers shifts in Google’s algorithms and user expectations. Take mobile compatibility as an example: the surge in mobile search led Google to prioritize mobile-responsive websites. Neglecting this adaptation resulted in plummeting rankings and traffic.
- Website themes underpin design and functionality. With progress, newer theme versions emerge. However, obsolete themes need updates, hindering compatibility, design standards, and integration with new features. Embracing a modern theme during reconstruction reaps benefits: enhanced functionality, compatibility, contemporary aesthetics, and bolstered professionalism.
- Responsive navigation is pivotal for user experience. Years of haphazard changes culminate in disarray. Clear, efficient navigation drives user actions. Bewildering signs emerge, such as high bounce rates, illogical subpage order, unwieldy mobile navigation, and the absence of CTAs. Restructuring becomes paramount for seamless user journeys.
- Futile repair attempts signal the need for a rebuild. Complex administrative controls hinder efficient changes. Neglected sites deteriorate into problematic labyrinths, plagued by slow load times, vulnerabilities, and dependency on third-party updates.
- Business evolution prompts reevaluation. Rebranding, service shifts, target audience changes, and revised brand voices demand website alignment. Subtle tweaks suffice for minor changes, but substantial realignments require comprehensive rebuilding to convey your evolving message and effectively connect with the audience.
Signs That Opting to Update a Website Is the Correct Decision
Embarking on a fresh website development journey is both exhilarating and substantial. Whether your team possesses in-house expertise, you’re collaborating with a trusted web development company, or you’re seeking a website maestro, several steps can be taken to ensure your website remains dynamic and seamlessly operational (this encompasses core and plugin updates – explore our blog for insights on why this is pivotal!).
Wondering how to update a website? It involves revitalizing the visual façade while retaining the same backend components such as themes and coding. This frequently involves introducing new call-to-action elements, augmenting pages to align with current service or product offerings, implementing SEO refinements, incorporating fresh imagery, and updating meta information. Many enhancements can uplift your existing website, enhancing its allure, utility, and conversion potential.
Here are the three key reasons why updating your current website holds advantages over pursuing an entirely new site.
It’s Younger Than 2 Years
As previously discussed, a website boasts a typical lifespan of 2-3 years, contingent on consistent upkeep. Unlike an abandoned counterpart, a site receiving regular monthly maintenance can extend this duration. Nonetheless, technological tides inevitably advance, rendering perpetual adaptation unfeasible. A general guideline applies: a refresh remains an excellent avenue if your website is less than 2 years old. However, a comprehensive evaluation is prudent for sites aged 3 years or beyond, encompassing maintenance history and other noted indicators (theme, navigation, and branding) before committing resources to a rejuvenation endeavor.
“Undoubtedly, opting to update a website is a more cost-effective choice compared to building an entirely new one. Yet, it’s crucial to perceive this as a short-term solution. Preparing a strategic website refresh blueprint can mitigate future costs. For instance, refine your website’s copy during the refresh process by optimizing keywords, expunging outdated content, and aligning with your brand’s voice. As a result, when constructing your new site, a significant portion of your copy will already be primed for seamless integration.
Should budget constraints persist in the near term, this doesn’t warrant neglecting essential updates. Opting for a website refresh stands superior to allowing issues to proliferate unchecked.
Newer sites occasionally exhibit anomalies due to bug or virus infiltration, warranting swift resolution. Employ your website developer’s expertise to conduct a thorough backend scan, unearthing and eliminating unwelcome intruders. Swift bug removal restores site functionality promptly.
Get In Touch
Still wondering how to update a website or embark on a new website development journey? Reach out to us, and we’ll assist you in assessing your current site alongside your requirements, objectives, and business vision. IT Monks knows how to build a website from the ground up and bring a brand-new look to your existing website. Contact us to discuss your project!