We’ve written before about how a website is kinda like a house. So what do you do when that house gets a little old? You might think we can’t push this metaphor any farther, but in fact, it holds up pretty well.
To start with, let’s discuss how a website is not so much like a house: it’s not gonna last nearly as long. A recent study suggested that the average lifespan of a website is less than three years.
Only three years, you might ask? The fact is that the internet is constantly changing, and there are a lot of factors that can make a site need to be rehauled or replaced sooner than you might expect. There are a lot of things that can impact your website’s core architecture: the “bones” of the house, so to speak. In some cases, it might be salvageable but simply not worth the time and money to keep it standing. In other cases, you may be able to work around the existing structure to bring new life to an old website.
So, what are some of the factors you need to consider?
How Do You Use Your Website—Does Your House Have All The Rooms It Needs?
The fact is that businesses change over time, and as a result, what you want and need from your website may have also changed, sometimes without you knowing. A good first step is to take a long hard look at how you use your website, how your customers use your website, and how your competitors use their websites. It can be helpful to ask a marketing team to do an in-depth design/UX audit of your site to have someone give you an outside perspective.
Sometimes, you may need to update technologies, like if you are using an outdated ecommerce setup—consider this a full kitchen remodel. In other situations, you may realize that while you’ve been avoiding online orders, you really do need to invest in having them on your site (no one wants a house without a full kitchen!), or maybe the payment process you initially installed is old and clunky. If your organizational goals, mission, or core client base have shifted at all, you may want to make design and structural changes to reflect that.
This Might Be The Time For A Branding Refresh—Consider Curb Appeal
If you are going to build a new website, chances are good that it will get a new look. If you’re doing that, it’s also a great time to consider your overall branding strategy. Does your logo need a refresh or even a full design? Do you want to change your company colors to better reflect branding goals? Do you have a good sense of why your branding is the way it is (and if you’re thinking “because that’s how it is” or “because green is my favorite color,” no, you don’t have a good understanding of your company branding).
Consulting with a specialist on brand strategy and/or redesigning your logo are financial investments, but they can give your business a fresh new look (enhanced curb appeal), give you a burst of energy (think of it like “spring cleaning” for your house), and in the case of brand strategy, provide you with a plan for the next five to ten years.
But Don’t Focus on Cosmetic Issues without looking at the Site Function
We’ve all heard horror stories about that mold that someone covered up with a quick coat of paint. Don’t do that. For good reason, business owners are often focused on branding and initial user experience, so it can be easy to forget about all the behind-the-scenes element. If you’re going to invest in a new look for your site, consider asking a developer to build “from the ground up” to make sure that the structure of your site is set to last the long haul: the last thing you want is an aesthetic refresh that has to be replaced right away because you didn’t see to the underlying site.
Finally: Hire a Professional (Site) Developer
DIY can feel very satisfying, but there are some things that you want to really hesitate to do yourself, either to “save money” or because you like the accomplishment. Just like you probably wouldn’t do a big plumbing overhaul unless you have extensive experience, think twice before taking on a whole site rebuild on your own. Like the aesthetic fix mentioned above, you might end up with a site that looks the way you want, but doesn’t have the same functionality, security, and quality setup on the back end. This, in turn, can make your business suffer.
The good news is: we can help! Whether you’re looking for a brand-new website for a brand-new business, needing to scrap the old site and start totally fresh, or something in between, we can build a website that is fast, accessible, SEO-friendly, and built to last!