You might’ve arrived at this blog post because you’re in charge of a website that’s starting to show its age a little bit. Maybe it’s been active for three years, or five, or even 10, without getting a huge amount of love, and the time has come for a new look – and probably new content that better reflects your business as it exists now.
So, you get some estimates for a website redesign, and the first thing your new supplier wants to do is start from scratch, with the latest and greatest content management system, a completely new theme, a new menu structure, the whole nine yards. Sounds great, right? All that exciting new tech, and a flash new redesign!
The issue we often have with this approach, though, is that your old site may well still be very valuable to the business – and all that investment in the original build, plus your loving curation of the content, and that CRM integration you added to supercharge your marketing process, will be thrown away completely. Sure, you’ve got a comprehensive redirect plan to make sure you don’t lose any of your hard-earned keyword rankings, but who’s going to be responsible for managing redirects from hundreds (if not thousands) of URLs?
What if, instead of consigning your entire site (and all of its accumulated business value), to the great web archive in the sky, you could just rehabilitate the parts that aren’t driving your business forward right now? Wouldn’t that be a more cost-effective route to success? Purely adding value to your online presence, rather than throwing the majority of it away for uncertain gains? The truth is that it would, but most web platform suppliers are reluctant to endorse it, mainly because starting on fresh ground is far easier than spending time picking apart legacy code written by another team. Managing what we might refer to as legacy projects demands a high level of technical skill and experience, but, if executed well, can provide a sizeable return on your investment.
When an organisation comes to us looking to update their website, the first thing we’ll do is provide an estimate to perform an assessment of the site’s current health. We’ll check for the following examples of what is known in the industry as technical debt, so that we can suggest the best path forward for your site:
- Available software updates
- Security vulnerabilities
- Code or configuration that doesn’t follow best practices
- SEO limitations
- Accessibility issues
Once we’ve done this, we’ll make a recommendation on the value of the work that needs to be done to get the site into a condition where we’re confident about adding the new features or content you need to the website.
In the vast majority of cases, this turns out to be substantially lower than the cost of an entire rebuild – meaning you get to invest the remainder of that budget in work aimed at reaching your business goals, whatever those might be.
Depending on the condition of your current site, this might take several forms – including but not limited to:
- A managed and gradual upgrade of your current site, while adding new features and paying off technical debt
- A new theme for your existing site – possibly applied in gradual stages
- A new site under a subdomain that replaces just one element of your old site, such as the blog or store
- A gradual replatforming of the existing site onto a more appropriate framework or content management system, without the huge up-front investment or the wait for new content to be added that comes with a one-shot redesign
There are many alternatives and possibilities for adding value to legacy projects – there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all approach. As a team, we love the challenge of thinking about the best solution for our clients based on a thorough understanding of their business needs, rather than simply turning out new websites that may or may not deliver greater value than that of their predecessors.
To find out how we can help you make the most of your existing online assets, get in touch today by visiting our Contact page or giving us a call on 0191 5111014.