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Revamp or Rebuild? What to Do With Your Old Website

  • Many old websites are neither mobile-friendly nor accessible.
  • A website audit is a crucial first step toward deciding the next actions.
  • Modern design principles can help improve business results on your website.

If you’ve been in business for quite a few years, you probably have a website that’s seen better days. With web technology changing and improving constantly, it’s easy for websites to look out- of-date even within a few years of creation. However, very old sites are often encumbered by clunky code or restrictive designs. That’s not good for your business. You may be wondering whether you need a whole new website or merely a facelift. Here’s what to keep I mind when making that decision.

Begin by doing an audit.

Just like a house, the older the website, the more junk it tends to have accumulated. This might include defunct code, outdated pages, dozens of PDFs, old campaign banners, and so on. Part of your audit should identify all these items and determine which, if any of it, is worth keeping or revamping. You’ll also want to check the functionality and accessibility of your site. Many modern browsers disable Flash or other bells and whistles, and you should also make sure that your site is accessible to screen readers and other assistive devices. If your website would take more time to fix than to simply replace, it’s time for an overhaul.

Evaluate the look and feel of the site.

It’s a sad fact: many websites that looked great years ago simply look old-fashioned now. Users don’t like pages that are cluttered with information or heavily blocked out or formatted. They like flowing pages with lots of white space and easy navigation. If your site resembles an old-school newsletter, it’s probably time to completely overhaul it. It’s not just design, either. Previously, websites were often quite verbose and descriptive, perhaps starting with the phrase “Welcome” and going into long detail about your company. That sort of content isn’t appealing anymore. You need to use storytelling techniques and clever copywriting to take your visitors on a journey through your page. Bored visitors will leave quickly, so make sure that your content is exciting and engaging.

Check for responsiveness and speed

These days, more than half of your visitors are accessing your site from a mobile device. That’s way too many people to let your site be desktop-only. Part of your evaluation should be whether or not you can easily revamp your site to be responsive. If not, it’s due for a total replacement. Many old websites are also slow-loading. Perhaps they’re coded in such a way that essential elements don’t load immediately, or each page is simply so long and complex that it takes more than a few seconds to load. That’s too long for users who are accustomed to near-instant page loading. If your website is extremely slow, you’ll likely need to overhaul it.

Wrapping Up

Often, a fresh new website is the better option, even if you’re keeping most of your branding. That’s because web development has improved a lot over the past decade, and it’s much more affordable now to have a seamless, speedy website. If your website just needs some old files cleaned out and perhaps a few tweaks for speed and accessibility, go for a revamp. Otherwise, it’s worth the investment to have your site rebuilt with a modern, results-driven design.

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