Remember that time you didn’t like the look of your foyer and decided to knock down your entire house and rebuild it from scratch? Of course you don’t because that would have been a ridiculous over-response to a relatively small problem.
What you probably did was slap on a bit of paint or maybe add a few new features with a minor renovation.
Tearing down the whole structure is one of the last things any of us would do — and only if there were chronic problems that would make it financially ruinous to keep it standing over the long run.
Paint, Renovate or Rebuild
Your website is the online home for your business. And for most potential clients your site will be the very first interaction they have with you. If it’s dusty and outdated they’ll quickly hop over to a competitor. You need to keep it fresh and up-to-date so visitors see the best version of you.
Fortunately if you have a website with “good bones” you can generally work with what you have and forgo expensive rebuilds every couple of years. That’s right, most businesses can probably get away with some paint and a few functional upgrades that won’t require a second mortgage and definitely not a demolition team blowing everything up .
At this point I should say that my idea of “good bones” is Wordpress. Today many businesses are using Wordpress to run their websites. And the dirty little secret of most agencies is that Wordpress is easier to paint and renovate than it is to tear down and rebuild.
But a lot of marketers and agencies have a business model built on the “knock it down and rebuild from scratch” approach.
If you have a Wordpress site that may be overkill — especially when a new theme and some copy tweaks will do the trick.
A little digital paint goes a long way
When making a business case for Wordpress I always tell clients that one the best reasons to embrace the platform is how easy it is to change the look and feel. And with millions of different theme templates available for free and for purchase, it really is the equivalent of slapping a new coat of paint or adding a facade to improve your curb appeal.
If you’re looking for a new theme, my go-to lately is the Enfold Theme from Kreisi. It’s clean, simple to use and can adopt virtually any look and feel imaginable.
Add in a few new plugins for functionality and this is the most cost effective update you can possibly have.
The best part is, like painting, you can figure out most of this yourself. Of course you’ll always get a better result if you hire a pro.
Renovation leads to innovation
With an online renovation, you’re doing everything above. But you’re also doing a deeper dive into content and business modeling.
This involves going through your pages to make sure your marketing message is consistent and compelling. It also means reviewing your page structures and looking at competitor sites for inspiration.
This takes more time — but like adding an addition to your home — the value added is incredible.
The best part is that most of this can be done by yourself or in collaboration with a copywriter — like myself.
Not every website can be saved
Not every site can be saved. I once had a client who maintained a custom html site with over 1000 pages on it. This was a tear-down and rebuild situation from the get go.
It would have cost more to custom build the functionality to replicate what a platform like Wordpress does out of the box than it was to copy and paste the existing content into a new Wordpress installation and create redirects from the old pages.
For me situations where you would need to go down this road for an existing Wordpress site are few and far between. In most cases a new theme and some content tweaks will do the job just fine.
Cost to build vs reno and paint
Many vendors too often see every web job as a tear-down when they should really be looking at less expensive options for their clients.
It’s certainly a business model. But it’s a model that was more appropriate before sites driven by Wordpress became ubiquitous.
Every project is different. But an existing Wordpress site with good bones doesn’t always need a bulldozer to bring it up to speed.
If you’re curious about what it would take to improve how your site functions book a 15 minute consultation and I’ll be happy to tell you.