We receive many inquiries for advice on how to approach updates to existing websites versus creating new sites. When choosing between rebuilding your site or opting to make upgrades, it can be difficult to determine whether small changes will save your team time and resources in the long run or end up causing more headaches in the future. Most developers are cautious about diving into code they haven’t written themselves because they never know what they’re going to find. If it’s been awhile since your last website upgrade or your site requires a significant number of changes, it is worthwhile to consider a rebuild. Instead of wasting time & money performing seemingly small fixes that end up taking weeks to complete, a rebuild allows your developer to quickly add upgrades without breaking any previous code. Read on if you’re considering adding any changes to your website in the near future.
How to know if your site needs an update or a complete refresh:
It may be time for a rebuild if you feel limited by your website editing capabilities. If you’re spending time finding confusing workarounds to the basic functions of your site, then small updates won’t fix that. With the current web platforms available, there is no reason editing content should be a struggle! A rebuild provides an updated backend that allows for easier editing and more flexibility in editable content. This has the added benefit of lower development costs moving forward. Take note of your most frequent edits and consider if any new functionality will make those edits easier for you. Communicate this information to your development team when discussing a new project or build to ensure your website improvements are helping make your life easier.
Desire to Switch Platforms
The main reason clients want to switch to a new platform is because their current site is outgrowing the capabilities of the original CMS (Content Management System). With WordPress, we as developers have a greater degree of control over the codebase and backend experience, and can set up the site to provide a much wider range of functionality for our clients than possible on some of the smaller CMSs. If you’re ready to move from Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace to WordPress, you’ll need to rebuild, but you’ll likely be happy you did given the greater flexibility and control you’ll have over the site.
Lack of Mobile Responsiveness
It’s incredibly distracting when images, text, forms, and other content are cut off the screen when viewing them on a mobile phone or tablet. Approximately 35% of sites are viewed from a phone which means customers will be lost if they can’t use your website easily on all devices. Some developers may suggest you only make changes to the CSS (styling) of your site in order to make it responsive. Doing this merely puts a band-aid on the situation and can lead to your site becoming difficult to maintain. Eventually your site will need to be overhauled if the codebase is outdated. Don’t invest in a short-term solution to a long-term problem, as it may cost you more money in the long run!
Changing Branding, Goals or Site Features
Sites that are shifting their branding, redefining target audiences, or adding another component to the site’s core functions may consider a rebuild to ensure that overarching needs are met consistently. For example, one of our clients recently updated the design of their mobile application; in turn, we decided to overhaul their website to match their app. This guarantees their customers now easily transition from app to website without confusion. If core features on your site are changing, you need to create a polished end product for your customers.
Smaller updates like adding new template pages, or adding a new third party integration may not warrant an upgrade but will most likely need attention from a developer to ensure proper implementation. If any of the issues described above apply to your website, we highly recommend a rebuild. Your website is the heart of your business and worth the investment to keep it in tip-top shape. As a general rule, we recommend updating designs and adding new features at least every two years to keep your site relevant on the ever-changing web. The last thing you want to happen is to fall behind the trends and let your competition get ahead.
Every situation is unique, which is why we always chat with clients about specific needs and help make a decision about what’s right for you and the future of your business. Drop us a line if your site is looking for an upgrade!
A Certified B Corp, Mangrove is a woman-owned website design and development company with a diverse, talented team distributed around the globe. We’ve been building websites since 2009 that amplify the work of change-making organizations and increase the competitive power of businesses owned by historically marginalized people.