I recently had an interaction with a client about possibly building a new website. Their site was several years old, and they were thinking maybe it’s time for something new. While I would profit from this new site, I told them no, let’s leave the old site up and running for a while longer.
WHY would I encourage a client NOT to build a new website?
The website in question is for a real estate company, specifically one of their apartment complexes. Although the site is a bit outdated, they are receiving a minimum of two inquiries every day about wanting to lease a unit or go on a tour. Now, different businesses have a different measurement as to what they would deem successful. But if you are managing an apartment complex, having no vacancies is what you strive for. And the fact that people are constantly inquiring, leads you to believe that the site is doing its job.
OK, but what if the site looks terrible?
In my example above, the site doesn’t look terrible. It is just that after a few years with technology constantly on the move, we can typically build a nicer site. BUT, if your site is just dreadful looking, my recommendation if your site is performing well in searches, and you are getting out of it what you desire, you can move the existing content into a better designed site. But, you need to be careful, as we cover in the next section.
You need to be very careful not to lose what has made you successful in the first place.
I was recently dealing with a company that had a beautiful WordPress site up for over 15 years. Someone sold them on moving to Shopify, and they lost so much of what they had built up in terms of search engine optimization. The company that built the site didn’t redirect the old URLs or bring over any of the old content. So the company ended up starting from scratch trying to regain its success in search rankings. So if you re-design your current site, try and keep that URLs the same if possible and if not redirect them to the new pages on the redesign site.
Is it OK to change platforms?
This depends on what you are using, if you have a WordPress site, I would not recommend switching to a different platform as you will never find a content management system as a search engine friendly out of the box as is WordPress. However, if you are using one of the WordPress “wanna be” platforms, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to switch over. I won’t mention them by name, but they are typically either free or subscription services whereby when you decide to get off their platform you lose everything. I won’t get into one of my rants about not owning the con tent on my website, but I would never recommend using a platform like that.
Business is about making money, plain and simple. So before you jump in and build a new website, be sure that it is the right time. I can’t tell you how many times somebody comes to me and tells me they built the new site and all of a sudden they lost all their search engine rankings. Sadly, a lot of people in my industry are just out to make a quick design fee and not taking a holistic approach to the customer’s business. So, as I said earlier, was it a good move of mine from a business standpoint to tell a customer NOT to build a new site? No, probably not, but we have built RooSites on doing the right thing and in the long run that IS profitable!