Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Is it Time to Rebuild Your Website?

Websites don't last forever. Without consistent upkeep, sometimes they barely even make it three years! The rapid change of web technology can overtake what was once state-of-the-art and reduce a website to a quaint relic in pretty short order, which is why it's so critical to realistically consider the "shelf life" of your website when you first build it.

But the truth is that predicting how technological change will affect your website is virtually impossible. There is bound to be something—whether it be the way browsers display your website or simply what's in style—that will change in the near future and cause you to rethink choices you may be making right now. And that's ok, as long as you're comfortable with your website being a work in progress.

Meanwhile, for many existing websites, the signs of digital decay are accumulating. Dormancy has been a very common strategy for reducing web-related expenses during the economic downturn, but there really is no such thing as true dormancy. As the web around it continues to grow, an unmaintained website is subject to a similar entropy as an untended home—a crumbling foundation, peeling paint, leaks, and pests.

If that sounds like your website, keep reading. In this article, I've identified ten very good reasons to rebuild it...


Jeff | December 27, 2010 11:02 PM
Hi Chris,

Nice article. One other reason for rebuilding a website that came to mind as I read your piece was website performance. As we get smarter about how websites work (thanks to Google Analytics and the like) we often find that our sites are not serving their intended purpose. The reasons for this is often some of the points you mention (and the freshness factor). Understanding where exactly a website is breaking down and what can be gained from fixing this can be a compelling reason for a client to rebuild.
Chris Butler | December 14, 2010 3:03 PM
Deborah: Thanks for reading and commenting. I don't mind you sharing any of these articles on your blog, but would prefer that you do excerpts with a credit and link back here rather than the entire article as you did here and here.

Just a note on duplicating content: Actually, duplicating our content will actually not benefit your site much. The more you do it, the more confused your readers are likely to be as to who is actually the author of your blog. And from an SEO perspective, our site will be easily recognized by search engines as the origin of the content, giving your site the appearance of a scraper. Just a word to the wise. Hope that helps.
Deborah Perugi | December 14, 2010 2:43 PM
Thanks so much for your informative articles. They are always spot on! Do you mind me sharing your full article on my business blog if I give you full credit and a link? Thanks, Deb
Chris Butler | December 1, 2010 11:34 AM
Kris: Thanks for sharing this with your network!

Russ: You're absolutely right about the "Freshness Factor!" I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for your comment, and thanks for being a loyal reader!

Jean: You're probably right. If your clients have sites that are 5 years old and haven't been consistently allocating funds to improving it along the way, then a rebuild is likely to come with some sticker shock. But the more you talk about the need and speak frankly about the costs, the more ingrained a realistic sense of the finances will be in your clients' cultures and decision making. Thanks for your comment and good luck!

Alex: Websites definitely have life cycles. Our own website has gone through many phases, both in terms of how it looks and works, but also in what we expect from it and how it fits in our marketing plan. That's really a matter of continually assessing how technological and cultural change are absorbed by your firm and what influence it has over what you do and who you do it for. Some of that can be very subtle, but it can also be dramatic. For example, our CMS used to be a much more central focus of our positioning and, consequently, our website. Things have changed such that a CMS is more of an expectation rather than a defining characteristic of a web firm, and even though we've continued to aggressively develop and improve our own CMS (our last major release was this year, in fact), it's no longer a major talking point in our marketing or our website. However, it might return to that level of importance. We'll have to see. If it does, our website will certainly reflect that. Thanks for your comment!
Alex | November 30, 2010 8:20 PM
I like that you're covering the life cycle of a website from all angles, not just how it looks. Actually, you barely even mention that, which I respect. A website's reason for being is going to change the longer it exsits, because people change and so does technology. I think this is something that will take some time go get used to, because I think people still think the web is new, almost like every website is still the first one of its kind. But there are websites that have been around since the beginning and have changed many times over.
Jean | November 30, 2010 3:32 PM
I'd love to be able to talk my clients into refreshing redoing their sites 5 years or older, but I'm sure they'd balk at the expense! Still your article brings up great talking points so maybe there's a chance...
Russ | November 30, 2010 2:34 PM
Great article. Its true about Flash. I too am an anti-Flash developer. Simply does nothing for SEO so I advise to integrate small components into your site if you absolutely need it.

And yes - here is Number 11:

The Freshness Factor - Keeping your site updated with continuous and exciting news about your business is important. There is nothing that turns me off more than going to a homepage that has dates and news in the year 2006. Get rid of old outdated info and keeping it fresh will keep your customers loyal and coming back for more.

The goal of every site should be to increase its "stickiness"...

Good article, Chris.
Kris | November 30, 2010 10:08 AM
Nice article. (It took me a while to find your share button. 212 Facebookers almost didn't get to learn more about you : )

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