Do You Really Need a New Website? (Revisited)

Andrew Schulkind  |  July 13, 2017

If you’re a fan of the old saying, “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut,” you may be skeptical about a web developer helping you decide whether you need a new website. You may be surprised at what you’ll find below. Of the six common complaints we hear about websites, only one is an unequivocal “Yes, you need a new website.”

photo by anton petukhov

Do you really need a new website if …

We’ve Been Hacked!
No

You may need a better maintenance and security plan and, if you don’t have a good backup plan in place, you may need to spend a fair amount of effort recreating your site, but your reaction to having your site attacked should be focused on getting back up and running – securing – rather than on what updates or improvements you might make.

Our Story Has Changed
Maybe

If your story has changed only slightly, your existing site can likely be adapted and updated to reflect your new business needs. If the pivot in your business is more severe, then it probably is time for a new site. This is typically a function of whether the pivot has you seeking to reach an entirely new audience.

Our Site Has Become Unmanageable
Maybe

Over time, it’s not uncommon for additions and changes to be made to your website with expedience and cost-effectiveness as primary concerns. There’s nothing wrong with that – until you’ve made a great many changes in this manner and the site’s structure is beginning to crumble under its own weight. This is one of the rare times when your tech team should drive decisions, rather than your marketing team. The tech team are the folks who can tell you whether the problematic changes can be re-implemented quickly or whether a clean slate is the better approach.

Our Site Looks Dated
Maybe

Conversations around a site looking “dated” can often turn into fits of silliness. “The CEO’s niece is an interior designer and she says purple is the new black” is not a reason to redo your website. That said, looks do matter, whether we want them too or not. Don’t think that’s true? Go to your next new business pitch dressed up as an Elizabethan Lord. Good luck to you, my liege. See the “We’ve Fallen Behind Our Competitors” section for more.

The Site Has Stopped Working
Maybe

I don’t mean it’s stopped working in the “we’re getting 404 errors on every page” sense. I mean that it’s no longer generating leads. (If there are technical issues, you probably don’t need a new site; just better maintenance.) In the case of diminishing returns, an audit may be called for to determine whether you’re no longer attracting as big an audience as you had, are attracting the wrong audience, or are losing your audience’s attention once you’ve gained their attention.

We’ve Fallen Behind Our Competitors
Yes

“Good, Better, Best” is all relative. And if you are frequently compared to a small group of competitors, your website better be up to or exceeding the standard they’ve set. Obviously, there’s a lot that’s subjective to an evaluation like this, particularly when it comes to design. But if your site lacks the features professionalism of your nearest competitors, get cracking on a new site immediately.

We’ll always encourage our clients to evaluate before they leap into building a new website. Even if you determine that a new site is the right step to take, what you learn in the evaluation process can only make your new website more effective – and will likely make building the new site faster and more efficient.

(By the way, if you’d like a slightly different take on this question, head on over to an article I wrote a bit more than a year ago for Small Business Trends.)

photo by Anton Petukhov