Common reasons companies get the sledgehammer out and rebuild.

By: Alexander Acker, August 10, 2016

I’ve been watching home renovation shows with my wife these days. It’s addicting to watch a dilapidated old home being magically transformed to a beautiful new home. In about an hour, from demolition to renovation, they walk us through the process and the decisions that need to be made while solving some unexpected challenges along the way.

The transformation process of a home renovation is very similar to transforming a website. Websites get built, then get updated over the years. Over time, they start to show their age. They fade, the sheen isn’t as bright, cracks around the edges appear, things become inconsistent like patchwork, and some of the competition on the block is starting to look better than it used to be.

Styles change, technology changes, companies change—all triggers for a refresh or a complete gutting of the old home (page). The choice to rebuild over refresh is always a tough one but let’s look at some of the common reasons why companies choose the sledgehammer and rebuild:

Rebuild when the website doesn’t represent your brand anymore.

A website is very much like a home that you outgrow. Chances are your company has evolved, or at least your competition has, and you need to keep up with the Jones’s —or the Jones Corporation. It’s time to rebuild when your brand had moved forward and your website is holding it back. Answer these questions to help you decide:

  • Is the tone of voice on your website active and engaging?
  • Is your site content targeted to your customer’s needs?
  • Is your content helpful and does it provide all the necessary information to help a website visitor decide that you’re the right company for the job?
  • Is your website modern and does it use color, typography, photography, and iconography in a fresh compelling manner that activates your brand’s value proposition?
  • Is your website differentiated from the competition?

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If your site doesn’t represent your brand, doesn’t delight customers, and isn’t differentiated from the competition, it’s time to get the sledgehammer.

 

Rebuild when your site content isn’t optimized for mobile.

Where were you on January 9, 2007 when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at MacWorld? Fast forward to 2016 and 94% of people with smartphones search for information on their phones, according to Google. Seventy-seven percent of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present. That means a lot of people prefer to use the convenience of their phone to visit websites for more information.

You’d think that all websites would be optimized for mobile today but they aren’t. Responsive web design is still the best strategic development choice to ensure your website provides viewers with the best user experience over multiple digital devices.

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If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, it’s time to get the sledgehammer.

 

Rebuild your site if you’re not employing a modern content strategy.

Websites are built on a logical information architecture (IA) that defines the navigation and hierarchy and ordering of site content. Traditionally sites back in the day employed an “above the fold” strategy which meant the need for a lot of short pages. The issue with this is two-fold:

  • The user is jumping around to multiple pages to get the full value story resulting in a poor user experience.
  • The person in charge of updating the content management system (CMS) is tasked with updating many more pages than they need to resulting in inefficient use of employee time.

With the advent of the mobile phone and touch screen devices, scrolling and the need for content “above the fold” became a non-issue. A modern content strategy employs longer pages, which provide the website visitor with a better, more holistic content experience: less clicking and jumping around. And it provides the CMS operator with a better user experience as well: less clicking and jumping around to update pages. It’s a win-win situation.

Sites that employ longer pages use design elements to help organize and separate different types of written and visual information. Graphical devices like iconography, photography, typography, color blocks as well as scrolling effects are all employed to ensure scrolling down a longer page is a creative, engaging user experience.

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If your site isn’t optimized for a modern content strategy, it’s time to get the sledgehammer.

 

Rebuild when your site is not optimized for SEO and generating quality traffic.

Our SEO partner, Michael Tesalona of Bradford & Crabtree, says that if your site isn’t generating enough leads, a website redesign might be the trick to jumpstart your SEO and put you on the path to more traffic.

When considering a redesign, he says it’s especially important to evaluate which pages you want to keep or add on your site and which keywords each page will target. There are a few tools available to help with this analysis and they are even more useful if you have strong competitors. For this type of research, his favorite tool is SEMrush. The application provides a list of all the keywords that drive traffic to your competitor’s site. Even better, you can sort that information by URL to find out which pages perform the best, that is, which pages are generating the most traffic.

This information can be used to help you build the architecture of your new site. Often times there are a number of pages you wouldn’t have thought to include. Now you have the ability to build those pages and rank for dozens of new keywords that can drive qualified traffic to your site.

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If your site isn’t optimized for SEO and generating quality traffic, it’s time to get the sledgehammer.

Like a new home, rebuilding a new website takes expertise to guide you through the complex development process. The journey is just as important as the final result. When it’s time to rebuild, we can be your sledgehammer.