Finding Value in an Outdated Website
Cutting the cord and dragging a piece of depreciated equipment out to the dumpster that has netted you so much in the past is not usually an easy task to stomach. This seems especially true when the asset you are parting with is a website. It is a face to your business and whether your customers love it or hate it, they have become accustomed to it. Not to mention the fact that you put a lot of blood (high blood pressure), sweat, and money into the development of the site. I won’t even mention the tears.
It is inevitable that one day you will be faced with the dilemma of either continuing to revive and patch your outdated website, or a complete re-design. One key factor to keep in mind while pondering this situation is that while the coding and design behind your site may be depreciated; you are not necessarily starting over from scratch.
As web developers we have a large step forward when faced with an existing site as opposed to a new startup concept. Here are just a few examples of valuable items that can be salvaged even when the code is not:
· We can evaluate the performance and learn what has been working and what has not.
· The information architecture which is the storyline behind the website can be used to influence the new site.
· Content such as propaganda about the company and product descriptions have already been developed.
· A lot of marketing campaigns and search engine optimization will continue on into the new site.
· Client information such as names, emails, and phone numbers.
· Business processes, workflows, and algorithms that define your company.
· Color schemes, logos, and design influences.
The examples listed above are a very large portion of the web development process. Another added benefit is actually what you are leaving behind:
· Potential security flaws that have been addressed in updated versions or entirely new software.
· The inability to integrate advances in technology because the existing infrastructure will not handle it.
· Unreliable operation of the site and unpredictable events that can arise after a lot of maintenance and “hot-fixes”.
· Increased costs to maintain, upgrade, and support legacy technology.
A complete redesign of a website should not be viewed as loosing what you have already paid for, but as an opportunity to refine and improve upon your technique.