How to Decide whether to Overhaul or just Upgrade…

So you know your website sucks but there are still some pots of gold on it that everyone comments about and you don’t want to kill, for fear of losing all of your sales. What do you do?

We have many websites running for our clients and they all have golden elements to them which deliver the leads/signups/sales our clients need, but there are always improvements that can be made. The reason for this is because our clients took on my first principle of getting a website up and running and testing the results. They made sales, saw the potential and kept upgrading. If it died in the ass they dumped it. Your first website needs to be that test pilot that gives very specific users exactly what they need, but unfortunately will have many short comings and some grief for other users. Quickly upgrading your site and evolving it with the feedback from your new users is critical at this stage, but its not a reason to overhaul it.

Decision 1 – Did you figure out what the jewels on your website were?
If you haven’t figured that out yet its not time to rebuild it yet. Save your pennies and make a few imagery modifications, add a few links and push users to the areas of your website that you think might gain interest. Keep the test running. Note down just generally what has tended to provide the best conversions and what has got comments from users. Better still, if you have struck upon some viral elements or written a niche bit of content that is getting a huge amount of search engine traffic keep that and build more onto it. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be live and getting feedback.

Decision 2 – Do you have the cash?

If you don’t have the budget to make a better website this time around keep saving your pennies and incrementally invest in the site. If you rebuild a site it should be a bigger and better investment than before because you have the insights of what your customers want and you are upgrading these parts. If you are just rebuilding the site just for the sake of fixing some problems but are keeping the same functionality and content, I would pause and wait a bit more time before rebuilding your site. Just changing the ‘look and feel’ of your website isnt going to skyrocket your traffic or sales. These things might:

  1. Building a viral tool – Adding a refer a friend form to your shopping cart thank you page. Creating a free report download form to build a database. Adding a forum.
  2. Service – Is what you are adding a new service that your visitors will find handy? If yes, add it, if no disband it.
  3. Money – Will you earn more cash from upgrading your site? This is a more crude way of saying is there an ROI in your website upgrade. Since you are a marketing manager and you have been to conferences with everyone screaming ROI. Just give it a thought before you upgrade. Anyone at Freestyle Media could build you a “Space Shuttle” of a website but we would not be keen to take your cash just because you want to upgrade it unless you were going to make more money by doing so.

I would advise that you want to be the big gorilla in your online niche not just a little possum hanging out with their mates. Vision your website as the best in the industry and work towards it.

3 questions to formulate your websites vision

  1. Which website is the best in the market?
  2. What am I doing better?
  3. What do I need to do to take steps to be the best?

If you have 2 No’s from the above, then keep chipping away and rebuild it later. Perhaps just launch a free blog and start testing out those new ideas you had for your site. Alternatively just register a $8 .com domain name, install some off the shelf software with a few mods and plonk it on some cheap hosting and see what happens!

Related posts:

  1. Usability is just the on-ramp to a persuasive website
  2. Your website is so BORING!
  3. New website launch
  4. How to test the conversion rate of your website design
  5. What resolution should you design your website to?

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