Website house

What answer would you give if someone asked you, “How much does a house cost?”

Kind of a silly question, right?

Houses come in all shapes and sizes, in different markets and neighborhoods, made of different materials and with a wide range of finishes.

The same rings true for a website.

A 50-page site is very different from a 5,000-page site, which is very different from a 50,000-page site. You can pay for premium design or you can use a template. You can hire professional copywriters or pen it yourself. And you can deploy thousands of customizations depending on what you need your site to do for you. 

There’s no canned answer here.

So now that we’ve established our house-website analogy, let’s think about the process of renovating a house.

There are options here too.

To drive some impact in the fastest, least-painful and least-expensive way, you could slap on a fresh coat of paint. The house will shine from the curb. But at least for now, you’ll have to be at peace with the home’s original plumbing and that 20-year-old HVAC system.

The next upgrade is a rehab – which could mean reconfiguring a room or two, putting on an addition or taking it down to the studs.

And the extreme option of course, is to roll in the bulldozer and rebuild from the ground up.

So which route applies to your website?

website renovation options

The most common thing I hear on new business calls is, “we need a new website.”

But that statement makes a lot of assumptions, including the following:

  • You have a significant budget in hand to do it right
  • You don’t need results too quickly (because like with a house, a website doesn’t get built overnight)
  • The website is the thing preventing your success in the first place

So before you conclude that it’s time to bring in the wrecking crew, here are a few scenarios where each route makes sense.

When to put on a fresh coat

  • If lead generation is low priority. Maybe your total addressable market is small and you know who all of your 20 potential customers are. You just need to look sharp in front of them.
  • If your company is looking to be acquired. Perhaps you’re in year four of a five-year cycle with a private equity firm who’s preparing to exit. Or your board of advisors is breathing down your neck to modernize the brand in front of suiters.
  • If you suspect you’re missing opportunities left and right because your website looks like it was built by your neighbor’s nephew in 1998 (which may be the case!). NOTE: In this scenario, a quick visual facelift is more of a phase-one bandaid than a long-term solve.

When to rehab

  • If the information on your site is up-to-date and well written, but it’s all about you (rather than your customers and their problems). In this case, you’d build an addition in the form of a blog or Learning Center and produce a base of resourceful content to address the problems and common questions of those most-important buyers.
  • If your website traffic is significant (2000-3000+ monthly visits), but you’re not generating more than a handful of leads each month. Here you’d retrofit your site with a lead-generation infrastructure (calls-to-action, premium content gated behind forms, Live Chat or a Chatbot) to convert more visitors who are sales-qualified (but not sales-ready) into leads.
  • If you really do need a full rebuild, but you’re constrained by budget. Frankly, I wish more companies in this situation would go the renovation route and focus on the 20% of changes that can produce 80% of the results they’re seeking. You’re much better off with a website that attracts, engages and generates some qualified leads than one that looks pretty but has no impact on your sales pipeline. Think continuous improvement here.

When to tear it down and rebuild

  • If you have both the luxuries of time and money at your disposal. A full website build is an intensive project involving research, strategy, site mapping, wire framing, design, development, writing and testing. This process is expensive. And even if rolled out in phases, it’ll take months – not weeks.
  • If you’re looking to take your company to the next level. When you build your own house, you get to make all the big decisions. Though the journey may be painful, the end product is exactly what you want it to be. 

So which route to take?

That’s for you to decide. The right or wrong answer will be different for each company. 

What kind of shape is your website in right now? Is it preventing you from achieving your business growth objectives? What results do you need to achieve? How fast? And what kind of budget are you working with?

If you need helping answering those questions, consider requesting a consultation.