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Should You Fix Your Website or Start From Scratch?

Design & Development

Over the past 20 years, CommonPlaces has worked on a variety of projects from web development to customer experience portals. Time and time again we come up against the same question, “Can you fix it, or should we start from scratch?” It’s a question that requires a lot of analysis and thought, as either option can save or cost your company a lot of money.

Think of your website as a custom built car. The cost to fix, repair, or add something depends on the age, quality of materials, and complexity of the update. If your car is in good shape, it can easily handle the work, it’s typically worth the hassle of refurbishing it to its old glory and fix. If not, it’s often less risky and more cost effective to just buy a new car and get all the newest technology and efficiencies. Think about how often buy a new car; every three or four years? It's the same with a new website.

Benefits of Starting from Scratch

Our team gets very excited for new projects built from scratch. These projects provide our team with the ability to evaluate all solutions and plan a great site or portal that best fits our customers’ needs and goals.  It also gives us the ability to set realistic expectations in terms of how things will work, how long it will take us to complete and how much it will cost.

Trying to modify another developer's code can often cause unforeseen issues; impacting the budget and timeline of the project. We don’t enjoy telling our new customers bad news when we uncover holes in their code or fixing functionality can take weeks; and costs more.

Keeping  Your Work

However, this doesn’t mean that you should start from scratch every single time.  We are constantly updating and enhancing our customer's sites without rebuilding the entire thing. Some website and applications are built using best practices and quality code that last for a long time. If your site has a solid foundation, it can be more cost effective to update the site instead of scrapping the entire thing. Make sure to ask that your site is thoroughly reviewed to see if it can be fixed.

Keep in mind that not all issues and “black holes” are clearly visible or uncovered until you really get into the project. 

In some cases a small simple site can be fully evaluated, but a custom application with millions of lines of code is virtually impossible to fully evaluate economically.

Questions to Consider

There are some items you should take into consideration when determining whether to fix what you currently have or develop a new website from scratch.

  • What version of software was it built in? How long will it be supported? If ending support soon, may be more cost effective to rebuild now.

  • How much custom code was developed? The more, the more risk, while bigger cost of building new.

  • Who built it in the first place? A professional firm using a domestic team? Offshore team? Freelance developer? Internal employee no longer working there? We typically can stereotypically see a correlation to the quality of what we’re dealing with.

  • Has the Application been continually maintained with the latest security patches? Lapses can expose the site to hacks and backdoors that could be leveraged at a later time.

Get in Touch

Still not sure if you should fix your site or develop a new website from scratch?  Give us a shout and we’ll help you evaluate your current site as well as your needs, goals, and vision for your business. 

Kristen Lodge

Kristen is a digital marketing professional specializing in content strategy, SEO, paid search and social advertising.

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