Do I need a brand new website? Or can I extend my existing website?

A question often asked by clients who want to extend their website to add brand new functionality, do you need a brand new website (a website built from scratch)? Or can you extend what you have?

If you already have an existing website that’s doing something positive for you (phone calls, email leads, sales or great web rankings), then there’s a high risk that you’ll lose that positive effect if you rebuild your website completely. So you definitely do not want a brand new website.

In several years of creating WordPress websites, I’ve only encountered a very small number of occasions when a website needed rebuilding. In nearly every situation, only part of the website needed replacing or extending, the rest of the website was absolutely fine.

WordPress is very modular by design, which makes it even easier to extend/replace parts compared to some other website types.


Examples of what you can change on a WordPress website without rebuilding.

  • You can ‘rebrand’ a website with a new WordPress theme (changing the design and colour scheme), which leaves your content and site structure intact.
  • You can replace one plugin with another, allowing you to exploit the benefits of the new plugin that the old one doesn’t offer
  • You can create new pages and content to add new content to a website, including having brand new templates created by your developer to completely customise the look and feel).
  • You can create a membership website on a subdomain of your website, so that it’s separate from your main website.


Under what circumstances might you have a brand new website?

  • If you’re starting a brand new business (so you don’t have a website already)
  • If what you have already is riddled with problems, and it’s more cost effective to rebuild rather than resolve those issues
  • The current website isn’t allowing you to do what you need for your business.


Myth: “Rebuilding my website will bring me new customers”

Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Whilst rebuilding your website may generate a little more activity from the search engines for a couple of days, just rebuilding your website won’t suddenly generate more sales or leads. That’s because you’ll still need to do work on SEO, marketing, content, etc.

I fell into this trap early on in my business career, spending hours upon hours updating and improving my website, expecting it to generate leads for me.

However, I was mistaken and I should have spent the time learning how to market my business properly. Whilst working on my website was smart, that alone wasn’t going to bring be visitors or prospects.

If you’re unhappy with how many leads (or sales) your website is generating, it’s likely to be one of the following reasons. The most likely reason being #1 and #2, and the least likely reason being #3.

  1. You’re not doing enough of the right type of marketing… (driving people to your website from social media, emails, Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, etc).
  2. You’re not clear and specific of who your target market really is.
  3. Your website content doesn’t make it clear why the customer should choose YOU rather than your competitor.
  4. Your website content or structure is confusing visitors, so that they don’t know what you really do.
  5. Your website content or structure makes it too difficult for someone to contact you.

Of course, improving your website design for #3 and #4 in this list will help you get more sales and conversions, but we’re talking about small adjustments in the site design. That’s why often, a brand new website isn’t needed.


Why do other developers quote to completely rebuild your website?

Often because they don’t understand or dislike the set up that you have, and want to rebuild things their way so that can support you better within their framework. Of course there are unscrupulous developers out there, but for the most part, developers are honest and just want to help the best way they know. And that means rebuilding a website in a way that they know and understand.

We understand that completely rebuilding a website is a very time-intensive activity. That time (and money) is usually best spent getting your website in front of customers, rather than starting from scratch. To be pragmatic, we usually recommend improving and extending a website help it achieve what you need. We do use what’s called an evolutionary approach to development, so that your website gets progressively more stable with each round of work.


Final thoughts…

Do I need a brand new website? No, it’s very unlikely. Usually, you’ll just want to extend and build on what you have.