Why You Should Never Completely Rebuild Your Website

It’s 2023. People aren’t completely rebuilding websites anymore (or at least they shouldn’t be). Websites have grown much too complex. They're responsible for far too much core business activity.

The web is moving away from (or already has moved away from) monolithic platforms. A decade ago clients had to suffer making a choice of THE platform they would build all of their online business activity on.

Now technology on the web is making it easy to build componentized websites and web applications. This is part of what is meant by headless or composable.

It’s becoming common to see an e-commerce website built on a headless CMS like Contentful and a separate headless e-commerce system like Shopify. A Javascript framework like React or NextJS might be the front end to this. If your business grows out of Shopify, you don’t have to completely rebuild. You instead take on a smaller project of swapping out Shopify with a different headless e-commerce platform. Everything else can stay in place.

Technology aside, a business builds value in things it invests in and maintains. Not in the things it throws in the garbage and completely rebuilds. We published a guide about the Eight Stages of B2B Industrial Websites that is founded on this idea of augmenting and adding to rather than tossing out and starting over. To progress through these stages big changes can sometimes be needed, and that includes new platforms. But, there’s likely content, design elements, plugins or web services that are still adding value. No need to dump those in a major rebuild.

There’s definitely money to be made (and spent) in complete rebuilds. But, this introduces too much risk and friction into your web ecosystem. So, let’s all stop acting like we have to start from scratch every 3-5 years. It’s not 2008 anymore.

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