Is 2015 the Year for a Site Rebuild?

Part 1: To Build or Not to Rebuild? 

Yes, the New Year is upon us. And yes, we too have made some resolutions. But we’re not here to talk new beginnings and clean slates. Were here to talk Return on Investment in the form of a site rebuild. Since we are in the business of helping your businesses successfully sell online, we thought we would assist you in making the daunting decision–To Rebuild or Not to Rebuild?

Many business owners are reflecting on their 2014 gross revenue and thinking about how to make more money in the coming year. (If you’re not thinking along those lines….start!) With a solid 21% rise in ecommerce sales this past year, it’s safe to say your website is precious territory that should be in tip top industry standard shape. Throughout this blog post we’re hoping to help aid you in deciding if your website is in shape or maybe it could use a few push ups.

Before we get into the guts of rebuilding, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the site easy to update? Products, promotions, banners, etc.
  • Is usability optimized for all types of devices (mobile, tablet etc.)?
  • Is the design visually appealing? How does it compare to leading competitors?
  • Are conversion rates & average order values in line with industry standards?
  • Are there features and functions you want to implement, but simply can’t because the site/code/framework is “too old”?
  • Is the base code following all of Google’s on-page SEO best practices (meta data, alt tags, H1 usage etc.)?
  • Is the site far enough behind to need a total overhaul (keep in mind most sites go through an overhaul cycle every 2-4 years)?

Now, for each question you answered “no” to, assign a point and add them….okay, okay, we’re joking. There is no equation for that, but there is an equation for figuring Gross Revenue based on your number of visitors, conversion rate and average order value (AOV), and THAT is where your decision can easily be made. Plug in your numbers and see for yourself. 

Equation to figure gross revenue to calculate site rebuild budget.

We suggest you put in your current (actual) numbers and then another set of aspirational numbers based off of a new hypothetical rebuild or maybe just a spruced up website. If you want to get fancy, you can do a separate calculation for desktop, mobile and tablet traffic (our experts always calculate separately for the most accurate projections). Depending on the condition of the existing site, we typically estimate between 5-10% increase in organic traffic and anywhere from 10-30% increase in conversion rate. For a great real-world example, please check out this recent case study on Market View Liquor.

Still undecided? Here is another excercise, analogy rather, to help you put things into perspective.

Let’s build a house—a make believe house of course. It can be in the woods, on a mountain top or in the middle of the city. Wherever your house is, picture it as you view your website. Does it have an old frame? Rotting studs? Does the layout and structural foundation have enough integrity to do a major remodel on top of itself? Is your house better off being bulldozed and rebuilt from the ground up? If that’s the case, you have your answer.

If your “house” does not need a complete bulldoze, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the key features and functions that need to stay in existence?
  • What are those wishlist items you wish you could do?
  • Do you have the resources and expertise in-house to handle the project or should you be contacting an agency or professional services developer(s)?

“The amazing thing about Miva Merchant is that, regardless of your entry point, your site is infinitely customizable. The sky is truly the limit.” – Philip Hansen, Strategy & Solutions Manager

Once you have established that your site indeed could use a rebuild it’s time to evaluate your budget. A simple way to evaluate is to determine your return on investment (ROI). This number can be determined by using the equation above, calculating those “hypothetical” new site rebuild dollars.

For example, say your business did $500,000 in 2014 with an overall conversion rate of 1.20% coming from 641k visitors each buying around $65 (AOV). If your redesign landed you an overall conversion rate of 1.44% (20% increase) without an increase in visitors, this would mean an increase of $100,000 in annual revenue. If you also boosted traffic by 5%, that would increase revenue another $30,000. With this line of logic, you can run through various scenarios to help quantify how much you might invest in your website. Obviously, you need to take into consideration the months it will take to design and build the site. Also, know that results can wildly vary based on the condition your site is in now! For example, our Professional Services group has seen increases in mobile conversion rates of over 2400%!

That’s it for Part 1: To Build or Not to Rebuild? Best of luck and hope this was useful! Stay tuned for Part 2: Planning and Tracking Your Site Rebuild.