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Revamp an Old Website in 13 Steps

If you’ve been online for a while you have old websites.

Maybe the site is still active, or maybe it’s an archive, but there is still good stuff there.

The material that you bought, created and published three, five, ten or fifteen years ago is still useful.

It might even be more relevant now than it was back then.

But an old website isn’t perfect.

If you’re going to put that old material to good use, you’ll need to do a bit of revamping.

Here’s how.

Step 1: Define the Goal

Define the Goal

Define the Goal

If you’re going to rework a website, you need to know what it is you’re shooting for. Your first step is to always define the goal and scope of your project or risk wasting time and effort. If you’re revamping a big site as a type of rebranding across your company, for example, you will have a significantly greater task load than reworking a website to boost SEO or conversions.

Step 2: Identify Limitations

Identify Limitations

Identify Limitations

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, you simply can’t do it all. If you know that your writing skills aren’t she sharpest or that you can’t code yourself out of a box, don’t expect to do very well at those tasks. Likewise, time, our most precious resource, may be so limited that you wind up with a very long timeframe on the revamp simply because you don’t have time to prioritize it. It is far better to know your limitations ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.

Step 3: Isolate the Best Material

Isolate

Isolate

Once you start looking at the blog, look first for your best material. What had the best conversions in the past? What was the most popular with readers? The best material should be your focus as you rework the website. Identifying it means more than picking your favorite post. You’ll need to do a bit of digging and checking analytics to find the best overall post.

Step 4: Clarify the Audience

Clarify the Audience

Clarify the Audience

Just like when you launched the site the first time, you’ll need to identify your audience. Who are you selling or talking to? If you didn’t clearly define your audience last time, identifying your target is a huge advantage this time around – it allows you to make clearer choices and work with a target demographic in mind.

Step 5: Research Your New Market

Research Your New Market

Research Your New Market

If you’ve changed your audience, you’re going to need to learn more about them. If you used to talk to business owners, but now you’re talking to educators, it’s time for some studying. Learn the lingo and the key themes your audience is looking for. Look for gaps you can help fill with your material – this will help you select pieces to improve as well.

Step 6: Plan the Project Steps

Plan the Project Steps

Plan the Project Steps

Now that the initial overview work is done, it’s time to plan the specific steps for reworking the content. Use a project management software like Trello to identify the key steps for the process. These steps might include moving the site to a dummy server, checking all of the links, improving or reworking the content of the pages, or adding new graphics. Make your steps as detailed as possible while you are in the planning stages. This will make it easier to execute the steps later as you balance the workload or delegate.

Step 7: Divvy Up the Responsibilities

Responsibilities

Responsibilities

Speaking of delegating, your next step will be to find the right people for the jobs you need to do. Many of your tasks might be delegated to employees or split between stakeholders in the website. Having clear expectations for each requirement makes it easy to explain what is required and the expected timeframe and level of completion. This is also the time to start looking for freelancers or firms who might take on some of the jobs that aren’t in your current skill set.

Step 8: Identify Keywords and SEO Targets

Now that work is happening, it’s important to update your keywords. Do some keyword research if you haven’t already, and as the content is improving and updating, work in those new words. Those keywords belong in the page descriptions, the page titles, subtitles, article and captions. Not to be spammy, but to be thorough as you focus in on improving your SEO and ranking for particular things.

Step 9: Plan Your Website Map

Plan Your Website Map

Plan Your Website Map

Your website map should be clean and easy to follow. Your website map is simply the outline of your pages to be sure your menus are clean and prepared correctly. Creating your map will allow you see areas where linking might naturally occur within the site and areas where you may be light on content and materials.

Step 10: Create a Mock-up

Create a Mock up

Create a Mock up

As the work comes together, work on a mock-up website. This new version of the site should be live only for your team and should show the up-to-date final product. As you add pages and make changes to keywords, maps and images, this mock-up should show all of the vested parties what the revised site will look like and give them ideas on what to expect.

Step 11: Revise and Edit

When you feel like you’re getting close to the goal, stop. Take a step back. You are never finished with a website until you have someone read over what you’ve written and created. You should testing every link and reading every headline and caption. Bring in neutral parties if possible to be your beta testers. As they discover things to fix, fix them. Find a typo? Fix it. Your website is your visual reputation. A sloppy site indicates a sloppy company.

Step 12: Watch for Creep

As you are approaching the finish line, be wary of overstepping on your scope. Check back on that original goal you set. Have you found new projects and goals to add to the original project? This may be okay, or it may be the kind of project creep that makes you feel like you’ll never finish. Look at your original goal and stick to it. Cut the extra projects or put them in a new file for later updates. You want this site finished and live, not lingering in a constant state of “almost there.”

Step 13: Polish and Publish

Polish and Publish

Polish and Publish

Finally, it’s time to polish it up and publish! Push your new site to your old domain and watch your permalinks in your URL to maintain old traffic where it counts. Check for load times and compress images and needed. Check everything one more time to clean up broken links or oddly formatted content and then relax and enjoy the site’s transformation.

A new website is exciting, and when you revamp an old site you’re not just launching a new site, you’re rebranding, reworking and refining what you already know works and turning it into something that should work even better.

Oleg

Oleg Calugher is your Fellow Blogger and Co-founder of Guest Crew. Catch him on Twitter.

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Comments

28 Comments on “Revamp an Old Website in 13 Steps”

  1. Umesh Singh says:

    Hi Oleg,

    Every point which you have mentioned in this article are important to create a valuable blog post.

    Without goals, you can not go in the right direction and will end with nothing.

    Thanks,
    Umesh Singh

  2. Hi Oleg,

    Revamping will take a lot of focus. From finding out what posts to pick that went well to delegating the work. I find that delegating is one of my favorites here because it can take so much of your time to do this. Better to delegate and get things done quickly.

    Of course, if it is in the same niche it will be easy. If one is going to change their niche, there will be a lot of homework to do finding those who will be receptive.

    -Donna

    • Oleg says:

      Hi Donna,

      thank you for the comment,
      Yeah, delegating is one of my favorite too – especially if you can get multiple people into it, each managing their area of specialization.

      Completely agree with you on multi-niche or changing the niche, that becomes a whole lot different with too many factors that comes into play.

      thanks,
      – Oleg

  3. Osho says:

    Great post,

    Loved the tips you have shared here. I must say every blog must use these tips to revamp the old websites so that the loyal reader will get great experience while reading the stuff.

    Thanks

  4. Hi Oleg,

    #2 is awesome. See where you need help, pay for it. Or develop a mutually beneficial partnership to prosper both parties. My web design skills are….um…..OK ;)….but my wed designer and developer knows this stuff inside out. He did a complete redesign of my blog last month, speeding it up, I paid for a CDN and now my blog is lightning fast. All because I handed off jobs to folks who had the talents to handle the job, and to do it darn well.

    Ryan

    • Oleg says:

      Hi Ryan,

      thank you for the comment,
      Yeah completely agree with you, we are for most part jack of all trades but masters of only a few – say writing, designing or marketing. We can’t do it all, and if we try to – it won’t be as good.

      I am a big fan of Brum design and your theme, good to know that you have moved on a CDN. Always good to keep speeding up the sites load time,

      thanks,
      – Oleg

  5. All are the important points your have mentioned there and everyone should follow to get sucess in blogging…

  6. Mark Stephan says:

    I really use these above mentioned steps to revamping my website. Thanks for sharing…

  7. Entersoft says:

    HI there, Thanks for the info! Really enjoyed it and also thinking about using some of it to rebuild my website. Great work!

  8. Joy Healey says:

    Hi Oleg,

    A very helpful guide, thanks. I’m almost wishing I hadn’t just binned some old blogs 🙂

    I agree with Ryan, it’s better to out-source jobs you;re not very good at and that are one-off. It probably makes more sense for the business owner to can spend time better on content-related tasks.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    • Oleg says:

      Hi Joy,

      thank you for the comment,
      glad you liked the article,

      Yeah, best to focus on what we are best at and let other handle what they are good at,

      thanks,
      – Oleg

  9. Rajkumar says:

    Nice post mate, I must say if only our websites had an expiry dates like food it would be pretty much easier to know when to throw out the old. There are a number of things that can get older about a website like themes posts and all also numerous reasons which you clearly mentioned in post about why should one consider revamping their site is necessary requirement for all site irrespective of niche. Updating old content can also boost page rankings.

    Thanks for the post, keep writing great stuff.

    • Oleg says:

      Hi Raj Kumar,

      welcome to Temok and thank you for the comment,

      Yeah, surely updating old content and adding more information to them will not only boost their ranking but help the end user further.

      thanks,
      – Oleg

  10. Sue Bride says:

    I’m in the process of updating a few old but popular posts on my site. Some of the info was out of date, the images were small compared to now, and I wanted to add internal links to newer posts. I’m considering changing the publish date to make it a recent post rather than 4 years old. The permalinks won’t change so I don’t think there’s an SEO issue?

    • Oleg says:

      Hi Sue,

      thank you for the comment,

      Changing publish date is a good idea, especially if you add more data to the article and make it better. If anything, it will improve SEO and rankings. Most search engines value current articles, so a recent publish date will help the article rank.

      thanks,
      – Oleg

  11. Shubhanshi says:

    Hi Oleg,

    You have touched the point. I am a big believer of old content and I like to update my old content with new information.

    Also, it takes less time to upgrade content that creating a new one.

    Thanks for reminding us about the it.

    – Shubhanshi

    • Oleg says:

      Hi Shubhanshi,

      welcome to Temok and thank you for the comment,

      Yeah, updating old content with latest information and trends is always helpful. Surely, it takes less time and effort than creating a new article.

      thanks,
      – Oleg

  12. Marbella says:

    Hey oleg,
    Thanks for the information. I happen to have a website and I think I could use these tips to rebuild it. Thanks again. Enjoyed the read.

  13. AbelPardo says:

    Hi Oleg,

    Identify goals could be the most important thing for a digital marketer. If you don’t know what you want to achieve it’s impossible to get it.

    A big salute!

  14. Lisa Sicard says:

    Oleg, great tips. I’ve been toying with the idea of redoing mine in the coming year. It’s hard to come to a decision for me on this one. I know it will take a lot of focus and some outsourcing to get it done right. I’ve updated mine from time to time but have not done a revamp in 5 years now. Thanks for all these tips!

    • Oleg says:

      Hi Lisa,

      thank you for the comment,
      Yeah, Revamp isn’t an easy thing to do, there’s so many factors involved from design to coding – much of it has to be outsourced.

      Thanks,
      – Oleg

  15. LH Louis says:

    Finding the right type of audience is vital. A product with no audience or the wrong type of audience is very important to improve.

  16. Sandipan says:

    While we are revamping an old website what should be our approach with posts that are no longer relevant. Should be delete those posts?

    • Oleg says:

      Hi Sandipan,

      welcome to Temok and thank you for the comment,

      Don’t delete old posts, those links carry a lot of weight. If you think they are totally ir-relevant and re-writing them won’t make much sense, you can delete the content but make sure to re-direct the link of the old post to a new post which is somewhat related.

      thanks,
      – Oleg

  17. Sandipan says:

    Thanks Oleg for the help!

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