Should you rebuild your website or work with what you’ve got?

By Emma Moody, 21st July 2020

If you’re reading this article then you’ve already identified your website as an opportunity for growth within your business. You know that your website is underperforming – perhaps your search engine rankings have tapered off over the last couple of years, or maybe they were never great to begin with. Either way, you’re looking for increased lead generation and sales from your website. The question is: Do you work with the website you’ve already got or do you rebuild? This article will explore the pros and cons of 3 different approaches used at Plug & Play, along with the key considerations that will help you to choose the right solution for your business.

Our team utilise the following 3 approaches to help our clients achieve better rankings and improved lead generation.

1. Work with your existing website

This involves working with the website you already have in place to make improvements to the existing code base and on-page SEO.


  • If your website wasn’t doing the basics properly or was targeting the wrong keywords, these changes can make a meaningful improvement to your rankings and organic website traffic.
  • Improvements made to keyword rankings for your existing website will benefit your new website should you wish to rebuild in the future.


  • Results are often limited by the quality of the code on the existing website. If your website code is in good shape to start with, the results from the optimisation will be greater than if your website uses an older code base that isn’t built in line with best practice.
  • Your content management system will remain the same. The CMS is a limitation of your existing site and improvements in how you can manage your website content will be limited.
  • If you plan to build a new website in the near future, working with your existing website first could be a more expensive option.

2. Rebuild the backend code

A backend rebuild approach retains the design of the existing website but rebuilds the backend code and CMS to provide a higher quality code base and increased content management.


  • Recoding or replatforming the website ensures that your website uses the most efficient, best practice code. This will stand you in the best stead to rank in Google in the long term, as well as more immediately.
  • Where the previous code was poor, this option will produce more powerful results than working with the old code.
  • Your new website can be built with a flexible new CMS so your team can easily create and edit content without IT support.
  • This approach is a rapid and budget friendly solution if you are happy with the existing design of the website.
  • A rebuild tightens up security and speed on your website.
  • The option to redesign your website later remains available.


  • If your website conversion rate is low, retaining the same design and user journeys will limit the improvements you see to conversion rate.
  • There may be some design related limitations to the keyword optimisation.

3. Undertake a full website rebuild

A full web design approach provides a completely new website with a new design, user experience and best practice code base.


  • A full website rebuild will enable you to take complete control of your on-site ranking factors, providing the greatest opportunity for growth.
  • A website that has been designed for performance will be optimised for conversion rate and search engine rankings.
  • You will have full content management flexibility so you can edit content and create new pages independently.
  • Best practice code gives you a secure and fast website.
  • Your website will be fully responsive and designed and developed to future-proof your online presence.


  • A design first process will add a couple of extra weeks to the project timeline.
  • This option is the most expensive.


All 3 approaches can be incredibly effective and have the ability to generate new business. While a full website rebuild offers the greatest opportunity to drive results, do you need a full new website to achieve the results you want?

Should you rebuild your website?

Do it well, do it once is a fantastically sensible statement in web design. In an ideal world, we’d always select the solution that provides the most flexibility and the greatest opportunity, offering the most longevity – in this case, a full website rebuild. However in reality, web design and digital marketing can require significant investment and the end result should always be weighed up against your available resource and your appetite for change.

When we’re recommending an approach for a client, we always ask the following 6 questions to align the business need with the appropriate solution.

1. What are your ambitions?

How much improvement do you want to see and what’s your appetite for change? If your ambitions are modest then your goals may be achievable with the website you already have. Conversely, if you operate in an extremely competitive market and have ambitious goals, you will likely need to pull out all the stops and leverage every available opportunity with a more substantial approach to achieve your goals.

2. How much resource do you have available?

Achieving the best results often involves an honest conversation about how much time and budget is available to initiate keyword ranking improvements. Marketing teams are often extremely busy so being realistic about what can be done is critical to building a strategy and selecting an approach that works for you. An SEO strategy is an exciting opportunity to drive improvements in enquiries and revenue and the best results are achieved when teams are realistic about the time and money they can dedicate. We can always step things up a notch later!

3. What is your competitive position?

Understanding how competitive your existing website is will determine the possible outcomes with each approach. Website rankings are typically influenced by 3 factors: trust, contextual trust, and specificity. Your competitiveness is largely represented by your trust metrics. How long has your business been running? How many links do you have from other websites? How large is your digital footprint? These figures can be influenced as part of a long term marketing strategy. Specificity is the factor that you have the most control over and can drive the most immediate results. This is how you tell Google about the services and products you offer and what you should rank for. A good marketing strategy will leverage your established trust metrics to be specific for keywords that you have a statistical chance of ranking for. These will not always be the biggest, most valuable keywords. Instead, they will be keywords that are achievable for your business and offer the highest chance of success.

4. How competitive is your market?

Your ability to rank is bound tightly to the competitiveness of your market. If your competitors don’t invest in their website and digital marketing, it will be easier to outrank them. If your competitors invest heavily, the playing field is elevated and you will need to do more to compete at that high level.

5. How easily can you get sign-off?

Gaining buy-in and sign-off on budgets isn’t always straight forward. We work with a number of clients to make incremental website improvements and prove the return in order to gain sign-off the next piece of work. Working incrementally is usually more expensive than doing the work as a single project, but can be a great way to secure the resource required  to complete the full project and achieve the business goals.

6. Is there a business case?

This point neatly summarises all of the others. If you spend X amount on your website and marketing, what will your return be? If you spend Y what will your return be? Can you justify the difference in resource, both time and money, between X and Y? We will always work with our clients to determine the best approach based on the strongest business case.


If you would like a second opinion on your website and the results you can achieve, our team would love to hear from you – Book a complimentary consultation by emailing us at [email protected] or calling 0203 993 8236.


Related articles:

The Anatomy of a Keyword

Identifying Your Target Keywords With Searcher Intent

8 Common SEO Misconceptions

Your New Website SEO Checklist