Four Kitchens

CapEx investment or long-term support: what’s the best way to secure your website’s future?

5 Min. ReadDigital strategy

As the world emerges from the pandemic, a business climate that was effectively on hold is slowly returning to normal. As you work to bring your organization up to speed, your website is still saddled with the same pre-coronavirus problems. Or, worse yet, its capabilities have fallen further behind.

You need to update your website to re-establish your organization’s presence in an altered landscape. But as you consider paths toward improvement, you will likely face one of two scenarios:

  • Your organization froze expenditures, which means you have a little extra budget to devote to improving your website.
  • Your months-long effort to reduce costs also resulted in lost revenue. Consequently, you have the same issues with your website but only a shoestring budget to resolve them.

You have to decide. Do you have the flexibility to undertake a capital expenditure investment like a fully reinvented website? Or would your organization be best served by small but meaningful improvements to your website made through a retainer engagement?

Inevitably, the answer depends on much more than your budget.

CapEx projects offer a comprehensive solution to a broken website

In terms of closing the gap in your organization’s digital needs, a CapEx project can be a magic bullet. Investing in a new website with a flexible CMS is a game-changing shift. With a CapEx project, you can completely reimagine your digital platform as well as its functionality and experience.

Working with the right digital agency, you can have a deadline when your business reopens. Your reinvented web presence will get to work as soon as design and development are complete.

Of course, the costs associated with such a comprehensive reinvention are high — effective, well-designed websites simply don’t come cheap. But if your site is frustrating both your users and internal teams with outdated technology, it may be more cost effective to start over.

Retainer relationships provide incremental improvements — and more

Rebuilding your entire website is not the only way for your organization to collaborate with a digital agency. With a retainer relationship, you can make incremental improvements that will still make an impact on your digital audience.

Smaller, incremental fixes may not make as much of a splash as a complete redesign that — ideally — resolves all of your website’s problems at once. But these changes provide fast, relatively easy solutions to lingering issues that can lift your website toward providing a much better experience.

One of the advantages of partnering with an agency is the relationship that develops over time. As a firm becomes more familiar with your website, your audience, and your teams, the better their understanding of your organization grows. Should you acquire or need the budget for a CapEx project, you’ll already have a proven partner in place. Instead of starting from scratch, your agency will have the experience to offer the solutions for your digital needs.

Assess your website’s condition to determine a level of urgency

Any digital project is informed by three constraints: scope, budget, and timeline. Before you can start improving your website, you need to accurately assess your level of need.

Is your website simply not producing the results your organization needs to deliver? Or can most of your issues be traced to performance problems that result in lower traffic and higher bounce rates?

The scope, budget, and timeline for your project are all impacted by how urgently you need your organization’s website repaired. The faster you need an issue resolved, the more cost-prohibitive improvements can become.

Depending on the severity of your website’s issues, you may be able to incorporate small changes to make an impact on the areas where your site is falling short. Or, depending on the rigidity of your CMS, it may be time to start over. However, as you get your digital house in order after the long pause of the pandemic, you shouldn’t try and tackle these questions alone.

Digital agencies offer the skills to set a path to improvement

When you consult the right digital agency, you can explore the details behind your website’s performance before making a big initial commitment. A comprehensive Discovery process at the start of a project looks deeply into your website’s issues and your organizational needs. But Discovery isn’t the only way to tap into insights from digital experts.

At Four Kitchens, our consulting services include Strategy or Design Sprints to generate and test ideas for improving your website’s performance. User stories, Google Analytics, and A/B testing for your site’s usability and user experience all provide insights into the changes your website needs.

Depending on the state of your website and its platform, a big relaunch may prove to be the clearest path toward resolving your organization’s issues. But from our perspective, most organizations don’t need a relaunch to see meaningful results.

Continuous improvement offers the unmatched advantage of flexibility

The steady return of business as usual after the pandemic means your organization has more latitude to undertake some overdue improvements. However, even if you have the budget to undertake large-scale improvements, you don’t know what the future has in store.

If your website has a look-and-feel that seems outdated, your design partner can start reinventing your site slowly. Highly visible changes to your header images and your home pages can deliver impactful change to important features. Even if your organization faces an overdue project like migrating from Drupal 7, you can progressively upgrade your site through a Support program. As long as the requests line up with the hours of your agreement, you have the flexibility to allocate resources any way you need.

CapEx projects deliver comprehensive changes to your website, but they’re also rigidly defined. You and a digital design firm establish a budget along with a deadline to deliver a new site. However, to protect those terms, some of your goals fall out of scope. With a Support program, you can target the goals you need by implementing continuous improvements over time.

If you feel like your website has reached its breaking point, we certainly should talk. But the changes that will deliver what you need most may not be as comprehensive or cost prohibitive as you think.