Owning a website can feel like being a proud parent. Chances are you’ve poured endless hours into writing for it, you probably talk about it all the time to anyone who will listen, and no doubt you worked hard to come up with a design that appealed to you and that you would like. In fact the only difference between a webmaster and a parent is that the former don’t tend to upload hundreds of pictures of their websites to Facebook to clog up everyone else’s home feeds…
But the point is that many of us are close to our websites, and in many cases even perhaps a little bit too close to see them for what they are. I know this to be true for my own website which is something of a vanity project and which a lot of people don’t ‘get’. The niche is obscure, and the design is what can only be described as a ‘retro vision of the future’ (not my words) – hardly up-to-date and yet I continue to stick to the same design and the same niche why? Because I love it unconditionally just the way it is.
The good news is that that site is a labour of love and I don’t need it to rake in cash (though of course that would be nice). In this case I can afford to fun the site the way I want to because it’s not my main source of income – but for someone who only has one website and who perhaps wants to make a living from that site it is important to step back and be somewhat more impartial when making decisions. And the hardest decision to make of all? Euthanasia.
Why It May be Time to Say Goodbye
You might be wondering why on Earth you would ever need to destroy a website that you worked so hard to build, but sometimes this is in fact the most sensible option. Take a website for instance that has a lot of spun content on it, that has too many Google ads on it, and that has been penalized for both these things. Perhaps the design is dated and since creating it you’ve learned a huge amount about what makes a good website and about how to operate such a business. Maybe you have some bad links pointing at your site that you thought were a good idea before the Google Penguin update. In this situation you have two options – try to save a sinking ship by replacing all the content and fixing all your offending adverts, hoping that you’ll get re-indexed, or to simply start again afresh in which case you’ll probably save yourself a lot of time and end up with a much better end product.
In this situation your emotional side might be telling you not to give up on the site you’ve worked so hard for, and at the same time you might even trick yourself into believing that it’s the logical thing to do to avoid wasting that content and hard work. In reality though, if you’re objective then starting from neutral is always better than starting from a disadvantage and you may even find that you enjoy the thrill of creation again.
Why It’s Not a Waste
But don’t worry – your site will live on in the lessons you learned, in the images you created and in the very fabric that goes into your new creation. A metaphor that is certainly no longer applicable to children…
In other words, there are plenty of ways you can make the most of your old site in creating your new one – not just in terms of putting your new experience to good use, but also in terms of re-using some old elements.
And actually you can still get further use from your content too – just not directly on your pages. For instance if you are writing in the same niche, then you can always just compile those old posts and articles and use them to create an eBook that can then help you to monetize your site more effectively. And of course if you re-write some of those old articles you’ll find you write them quicker this time around, and they’re probably actually even better due to the extra knowledge you’ll be bringing with you.
So basically, making the difficult decision to kill off your website may just be the best thing you can do for your success online…
This was a guest post by Ben Austin. Ben is the managing director of SEO Positive Limited, an innovative search engine optimization company based in UK.