I have a situation where I have taken over as Webmaster for a very old Web site, an ugly one at that. The pages were coded with straight html1 and no CSS at all. Although I’m not very proficient at all with the newer codes, html5 and CSS3, and have never worked with CSS at all, but I’m quickly learning. I’ve never had any formal training, just what I picked up on my own. My question is, should I just start over with a completely new site with all new pages, or try to update what’s there? I think the easy answer to my question is to start over completely, but I wanted someone else’s advice about it before I go ahead and dynamite what’s there. Need some good advice here, please.
Assuming you have a good design in mind and use CSS and semantic HTML 4.01 then you should probably start over again. You’d be just mainly wasting your time and energy trying to hack something that was totally absent of CSS and used bad practice. A clean slate sounds sensible presuming you understand how the current site works, etc.
[FONT=Verdana]Hi hughesjm and welcome to the forums.
I certainly find it much easier to start from scratch than to try to deal with updating somebody else’s code - and if it’s as antiquated as all that, you’re definitely better off starting over.
Forget about HTML5 and CSS3 for now, as they’re still in development and not fully supported by browsers yet. Stick to HTML4 and CSS2 and you’ll be fine. (And we’re here to help if you need us.)[/FONT]
It all depends on your time. If you have time to put on your website and you think its gonna be worth it, make a new one else use the old one.
I agree with others in that it’s not worth trying to update something that’s so old and out of date. It would be less work to clear the decks and start fresh.
If its totally antiquated; and by the sounds of what you have said, it is. Then replacing is the only real option as to update a totally antiquated website to modern standards would probably be the same if not more work than starting a fresh and it would probably be inferior when you have completed it.
Starting over from scratch will definitely help cement your skills and knowledge of HTML and CSS, plus could be an opportunity to look at things such as the information architecture for the site and usability issues people have with the current site. Starting over from scratch will also potentially help the SEO for the site as well.
Do estimate the time required for complete change, also make sure it is within your budget and if possible take a designer for your support. That should help.
If the old website has a fair number of visitors or a a significant number of organic/quality backlinks, I’d upgrade it.
If not, start anew.