Redesigning your website is a big commitment. Unfortunately, technology is constantly changing. Before you know it, your website is showing its age. Sometimes, the decision to rebuild your website isn’t even yours to make. One reason businesses are forced into a redesign is the discontinuation of their WordPress website’s theme.
The most common solution to a discontinued theme is rebuilding your website from scratch. This is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking; the good news is, a full rebuild rarely necessary. Some of our clients came to Parkway facing this exact dilemma. They chose to work with us because of our ability to “keep” their existing website. In these situations, we usually rebuild their website in a modern WordPress theme, rather than start over completely.
There are a lot of benefits of rebuilding your WordPress website, whether you’re forced into the process or it’s time for a technical upgrade.
Most existing WordPress websites were built in a standard LAMP stack hosting environment with very few rules imposed on the site developer.
Modern hosting environments, such as the environment provided by WP Engine (our favorite!), require that your website is constructed within the WordPress paradigm. These specialized hosting environments won’t let you run code that doesn’t work within WordPress’s standards. That means you can’t do things like ditch files from the root directory or run plugins that weren’t built for WordPress.
Rebuilding your website the right way, using a modern theme, helps you fit within the rules of these new hosting environments without starting over. This method usually causes fewer headaches and results in a better final product than forcing your old website into a new environment.
Accessibility, as you probably guessed, is the practice of building your website to accommodate visitors with disabilities. At Parkway, we start every project with accessibility in mind. Unfortunately, older WordPress themes often lack even the basics.
It’s hard to retrofit these older themes with today’s accessibility standards, in the same way it’s challenging to add ramps and elevators to historic architecture. Choosing a modern theme that addresses accessibility concerns from the get-go is usually superior to an attempt at a retrofit. This is often the less costly option as well.
Legacy WordPress installs often carry with them outdated themes and plugins. Over time, support for these themes and plugins disappears. Because you don’t see any new updates in your WordPress Dashboard, you think everything is fine. In reality, this lack of updates means the opposite. When pieces of code, such as the themes and plugins your website relies on, aren’t updated, they become vulnerable to security breaches.
Self-Hosted Content Management System
Many people choose to use WordPress.com for their first WordPress website. That means your website is built on a version of the WordPress content management system controlled by WordPress.com.
During a rebuild, you have the opportunity to move from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org installation. WordPress.org provides the open-source version of WordPress anyone can download and use. This gives you the freedom to choose your own host, without sacrificing the WordPress interface you’re familiar with. Self-hosting means you have full access to your website’s files and code, giving you more control over the design and management of your website.