Case Study: Renovating an Obsolete Website

Eventually, every site owner is faced with the issue of what to do when a website becomes obsolete. Technical, economic, and cultural factors may influence these decisions. When a website no longer serves its audience or owner, there are several choices. Some sites simply remain online without supervision. In other cases, sites disappear because domains are lost, site owners retire, or catastrophic technical problems occur.

A typical example can be seen at During the earliest phase of the project, it was simply a hobby site consisting of simple pages. Throughout its life, content was added, updated, or culled when necessary. Eventually, an array of monetization tools were added to the site, many of which were experimental in nature.

For a number of years the content was intentionally restricted to topics related to saltwater fishing in the states of Maryland and Virginia. Although the site served a niche audience, its geographic limitations made it difficult to manage.

Despite considerable concerns about search engine implications, a decision was made to change the title, content, and design of the site. Part of the project involved closing the forums, which had adverse affects on local audiences. Next, the site was transferred to another web host.

During the construction phase, a number of technical challenges were faced. In preparation for the new design, an initial pruning was undertaken. Obsolete and irrelevant content was removed throughout the site. A page by page review was in order, starting with the most critical sections of the old site. During this construction phase, page names, file extensions, and much of the content was kept the same, although page titles, menus, and other design attributes required editing.

Another important task involves re-defining goals and then working to create content that fulfills those needs. In this example, the site title was changed from “Maryland – Virginia Saltwater Fishing” to “Mid Atlantic Fishing”. The new title implies not only an expansion of geographical boundaries, but also a wider range of subject material.

During an expansion of this magnitude, the addition of quality content in a timely manner is essential. This aspect of website renovation affects audiences, search engine rankings, and other factors. One of the most important niches to be filled was an entirely new category: Freshwater Fishing. Eventually, this section will include freshwater fish species profiles, techniques, and other information.

To address the issue of species profiles, this page outlines the list of popular Mid-Atlantic Freshwater Fish Species. From here, audiences can read overviews of various species of freshwater fish. As with other sections, this is best addressed by priority, with new pages being introduced as often as practical.

Another challenge centers around the geographical expansion of the site. The project calls for new regional content, including coverage of the Delaware Bay and other Mid Atlantic destinations.

While old content is being edited and new content is added, the planning and implementation of an entirely new site design can be addressed.