I liked my previous site, I moved to wordpress with the intent of really growing the amount of content on my site because it definitely lowers the barriers when it comes to chucking up a new page. It’s a blogging platform, it’s good at dealing with posts. On the other hand my site was a nice example of something I’d done, hand coded, hand crafted and a hell of a lot lighter than wordpress.
This will never be a real convention but I thought it might be a nice idea to have the previous site available in my case, to that end I spun up a subdomain – previous.riffraffmakes.com – it does the old version of the site. since they’re totally different, it’ll be a static version of what I had and all new content will be on the main site.
However, if you were feeling fancy, there’s no reason you couldn’t do some clever tricks to serve the old version on a previous subdomain, in fact – if you’re not doing a full overhaul, it could be an interesting customer retention mechanism, for those that don’t like the new one.
Obviously you can do a this or that selector on styles if you’ve done a big style change but even just giving an address where customers, ie: entrenched and quite probably change averse customers can get “their” version of your site might be a cool idea, even if it’s just using the address to select the old css.
One additional benefit is that I’ve happily dropped content from the site, knowing that if anyone was looking for it specifically, they get it anyway. from my point of view, this is great because I don’t have to recreate it for the sake of keeping content I might get interest in.
So if you’re looking at a big redesign, you aren’t on bottom tier hosting and you like the idea of having that available, it costs nothing to add a cname and a subdomain to your hosting so there’s a legacy version, for the ones that want it.
In the case of CMS sites, it’ll be a game of chance as to whether you can based on your situation but even a historic version might be worth the minimal work for outliers.
Just thoughts, but it’s fun given the very different natures of how these versions are made.