The Lifespan of a Website: Is Your Website Dead

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Websites are investments. This online tool becomes one of your most valuable assets to your business, and it can be costly to have it done, especially by a professional who knows what they are doing. Business owners frequently ask how often it makes sense to redesign a website. Afterall, the investment can be high and you want to make sure you get the most miles out of that investment. It’s not a clear cut answer, and it can vary drastically by industry. As professionals, we want to set you up for success for as long as possible with your site.

On average, a website will typically last a business 2 - 4 years, depending on how it was built, designed, optimized, and maintained.

Sometimes you’ll have to rebuild sooner if you don’t do it right the first time and are not using a professional who is well versed in web development standards. Sometimes you can go longer without overhauling if the site it built well and maintained by a professional to keep up with all the various changes that take place over time. There are a number of variables to look at that drive this shorter lifespan than what we would expect or desire out of our website investment.

Changes in Technology

It’s not new information that technology has been changing exponentially. Every aspect of the tech world gets rocked multiple times a year with new innovations on how things are done. Things are getting better, faster, and more intuitive every day. Websites are no exception to this. Browsers are changing, coding methods change, functionality enhancements change, online security changes, the list goes on and on. An easy example to see this with is the takeover in mobile website traffic. If you’re website was built in 2012 where only 10% of website traffic was driven from a mobile device, 2 years later you are obsolete. Look at the rise in mobile traffic over the last several years. If your website is not mobile friendly, you are far far behind and need a redesign… today. It’s likely that you already are mobile friendly, but there’s no telling what the next piece of technology that comes down the pipeline that will shake the website landscape all over again. Smart watches? Smart eye-wear? How about VR? Heads-up displays in vehicles? There’s a lot more to come that we are all not prepared for yet.

Changes in Search Engine Algorithms

Google’s rise to success was their ability to dominate the search landscape. They did this because of their algorithm. They figured out how to allow people to search the world wide web by delivering the absolute best search results using their advanced algorithms. But they didn’t stay stagnant. They knew that they needed to continue to improve upon their algorithm in order to continue to dominate the search engine space.

Their algorithm has evolved and become smarter than what we would have ever imagined. Google has worked hard on learning user behavior and using that information to help innovate what a search algorithm can do. All of these changes means that your website infrastructure can’t stay stagnant either. As Google changes, you must adapt. Otherwise you are going to get buried by those that keep up.

In the last 2 years, Google has released 28 algorithm updates that are all packed with major and minor changes to how they rank websites. How many updates have you made to your sites SEO structure in the last 2 years? I bet it’s not 28.

Since 2015, Google has released 44 algorithm changes. If you haven’t rebuilt your site since 2015, you’re likely missing out on some big SEO ranking factors and holding yourself back from more organic traffic.

Can you really afford NOT to update your website every few years? If you let your website sit still, you are falling behind very quickly.

YearNumber Of Algorithm Change Rollouts

Changes in Design Standards

As web analytics have gotten better with technology advancements, we have been able to really study and learn user behavior online. We can track clicks, mouse movements, scrolling behavior, and some studies are even studying where the pupils in your eyeballs literally look at when viewing websites.

All this user behavior learning has allowed use web designers to really dial in our ability to manipulate that behavior with our designs. That’s why the designs of websites that you are seeing today are vastly different than they were just 5 years ago, or even 10 years ago. It’s because designers have a much better understanding of what drives the actions we want them to take.

Looking at a business, we can take the overall business goals and use modern design standards to help drive actions online that align with those goals. Want more phone calls from your website visitors? Or maybe more PDF downloads? We now know how to design the site to drive that specific behavior.

This is also not a stagnant variable. User behavior changes and we have to constantly A/B test our theories, study their actions, and adapt our websites.

Changes in Your Business

Your business is not stagnant, and neither should your website. As you change your products, services, and the way that you do business, your website should reflect those changes. Sometimes these are small changes here and there, but over time it adds up and your website can be found outdated in comparison to how you actually perform your business today. Sometimes there are big business strategy changes that puts your website behind really quickly. Either way, if you’re not maintaining your website’s content, you fall behind as you grow. This is a poor reflection on your business and can be confusing to potential customers. Having your website properly maintained will help make this less of a factor in overhauling your website, but eventually it will be time to redesign.
If you’re not sure if it’s time for a website redesign, our website gurus are here to help.

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