It's a new year, so why not talk about why it's important to have an up to date website.

I often hear my elders talking about how things aren't built like they used to be. Most of the time they are talking about some sort of electronic item or other household items. The sad part of this is that what they are saying is true. Most items today are made in such a way that 5-10 years down the line, they will need to be replaced. This is called planned obsolescence. Now I could make a blog about why this is done and how annoying it is, but we're a marketing company not an Amazon reviewer.

So what does this have to do with websites? Well a website like most of the products in our everyday lives has a shelf life. Many people don't understand this. So my hope in this post is to show you why this happens, and why it's important to update your site every few years.

According to many sources, the average lifespan of a website design is between 2-5 years. Now you might be thinking, "that's not very long at all, I've had cell phones that have lived longer than that." First of all, if that's you, with how fragile phones are, I'm impressed the your phone has lived that long. Second of all, in terms of life in general, 2-5 years isn't that long at all. In terms of technology though, five years is a lifetime. To prove this point, let's go back 5 years to 2012. (I still feel like I should be saying 2005...) Below are pictures of 3 of the most visited websites. The first picture is their design from 2012, and the second is from 2017.

Amazon



2012


amazon 2012



2017


amazon 2016




Youtube



2012


youtube 2012



2017


youtube 2016




Weather Channel



2012


weather 2012



2017


weather 2016



As you can see, there are big differences in the sites now vs 5 years ago. Why is this important though? Well, first of all, like clothing and hair styles, websites go through style phases. Something that is "in" one year, won't necessarily be in the next. An example of this is sliders. A few years ago, having a slider on your website was a must have. It was the next big thing. Now, it's not necessarily recommended for everyone. Research has shown that most people don't take the time to sit through a slideshow in order to find information, and it's better to have everything static on the site.

Second: security issues. Hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to take down websites and infect computers with viruses, whether it be for monetary gain or just to be a nuisance. Security checks and updates can help to protect your site, but the technologies used to build websites change and evolve over time. After a site has been on the web for awhile, the language or system used to build it has more than likely changed or updated in some way to deal with security threats. Having a new site built with the latest security features will make sure that your site is more secure than one using outdated code.

Third: changes in internet technologies. Five years ago, smartphones were still in their infancy phase. Many people still used normal flip phones, and the amount of people looking at websites on mobile devices wasn't very high. Back then making sure your site was mobile friendly wasn't too big of an issue. Fast forward five years, and if your website isn't mobile friendly then you are at a major disadvantage. I won't go into specific details about why this is important, as I wrote another post about that. In five years, who knows what kind of technology we will have. Virtual reality is beginning to take off, as are household devices that are connected to the internet. There will most likely be technologies that aren't even around yet. With that being said, it's important for your site to work on all the current platforms.

Lastly, it's important to change things up every once in awhile. As you can see in the examples above, they companies decided to change up their designs to better display the information that they want to show the users. It's kind of the same thing as companies updating their uniforms or making changes to their storefronts. When customers get used to seeing the same sight over and over, it can get a little boring. Changing it up and promoting it can get clients to come take a look at the new information and improvements. You want to be up to date with the current trends so you stand out from those who aren't up to date.

Ultimately, the success of your website comes down to how it helps your customers and potential customers find what they need, and leads to them using your products and services. If your website is up to date and has a design that is current, then you are one step ahead of competitors who's web presence isn't up to par.