If you are viewing this post, you may have noticed that we have just updated our website. After about 12 years in business, this is the 3rd major overhaul in addition to ongoing tweaks and a few big ones over time. That averages out to a new site every 4 years or so.
The truth is, we probably were a year overdue in an upgrade, but you know, shoemaker’s shoes and all that.
When we rebranded two years ago, we placed a bandage on the site so to speak. We made some cosmetic changes without upgrading the WordPress theme. I could make a million excuses for why we waited, but honestly, it wasn’t until we realized we hit the technology wall that we decided to tear it all down and build a shiny new website.
Keeping up with web technology and security
WordPress, the platform we build many of our sites on, releases regular updates to the software. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to stay on top of the latest update. In the last year or so, WordPress, along with various hosting platforms and plugins all had major changes due to increases in security. These changes help keep your business and your data safe, but they can be a challenge to manage. Not all updates are compatible with one another and sometimes things break. At least four times over the last few months I had people reach out because their website stopped working. In all of these cases, they had an outdated theme and were not on a regular maintenance plan.
However, even with a maintenance plan that makes sure that all components of your website are updated and working properly, technology evolves. Beyond security, there is always new functionality being released that creates better user experiences. Not only that but your business processes and underlying technology change. You may have been using an old customer relationship management (CRM) program that didn’t have a web integration or maybe you never had a CRM system at all.
How Long Should a Website Last?
Orbit Media conducted a research project that found that the average website lifespan was 2.66 years. If that seems very short, you are right. I know it can take 6 months to launch a website that has a lot of moving parts with a lot of personalities weighing in. Can you imagine launching a new site in September 2018 and another on April 1, 2021? It’s crazy, I know.
More realistically, our clients are doing full website overhauls every 4-5 years. Don’t worry if your website is older than that, it happens. We get busy and budgets get allocated other places. However, with technology changing as fast as it does and with cybersecurity being a moving target, if your site looks like it’s past its prime, it might be time to consider a rebuild.
Ready for a New Website?
If you think you are ready for a new site or are trying to figure out if you need one, here are some questions to ponder:
- It’s not loading properly. This is common when components get updated and conflict with another update. Your host company may have made a change that impacted it as well. Sometimes you can restore a previous version, but you are likely losing critical security updates. If this is the case, it might be time for a new website.
- New Branding. Did you create a new logo and color scheme? Has your core message changed? Has your business changed so much that you hardly recognize the company your current site describes? Do you need a complete brand makeover? If so, it might be time for a new website.
- Do you need to call someone every time you need a change made? If you have an older site, you may not have a CMS that is user-friendly. We generally tell clients that we make the commonly updated pages easy to change, but there will be times when they want to have us help with functionality or aesthetics. If you have zero ability to edit your own website, it might be time for an upgrade.
- New systems. While many programs that run our businesses can be integrated into existing sites, if you have recently invested in a new ERP system, are looking for ways to make your business more efficient or are embracing e-commerce, it might be time for a new website.
- You’re not proud of it. Your website is a major representation of your organization. It’s how people check you out and learn more about you. It’s not just about what you do, but how professional you look. You could be the smartest accountant in the world, but if your website reminds clients of a dusty old bookshelf, you might think about a new website, one you can be proud of and show off like one of your children.
- Search Engine Optimization. I recently had a client tell me they wanted to improve their search results in Google. While acknowledging their priority, I told them they needed to fix the foundation before they held a housewarming party. Older, outdated sites often perform poorly in search. If you want to be found on Google, you might need a new website.
- Your Facebook page is your website. There is no doubt that social media is an important part of marketing. However, your website is your own, and tell the world you are serious about what you do. If you don’t currently have a website, it might be time for a new one.
If you have been putting off a website rebuild or just starting dreaming of a beautiful new site, let’s talk about how Seven Degrees can help.