Do websites have a 'shelf life'?
You built your website and it took a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money - thank goodness you don't have to go through all that again! Or do you???
I have been involved in building websites for 15 years and the uncomfortable truth it that I have seen several rebuilds of existing websites during that time. The reasons are normally a combination of:
Out of date appearance
Changing technology and how people use it - for instance you now need a responsive site so people can access it on their mobiles.
Changing functional requirements - you may need new functional capabilities from your website as your business grows
Platform end of life - some platforms (such as Magento) release a whole new edition of their platform that requires a complete site rebuild rather than incremental upgrades.
These catalysts for change can lead to a great opportunity to...
Re-evaluate your website requirements - has you business 'outgrown' your website?
Re-evaluate your branding and market position
Re-design to outshine your competitors
Evaluate your content - produce more engaging content to increase traffic and conversions
Evaluate user experience -take advantage of more slick checkouts, artificial intelligence & social integrations
Re-platform - move away from a platform that isn't working well for you or becoming obsolete
What is the shelf life of a website?
In my experience it is typically 3-5 years. 5 years if you do a decent re-design during that time. I have discussed this topic with several much larger agencies who all confirm that this is also their experience. The truth is that technology and how people use it changes so rapidly that it is hard to keep up. However, one thing is certain, you should never rest on your laurels when it comes to your website. They need constant attention and improvement (which is a subject for another blog post) and continual investment in order for them to be doing their job properly.
I have recently re-built a lot of the websites that I first built when I started out as a freelancer around 3-4 years ago. Even though it was difficult telling my clients that we needed to re-platform and therefore re-build their website, each and every one has been delighted with the results.