If you have a website created for you, or if you do it yourself – you might be surprised to note it won’t stay fresh forever! Besides the very occasional or gigantic website that is too hard to replace, many people feel the need to re-do their websites every 3-4 years.
You can mitigate the need to keep doing epic redesigns, by having a routine maintenance, freshening up, or just working with a designer you trust on a regular basis to make sure the site doesn’t become a relic.
Why do you need to do maintenance on your website?
- Things like WordPress and other CMS’s have different versions and it makes sense to ensure compatibility with the next version (especially big updates) before taking the leap.
- Plugins, modules, code libraries, and other elements used to create websites do need occasional updating – and same with things like premium ‘themes‘ and other things used to create sites. You can do this yourself, but it’s a bit risky as some issue might arise that requires you to edit some code.
- The visual design conventions of 5 years ago are much different than the ones of today. Style does play a factor in people’s buying decisions as a study done of a group of 30 women choosing a healthcare provider’s top reason for not choosing a particular provider was that the aesthetic felt cheap or unpleasant. You would do well to keep on top of a the visual design, occasionally refreshing the design to be more in line with modern standards.
- Occasionally things make it seriously important to update your site – like when all sites went from desktop only to mobile responsive with the giant trend of smartphone and tablet usage.
How much effort will this kind of website maintenance take?
Perhaps 20% of what it took to build the website in the first place could be allotted to perform this kind of maintenance and upkeep of the design each year. I’m not talking about content edits of search engine optimization, but pure ‘keep this site up to date’, honest to goodness maintenance.
There’s nothing worse than finding all of the sudden three years after you launched a site that your business from the site has gone down considerably because you didn’t put in any effort – and because no one is familiar with the site, you have to start again.
The problem with starting again all of the time, is the lessons aren’t really always learned. You hop from one company to the next to build the site, because you want them to be hungry and competitive – but in the switch you lose out on lessons gained from the last site and it’s performance.
For this reason, I strongly suggest sticking with one web design and development company/individual or group of people for a long period – even if that means you have some contention, or you have to push them make sure the next version is vastly improved from the previous.