How Often Should You Update Your Website?

Updated March 2019

Do you know how often you need to update your website?

The rule of thumb about when you should update your website changes almost as fast as the technology used to launch and maintain the site itself. Right now, the industry standard dictates a new website may be needed – including updated code and a new design – every 2-4 years.

The reason for this seemingly short timeline is technology has changed so much in such a short time, it's hard to keep up with the most current standards. During that time span, it may often be easier, less expensive, and faster to create a new site than trying to fix the old one. Sometimes, fixing an old or out of date site may not be an option.

Every year technology changes faster than they did the year before. Sometimes standards change several times a year, including Google analytics rules, browsers, and trends. Even for web designers, it can be hard to keep up with the constant changes in our own field.

Think about it: everything in your life needs maintenance – from your vehicle to your home. You can put more money into your vehicle and try to find parts for a much older model, but at some point, it will be cheaper and more efficient to invest in a newer form of transportation.

What Has Changed?

Past and Future - What Changed?A lot has changed in the technology world overall. Think of the fast evolution of television sets from big clunky pieces to sleek flat screens. Or how you can now get a terabyte hard drive on your computer when just two years ago you could only get up to a 500 gigabyte. And we’ve gone from boom boxes to iPod minis in a flash.

Now think about the Web.

Here are some things that have or are constantly changing:

  • Static websites now need to be responsive and mobile friendly
  • Code and web standards, the  language behind how browsers render websites, is updated so frequently, coding and development techniques have evolved to be more efficient for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Sites running on WordPress require updates to the framework more and more often
  • WordPress is constantly phasing out older versions and many coding techniques become obsolete and are no longer supported
  • When software becomes older, they are often no longer supported – for example, Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft

Build a Relationship and Learn to Trust Your Web Developer

There are always people or companies looking to turn a quick buck. They may advise you to invest in something you do not need. On the extreme side, these folks are like a shady mechanic who deliberately damages something on your car just to sell you something you didn't need when you brought your car in. Or, if you aren't familiar with how your car works or what is wrong, you may be told you need something replaced that works perfectly fine.

Similar to finding a mechanic you trust to fix parts of your car you can't do yourself, it is equally important to have the same kind of trusting relationship with your Web developer or designer. An honest and trustworthy web designer can look at what you currently have, make recommendations, and give you legitimate advice on a case-by-case basis.

It is not always necessary to completely update your website.

You may be able to have some updates or changes made without paying for an overhaul. A good developer knows how to tell if there are elements in your site that are obsolete or no longer relevant and needs to be rehabbed. The reason a recommendation to update your website completely is that sifting through thousands of lines of older code will usually be just as expensive as having a new one created. Some things can be fixed and some are not worth fixing.

Work with a designer or developer that you trust to get an honest opinion. Just like any mechanic worth their weight in ethics, they can recommend the best solution for your problem.

How do you plan to keep your business up to date and relevant? Contact us today, and let’s find out.

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