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What is the lifespan of a website?



At Sixtwo, we are a team dedicated to living and breathing the web industry and bringing you the latest updates in bite size chunks.

As a specialist website design and development team we constantly ponder and debate various topics relating to our expertise. It’s one of the things that keeps us engaged and curious about our industry. 

Recently we began a discussion about the lifespan of websites. How long should you have a website before it’s time to think about replacing it? Does a website have a finite lifespan, and can you extend it with incremental updates rather than having to rinse and repeat the process every few years? Should you even try to extend the life of a website at all? All these questions and more were raised, and we will endeavour to share our thoughts and conclusions over the next few paragraphs.

Why might you need to replace your website?

This is not as straightforward a question as you might expect, as lots of factors come into play. Let’s take a look at some of the more obvious:

1. Technology

We all know technology advances at a tremendous rate, the web industry faster than most. Upgrades and developments in software, browsers, code, content management can quickly render your website (not to mention your very laptop) incompatible with the latest plugins, system software or online facilities.

2. Design

Was your website following the latest design trends when it was built? Trends are fleeting and so it will not take long before a cutting edge site looks very outdated, which in turn can reflect badly upon your business.

3. Speed/Bloat

A brand new website should be as speedy as possible but naturally over time, especially if content such as blog posts are being added regularly, the site will slow down and can often become bloated. Additionally, if new features or sections are added and the website evolves over time, you may end up with a ‘Frankenstein’ site – a site where the different sections don’t quite look or feel the same. This can lead to a clunky or even confusing experience for users.

4. Your business

Businesses evolve over time too, often due to industry developments or business growth. If your business strategy, value proposition, brand positioning or even your logo has changed in the time since your site went live it may be time for a new website. Misalignment can be very disruptive in the user journey and undermines trust.

5. Your customers

Is your target audience the same that it’s always been? Is the buying behaviour the same or has it changed in the time since your website went live? Understanding and taking advantage of customer behaviour, and changes in behaviour, is a key piece of the puzzle and if they’re struggling with your website they will go elsewhere.

6. Competitors

If you want to stay at the top of your industry then you need to stay ahead of your competitors, or at least not look out of date compared to them. If your competition have upped their game and are leaving you behind then this could impact your bottom line significantly.

Regularly reviewing business strategy, value proposition and brand to ensure they’re aligned with the current direction of the business is something that most organisations will do. Doing the same with your website is equally important, especially if it is the first point of contact for customers. Regularly reviewing website analytics and user behaviour will indicate if potential customers are using the site at all, and if so, whether they’re using it as intended. This data will also help to identify any individual pages that are doing well or not being viewed at all.

Do some industries fare better than others?

Not all industries are equal when it comes to the requirements and objectives of a website, but are there any industries in particular that may require a website refresh often?

Website agency Heumor did some research into this, reviewing over 500 INC-5000 websites to see how often they were updated or redesigned. Their results showed that industries such as Construction, Education, Industrial/Manufacturing, Energy and Corporate required updates less often, with website lifespans sometimes being more than twice that of industries such as Agencies, Beauty, Food/Drink and Technology.

These results are not unsurprising when you apply a little logic to the equation. Industries that use their websites more as online brochures, often for due diligence purposes, and that are not caught up in a fast-paced ‘arms race’ for customers’ attention will require updates less often. A business that wants to be seen as cutting edge, ahead of the curve – or that simply needs to stay on top of constantly evolving customer behaviour – will need regular updates or redesigns to stay looking fresh and relevant.

So how often should I replace my website?

Based upon the research above, together with investigations across the internet, the average lifespan of a corporate website is about 3 years. This may seem rather short given the financial and time investment often associated with a project of this type but consider the things we’ve already discussed.

The corporate, financial and technological landscape can change a lot in 3 years – for example, who had seriously considered the impact of AI on industry three years ago? Technology in particular is evolving at an exponential rate at present so, in the most simple terms, a website built 3 years ago is by nature using outdated code, or outdated coding best practices at least.

WordPress, PHP, the browsers that people use to view websites are all updated regularly, and with each update your website is left a step or two behind. If left, certainly beyond 5 years, a website will reach a tipping point where plugins, browsers, etc just cannot interact with it without causing errors. Your website has become obsolete. We have witnessed this first hand with clients who hang on for dear life, usually to save money, to the point their online store ceases to function properly and now their actual business is being seriously affected.

However, as we’ve seen, some industries and website objectives are not as seriously affected by age. A more passive, brochure-style website, with no whistles and bells or integrations will likely remain unaffected for much longer than 3 years, especially if you’re in the Education or Construction industries – you could potentially double the timescale.

What can I do to extend the life of my website?

The easiest way to extend the lifespan of your website is to do things properly in the first place. Do the research, understand your target audience and the landscape in which you’re operating. Then do the planning, create a strategy, review the website content, analytics and SEO regularly once live and out in the wild. It should be an iterative process of nipping and tucking with the odd pivot along the way as your business environment changes. If you put a site live in a rush then never look at it, it will age a lot quicker.

If your site does need some nipping and tucking to keep it on track there are a few things you could look at updating:

1. Content

Give the content a refresh – make sure the language, tone of voice and keywords and still in line with your target audience. If you have developed a wealth of blog content, try curating it – keep the evergreen content and get rid of any news or articles that are obsolete or ‘old news’.

2. Imagery

It’s amazing how a fresh set of photographs can revitalise a site, give it new life and feel much more up to date. Make sure any staff images don’t have any ex-staff in there, make sure your latest products, exhibitions, installations, etc. are front and centre, so customers are seeing the latest version of the company, not the company from 5 years ago.

3. Redesign or reskin the Home page

Under most circumstances, visitors will land on the Home page first so that is where they will judge your company and offering. Redesigning the Home page can add new life to a website, shift the focus, and direct the customer to relevant content, even if the rest of it is largely unchanged. Alternatively, simply swapping out the assets on the Home page (text, images, illustrations, videos) for something different, without altering the structure of the page can have a similar impact.

Speaking to your web agency can be a great way to start this process. They will often be able to suggest some simple updates or tweaks that can inject a bit more life into the site without have to start from scratch… just yet.


When you invest a significant amount of money in a new website, there’s often an expectation that it will see you through a good few years – maybe even a decade or so – but unfortunately that’s how websites worked in the 90s, not in the 2020s. Technology moves at such a pace that, unless your website is nothing more than a digital business card, you will have to monitor, update and refresh things regularly in order to keep up, with the need to completely redo the website every 3-5 years on average. If your entire business, or an essential part of it, is based online then the lifespan of your website shrinks significantly.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The upside of this ongoing time and cash investment is an online presence that will be achieving its objectives and then some. Your website has the capacity to be the lifeblood of your company, a top employee who consistently smashes targets. It just won’t achieve this without some love and attention, and a website that is more than 5 years old is unlikely to achieve much at all.


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