I often get asked variants of the following question:
- How many years should I let pass before I update our web design?
- How frequently should I overhaul my whole website?
- How often should I give me webpage a major upgrade?
Before getting to the short answer, there are a number of consideration as to why you should upgrade your website over a set period of time.
In technology there's a theory called Moore's law, which is the observation that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years and this has been so since the 1970's.
So in lamens terms Every 2 years technology in computing has generally doubled & I think back to my first computer that had 1k of internal memory.
With todays websites there's much in the way of technology that allows them to load faster than two years ago. Everyone seems to have faster computer, faster broadband connections & modern web browsers are helping speed up the internet too.
The problem with a slow loading website is that if your website is not fully loaded for your visitors in under 5-6 seconds, you'r likely to loose your user/customer and they will look elsewhere.
Today there are new image formats, new ways of formatting HTML & CSS (the code that makes up a website), new ways of delivering content, etc that are compatible with new web browser software on the market.
Search Engine Ranking
Not many people think this way but, Google's key value proposition is to provide good search results - and consequently, they have 1000s of factors they look at regarding your website in order to figure out where it ranks in terms of importance. If you're not updating your website regularly, it must not be very important to you and therefore, it must not be important to others.
Google looks at the way your webs tie is formatted. If you don't update your website it will reflect old coding practices and this will be shown within your rankings
This is the biggest point. A website is not a one-time static entity. It should evolve as technology evolves and your business evolves. This is really huge and if you get this, you'll be ahead of most people.
You should not view your website as a permanent solution. You're going to learn things about how your customers find and use your website. Take it upon yourself to find out that information to do another revision cycle on your website.
The short answer
So the short answer is - every two to three years. Thats about the amount of time we've seen for enough change to have happened in website design, content management systems, social networking, etc etc for a complete website update to be a reasonable investment.
Even if the layout of your website works for you and your customers, technology will have moved on in the 2-3 years and a redesign will still be worth the investment. We've redesigned many websites recently that where not iPhone, iPad and mobile browser ready and although they look similar to the original site, the code that makes up the site is completely different, which will help with the issues mentioned above.
Change your website to often and you will confuse search engine and probably annoy your users or customers who visit your site regularly. Change it to little and your likely to be left behind as your competitors overtake you.