Updated January 21, 2024

How long should a website last? The average lifecycle of a website is about two and a half years. At Evolving Web we aim to develop products that will last between five and ten years. However, this sort of longevity can only be achieved through ongoing improvements. 

Here are 10 signs your website is outdated and due some improvements:

  1. Users find it hard to navigate.

  2. It’s content-heavy and hard for users to understand what you do.

  3. It lacks clear calls to action.

  4. You have outdated or incorrect content.

  5. Search results aren't relevant.

  6. Load times are too slow.

  7. You need developer help anytime you want to make a change.

  8. There are too many PDFs or content that's not accessible.

  9. It doesn't allow you to implement SEO best practices.

  10. It’s not optimized for mobile devices.

If one or more of these issues apply to your site, you definitely need to consider an overhaul. How extensive an overhaul is required depends on a number of factors, which can be addressed in a website transition plan.

Looking For the Signs

A website is a lot like a house. Fixtures and appliances age. Paint jobs and the roof need touch-ups and sometimes replacement. Clutter builds up and has to be dealt with. Families expand, creating new demands.

But while your home is a private space, your organization's website is open to the world—meaning it's all the more pressing for it to be up to date. Your house will survive without the latest interior design. Your website? Not so much.

Just as homeowners need to keep an eye out for necessary repairs and remodelling, website owners need to do the same with their sites. A two-and-a-half-year lifecycle is not long. In fact, it's worth taking the following steps soon after your website goes live:


Websites benefit from periodic, scheduled benchmarking. This means looking at competitors’ websites and seeing what they're doing better—or at least differently—than you. Are your competitors using new keywords? Are they offering online features that you aren’t? Are they doing a better job at directing traffic to their sites through digital channels? Consider doing a benchmarking analysis every six months or so.

Usability testing

Usability testing is an important element of any website development project. It's also a useful tactic to re-employ after your site is operational. This is especially useful for budget-conscious organizations, as it's fairly easy to find a handful of people from a target audience to offer feedback. Chances are these people have also spent time on competitors’ sites and can offer comparative feedback. 

10 Steps in Planning Your Website Improvement Project

So you’ve identified that your site has shortcomings. Now it’s time to drill down to the heart of the problem. Is navigability an issue? Is your content lacking? Does your site fall short of accessibility standards? Here are ten steps you can take to identify issues and take action.

1. Do a Content Inventory

The first step to take in any website planning process is to map out your website’s content from top to bottom. Once you have a complete sitemap, you may be able to identify problems with navigating your site.

2. Conduct a Content Audit

The next step is a full content audit. This shows what content is serving you well (e.g. bringing in traffic), what content is gathering dust, and how specific pages and types of content have fared over time. Metrics to examine include page rankings, user behaviour (page views, bounce rate, etc.), engagement and sales.

See how Evolving Web can support you with a content audit

3. Assess Your Tone of Voice

Does your organization have guidelines around brand voice and tone? If so, is your web content consistent with those guidelines? Sites often lose a consistent tone of voice over time, so a check-in is well worth the effort.

4. Review Your Mission Statement

Your entire website should embody your organization’s mission statement. See if it's reflected across all your pages and not just a brief mention in your 'About Us' section.

5. Review Your Keywords

Use Google Analytics to see what terms people are using to find your site. Search these keywords in Google and to get suggestions for related search terms. You can also use a keyword search platform like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or KWFinder. Reach out to us for help with your SEO strategy.

6. Research Alternative CMS Options

Are there mechanical issues with your website like slow loading times? It might be that your CMS is no longer the best fit for the type of content you provide. There are some very good reasons to upgrade to Drupal 10. If you have a high traffic website it's worth looking into decoupled architecture

7. Do an Accessibility Scan

At the start of a web development project, it's wise to develop a network of people who have disabilities or work with assistive technology and ask them to help you test your website's accessibility. You can also consider hiring an expert in accessibility audits like Evolving Web. 

8. Do QA Testing for Mobile Devices

This testing can easily be done by an internal team. It’s crucial to test your website on mobile devices at the outset and as it ages. Take a mobile-first approach to content as you update and grow your site.  

9. Keep an Eye on Analytics and Digital Trends

How are people reaching your site? Has it changed over time? What digital channels are your competitors using? Monitoring analytics and trends helps you spot dynamics that may affect how users interact with your website.

10. Get Support 

Most of these steps—and much of the work needed to fix the related issues—can be done in-house. But if you go through the steps and find your site need a complete overhaul, it’s time to call in an expert like Evolving Web

The Role of an Agency 

In an ever-changing digital landscape, websites must continuously evolve to remain useful and relevant over time. That's why we chose the name Evolving Web—and why we help organizations to nurture and grow their digital presence confidently and sustainably. 

Our collaborations with clients are as diverse as the clients themselves. It can be as simple as migrating them from WordPress to Drupal, or from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10. Often, we're asked to deliver an ambitious website revamp or to build a new site from scratch. 

At times we’re asked to fix a particular issue. Royal Roads University came to us for help with its Our People website, which was failing to deliver the right content to the right audiences. We did extensive interviews, surveys, and a content audit to overhaul the site's information architecture

If you're not sure where to start, we can help you perform a website audit and develop a digital strategy to plan your unique path forward.