The other day I was thinking about web sites that disappear without warning. It’s like one day they are there, and the next poof they’re gone. Lack of time, money, or interest seems to be a common reason that a web site calls it quits. In some cases we never know the reason. It’s just a mystery.
I started out on quest to see if I could figure out what the average lifespan of a web site happened to be. There seems to be very limited information available on the subject. I could only find a couple of sources, which were all fairly old.
It quotes a few sources, but they are not exactly detailed.
Some links coincidentally no longer exist or redirect.
The second one:
There was an article published by The Washington Post back on May 16th, 2007 titled: Saving Our Digital Heritage.
While the article is primarily about digital storage it does mention the following:
“An estimated 44 percent of Web sites that existed in 1998 vanished without a trace within just one year. The average life span of a Web site is only 44 to 75 days.”
I realize that the article is a bit old (from 2007) and it’s talking about websites from 1998. However, I believe that the lifespan of a new website is still fairly short-lived today.
Recently I went through my Firefox Bookmarks, and I was amazed by the number of sites that no longer exist. Some of them were several years old, but I was expecting more of them to be online yet.
A large percentage of the ones I checked do not even exist anymore. Many are gone completely. While a handful of sites have either changed owners or content. There was a point where I was wondering what kind of a site might pop up as I went through them. You really never know when it comes to the internet.
Some were still online, but they hadn’t been updated in several years. I was delighted to see that they still existed, but disappointed that the most recent post was 2 to 3 years old or more. I am not even sure why these sites were still online after all that time. I wouldn’t expect them to be generating very much revenue if any. The only thing I can think of is that they might have pre-paid several years of domain name registration and hosting in advance. If that were the case I am not expecting them to be around much longer.
I have helped a lot of people with their websites over the years. Most of the ones that I checked no longer exist either. Especially ones that are a year old or more.
Do most websites vanish without a trace within one year?
This would be difficult to answer in today’s world. New sites pop up every day while others die off. They come and go so quickly that I don’t know how we could come up with an accurate figure.
Is the lifespan of a website still 44-75 yet today?
Possibly if you don’t take into consideration all the free sites or services such as Google blogspot/blogger, WordPress.com Blogs, Tumblr, and other Web 2.0 sites. Then again, many of these are abandon too.
The kind of websites I am talking about are the ones where people registered a domain name, and purchased paid web hosting with the intent to create a website. Whether it be for personal, business, hobby, or what have you.
I know when someone first starts a website it is an exciting time. They have big plans and ideas. Some invest a lot of money in premium themes/templates, plugins/modules, or even hire a developer/programmer. Sometimes I see people talking about how they spent $500 to $1000 or more. Not to mention all the time they put into their new website.
When I hear about site owners that have invested a substantial amount of money only to have it disappear in less than a year I feel bad for them. I am sure some people probably wish that they hadn’t spent so much to get started.
Don’t spend too much money in the early stages
I have read probably a dozen or more posts the past couple of months that encouraged people to get a premium theme and/or to spend money making their website look more professional.
My suggestion is first don’t spend money on anything that you can’t afford. Second find yourself a nice free theme/template and a few plugins/modules and work with them for at least 6 months. After 6 months or so has gone by, you will most likely have a better understanding of how your website software works, and what you can do with it. If you gave up on your site within the first 6 months you wouldn’t be out that much. If your website has managed to survive 6 months then you will be in a better position to determine whether or not you want to continue. If you have a decent following and are still just as excited about your website as you were when you started it then you might consider spending money on premium features at that time.
I still don’t believe that it is absolutely necessary to have a premium theme, but if you are thinking about it consider waiting 6 months before investing too much money.