Many EdTech start-ups who are getting their first website launched, have this question in their mind about the life of their website. So, I decided to write a helpful post on how long do EdTech websites typically last.
EdTech websites have an unlimited life. But the domain and hosting are for a limited time, typically a year or two, after which they need to be renewed. The plugins should be checked for any available updates once a week. However, the plugins or the LMS system may get obsolete in 2-3 years, so you should be open to latest technologies available in the market regularly.
Many webmasters get complacent by the fact that their EdTech website has an unlimited life. However, there are a lot of factors that go into it, and anyone administering an EdTech website must always be alert and follow a regular maintenance schedule.
Any website lasts forever if you keep up with the regular maintenance activities. The various components of your website only function for a limited period of time, unless checked, updated, fixed, or renewed. You need to keep up with these in order for your EdTech website to have a long and smooth life. Let’s see how often do you need to re-visit various components of your website.
First and foremost, it is important to keep track of all kinds of expiry dates of various components of your website. An example is your hosting or domain. These are typically bought for a limited period, like 12 or 24 months, and need to be renewed after that. I have seen businesses that do not keep a track of these dates and their websites are often down for weeks before they get to know about it. Other than domain and hosting, the SSL certificate is another limited-time thing, which, if not renewed before expiry can make your site vulnerable to many security threats. Moreover, if your EdTech website has paid subscriptions to some premium plugins, they also have end dates, and if not tracked and renewed on time, can render your website dead for days or even weeks.
If your website is built on WordPress, it is probably using a good number of third-party plugins to function correctly. Most of these plugins undergo regular updates by their developers to fix bugs or to introduce some new features. Unless the plugins are updated to the latest version, they will not function right or will not fit correctly with WordPress. It is important to set aside half an hour every week or even twice a week to check for any available updates and follow through with those.
Another important factor for the life of your EdTech website is whether you run backups regularly, at least once a week. Your website is susceptible to attacks by a lot of forces, be it from your business competitors or cybercriminals. Taking out time to take regular backups, at least once or twice a week secures you against any unforeseeable incident. If something goes wrong, you can quickly reinstate your website to the previous version rather than rebuilding it from scratch. Backups also protect your website in case something goes wrong while making any updates or while updating a plugin.
For a prolonged, healthy life for your website, you also need to run regular security scans and detect any vulnerabilities. There are many online tools available to run your website security scan like SUCURI, QUALYS, or HostedScan Security. These detect obvious security issues like injected spam or outdated software and any malware. Other than online scanners, there are some plugins that dig deeper into any security threats and can fish out hidden malware. Studies suggest that every 39 seconds an attack takes place on the web. Any slack in security updates and checks can cause your website to be hacked and that will be a permanent death of your EdTech Website.
The content on your home page, about page, and other pages are evergreen and hardly needs any update. You don’t need to change things about your business. You can update the content on these pages every now and then with a few additions here and there. For example, if you are announcing the launch of a new course or the Black Friday discount on your courses.
However, you might want to add a blog to your site, in which you write content regularly. Fresh content is for your website what exercise is for your body. It helps improve or maintain your search engine rankings since Google loves fresh content and recently updated content.
You can either learn your website maintenance yourself or give that responsibility to one of your employees who is trained for it. Website maintenance is easy to learn and it involves only a few hours of work every month.
Alternatively, you can consider outsourcing it to any professional agency. Most web design agencies offer web maintenance services at a cost of $50 to $100 a month, depending upon the size of your website. The aforementioned cost is negligible compared to what you might have to pay in case your website is not maintained regularly and meets with some unfortunate incident!
The most common problem with EdTech Websites is the compatibility of various plugins with each other. This issue is particularly common with the compatibility of your LMS plugin with the other plugins on your website.
I do not suggest changing your domain name under any foreseeable situations (unless of course you are rebranding your business or starting a new business altogether). Your domain is kind of like wine in many ways, i.e. they get better with age. However, the Web Design space is a trendy one, and there are rapid changes in the designs that are considered cutting-edge and professional. I recommend you get your website redesigned every 4-5 years if you feel the design and the features look too outdated. Having an outdated website can harm your brand reputation and can make you lag behind your competitors.